Monday, October 10, 2011

New Hampshire and Wisconsin!

There are certain things I find I must draw. One of them is eagles. This is a bronze statue mounted on a large granite boulder. It is a war memorial next to the Fuller Public Library in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. Someone put a dried plant stalk in his beak. It seemed appropriate and I liked the look. As I’ve said before, I admire sculpture, and I enjoyed walking around it. And it’s about at eye-level which is nice.

I was driving through the small town of Richmond, NH, unsure of what to draw. I noticed all the flowers growing along the roadside. And I smelled the sawdust of the pine boards in the lumberyard in the rear. Something about the scents of the pines and the blooms brought me back to my childhood. The flowers are orange day lilies, white yarrow, wild grapes and wild roses. I don’t remember what the blue ones are.

I liked the architecture of this church, the United Congregational Church in Orford, NH. It is in the Gothic Revival Style, but all in wood. Originally grey, it is now white with grey features.
The architect is Moses Gerrish Wood.
The architectural exuberance was enchanting.
Orford is 2 towns north of Hanover. It is a charming place with homes stretched out beside a long town green.

I was driving through Hillsborough, and I stopped at this graveyard. I like the ornate cast iron and wrought iron gate, mounted on granite. Two thoughts went through my mind as I hurriedly drew this: I have never seen a beautiful gate like this, and I hope I can finish this before the electrical storm comes any closer. The thunder was loud. I just had pencil and paper with me, so it was easy to run for the car.

The grey stones are slate and older than the white marble monuments. I am the granddaughter of a stonecutter.

I found another eagle to draw! This wooden eagle is atop the Francestown, NH Academy building. This was a private school from 1801–1921, and it’s maintained today as a community meeting space. I plan to learn more about the many preparatory schools that abounded in New Hampshire from early on. Many still exist. The students came from quite a distance and boarded in the town.

I often draw things I have never seen before. This is the case here. The hayfield is so steep that the man on the tractor is cutting the hay in slaloms, as if he were skiing. This hill and woodlands are in Enfield, NH. The unusually tall rural grey granite buildings were built by the Enfield Shaker community.

I was not at all sure what to draw in Alstead, NH. This is the corner of Mechanic St. and Main St. I chose this busy little triangle in the road with the multitude of signs. The building on the far left was probably an Inn. On the far right is the very front of a Greek revival building. When we lived in England, Bishop’s Cleeve was a nearby town. It had two triangles like this, very close to one another. I think this one reminds me of those.

From what I can tell, this is downtown Langdon NH. I just loved the curve of the steep hill with the buildings on the left parading up the hill. And the white one at the top was partially obscured. So here, I knew exactly what and where I wanted to stop and draw. It spoke to me. Lately, I have been pondering on what attracts me to draw certain things. Usually I ponder after I have drawn them. That way the creative process doesn’t get bogged down with too much thinking.

Harrisville, NH is a rarity. It is an old mill town that still functions in its original purpose. It still produces woolen yarn in its mills. This is a view out of a window in the spinning building. Under the building, the mill stream roars through the granite lined course. The whole brick building seems to shake, yet also seems solid and safe. I was totally and happily overwhelmed with visual stimuli here. Brick wall, beautiful woven wall hanging, wooden spinning wheel, and view through the paned glass window.

As I turned around, I spied this view out another window in Harrisville. It shows part of a bridge and the mill pond. The turreted white building in the rear is the town library.

Look, another eagle. I am standing in the common in Jaffrey, NH. (The terms common and green are used interchangeably most of the time. They refer to commonly owned land where animal grazing was once allowed.)

On the left is a WWII memorial, made out of glazed ceramic. This is highly unusual for outdoor sculpture, especially in a cold climate where freezes can damage them. The figures depict a young woman on the left and an older woman on the right. Wife and mother of a soldier. This all seemed so unusual that I looked forward to learning about the sculptor. He was Danish and his name was Viggo Brandt-Erickson. He made this tribute to the Gold Star Mothers (a son killed in the war) in 1949.

The building at the right is a former mill and is now apartments.

Nelson, NH is not far off of a major highway. But when I pulled up a hill into this town green or common, I felt like I had arrived in Brigadoon. I hope the residents of Nelson will take that as a compliment. The small square green is a clearing in the forest. I wanted to think of a way of drawing all four sides. But I didn’t.

I have never seen a mailbox structure like this. I guess the local post office does not do rural mail delivery, but requires every resident to claim his mail from an individual metal box in one roofed location. Snow plows often knock over the roadside mail boxes, so this is an improvement for a town with a small population.

In the early part of October, I visited family in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. This is the view out of the window, looking across the lawn and some corn fields. The fields looked like puzzle pieces, behind the grid of the window panes. The buttons on the fabric chair form another grid. All the buttons are the same; all the wrinkles around the buttons differ. The brain is wired to find faces everywhere. I usually erase unintentional faces in my artwork if I can. Here I am leaving the funny faces in the upholstered chair.

While in Wisconsin, we took a day trip to the town of Mineral Point. Where we live in NH, all is brick or grey granite. Here in the upper midwest of the U.S., the building material is yellow limestone. I enjoy regional differences like this. I took the time to draw this scene because it literally stopped me in my tracks. My feet stopped moving forward, and I knew it was time to reach for my paper and pencil. But why? I liked the building that wasn't yellow set against the big flat side of the other one that was. I also like the sloping roof and the angled ladder. Also appealing was the open door with the paint buckets inside, as well as the large old shop windows that hadn't been modernized in any way.

I see this view of Pleasant Lake and its bandstand in Elkins nearly every day. Yesterday I got the idea to draw the blue lake and Morgan Hill looking through the bandstand. There are a few people and a dog at the edge of the lake. We are enjoying warm sunny late autumn weather with spectacular foliage colors. It is my favorite time of year.