Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Hampshire and Wisconsin!

On Friday nights in the summer, people gather on town commons in New England to listen to band concerts.  There’s a different band here in New London
every week. They vary in size, and they vary from good to great.

Besides the music, there is the entertainment of watching the hordes of kids—running, chasing each other, doing somersaults, and climbing trees.  Usually we get little ones who want to pet our dog.  He goes along with it.  The band stand is the far right of the drawing, then in the middle the town offices, and at the extreme left is the New London Inn. 

These very long brick buildings are the Cocheco Mills in Dover, NH, as seen from the corner of Orchard and Central Streets.  I wanted to include the spire of the church in the background, St. John’s Methodist Episcopal.  It is hard to see well, but it is topped by a weather vane. The vane is shaped like a three masted sailing ship.  Dover is not very far from the Atlantic Ocean.

The Cocheco Mills were built in 1815 for the purpose of printing designs on cotton fabric.  They were in business until 1937.  Today the solidly built structures are used as housing and small businesses.  In 1828, the workers in the mills, who were mostly young single females, went on strike.  I think that this strike is well known and remembered in the history of unions in textile mills.

The opposite side of the street is lined with small shops and businesses, almost all in the pleasingly warm tones of red brick.  I drew this in the spring time.  I see that my red bush blends in with the brick.  And a red car too.  It’s a study in red and green.

One day we felt like leaving the woods where we live and driving to Nashua.  It was cold and snowy in our little town, and warm and not snowy here in Nashua, only about a 70 mile drive away.  Of course it was south and downhill and well farther along into spring.  I do enjoy drawing towers and turrets, and Nashua abounds with them.

  When I was a child, in the 1950s, Nashua was a major shopping destination for our family. It had department stores, a true sign of urban life,  One of the department stores had a system of pneumatic tubes.  You handed your cash to an employee, who fed it along with the bill of sale into a tubular canister.  This went into a pipe and woosh, disappeared.  Except it didn’t really disappear.  You could watch it whiz around and up until it reached the cashiers on the top floor.  They made change and sent it all back again.  I feel like a fossil telling this tale.

I drew my peach and blueberry pie at Schubert’s Bakery in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.  I travel to this town in southwestern Wisconsin twice a year to visit my mother and my sister and her family.

In the 1800s, many settlers here came from Norway.  You can still see signs in Norwegian, and Norwegian clubs put on ethnic festivals.  I have eaten herring many ways in Mount Horeb!  ‘Mange Takk’ on the sign above the door means bon appetit. Funny we don’t have such a saying in English.  Most people say enjoy, or sometimes cheers.

This is my sister’s favorite vista  She has painted it in the past, and she took me there so I could sketch and paint it too.  The corn is just starting to grow.  They look like lines of tiny v shapes. The long rows of hay have just been cut, and it’s drying out before baling.  It is a lovely grey-green color in the foreground. 

The peak is called Blue Mound, and it is in the tiny town of Blue Mounds.  It is always blue.  This part of Wisconsin is called driftless, which means the glaciers never got here during the last ice age.  Which means it is more hilly than the surrounding parts of the state.

A neighbor once suggested that we go to the lupine festival in Sugar Hill, NH. It took us a few years to make up our minds during the correct time, but we got there. Beautiful. (Thanks, Carolyn.)  We learned from a festival brochure that a lupine plant is the same as a Texas bluebonnet. And that they grow around the world.  But we had never seen large masses of them.

 This view is across the street from the famed Polly’s Pancake Parlor.  The yellow field is buttercups.  The peak is Mount Lafayette.  You’ll notice a white horse grazing in the field too. The blue is caused by a haze in the air caused by moisture.  I thought it went well with the blue of the blossoms. Some stalks are pink or even white.

After this drawing was done, we drove a couple of miles to another gorgeous field of lupines  This place had a winding path mown through it with white signs here and there.  On the signs were short quotes from poems about nature.  We were able to enjoy this private land because the owner wished to share it with the public.

These gliders are at the Franconia Soaring Center in Franconia, NH.  I really enjoy drawing things that I have never drawn before, like here.  I was amazed to notice that the design of each glider is so different from the other.  Different tail, wings, nose shape, body shape. I have no interest in actually doing any gliding.

I drew the mountain profiles carefully.  I would like them to be recognizable.  Kinsman Mountain is on the far left.

Usually I draw sights that I find along the main street of a town or near the town center.  I broke my own guideline when I got to Moultonboro, NH, because we decided to visit an historic home called Lucknow, with the nickname of ‘Castle In The Clouds’.  First you drive a long ways through the woods on a very steep narrow road,  stopping along the way to hike to a waterfall. Then you get to the visitors center in the former carriage house and stables—quite an elegant structure in its own right.  Then you transfer to a trolley which winds up an even more narrow and more steep road.  You try not to think how far down the drop is on your right.

After 5 minutes or so, you have arrived at the back door of Lucknow.  It is a home built in the American Craftsman style in 1914.  The owner was Thomas Plant, who made a ton of money owning and running a shoe factory in Massachusetts.  This was to be his retirement home.  He did a lot of philanthropic good deeds with his spare cash as well.  He was a world traveler, and Lucknow is the name of a beautiful city in India.  Most people think it was also a pun referring to his good fortune. He employed a thousand people all at once to work on this home in order to finish it as quickly as reasonable.  It was wonderful.  I LOVED every room and every detail.  Every thing was so thoughtful and skillfully done.  For example, in every window were individually painted glass roundels of local vistas, flora, and fauna through the seasons.  And the home had the latest in inventions too—in the kitchen, multi-headed, full body showers in the baths, brine cooled refrigerators, central vacuum cleaners, etc. They entertained a lot of people well.  A local golf course was established by him that continues today.

Mr. Plant did lose his fortune through poor and unwise investments, such as the purchase of Imperial Russian bonds in 1916.  Many of these were advised by his friend Theodore Roosevelt.  But he was allowed to live out his life here by a subsequent owner. The house gradually fell into disrepair, but it has now been purchased by a non-profit foundation that has done a loving and wonderful job bringing it back.  They’re still working at it and hope to have the basement area containing the wine cellar and the various mechanical systems open within a year or so.

The view I chose to draw is from the front garden of the house, showing the panorama overlooking all of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains beyond. The overhanging roof is suggested by the open rafters and supports.  There is a ring of stone planters and rose bushes.  In the foreground is a very small wishing pool with a bronze statue.  The little winged creature is raising its face to the sun.  There is a frog at the feet.  It is challenging to pull off a composition which includes very small and closeup retails as well as the full horizon.  And the feeling of shelter as well as expansiveness. Phew.  But I felt it was worth the effort.

Waterville Valley is just south of the White Mountain range in NH.  We drove in circles for a while as I had trouble finding a vista that said ‘draw me!’.  I chose this one when I saw the red barn with the nice door.  I liked the shape of the mountains with their summer view of the skis slopes.  I also just loved the shape of this paved driveway. 

Wolfeboro is on the eastern side of Lake Winnipesaukee, and also borders Lake Wentworth. It is a small, charming, resort town, with lots of scenes begging to be drawn.  But I was getting antsy about not being close enough to the water. And then we found this park, named Town Park, established 1967.  It was a set of semi-circular terraces leading from the street to the lake’s edge.  Some parts were in full sun, some in shade.  All very carefully designed and maintained.  So lovely. 

I was wandering up and down the main shopping street in North Woodstock,NH,  not quite settling down on a subject to draw.  I was mumbling ‘hmm’ a lot.

Then I saw a hotel named Cascade Hotel.  I thought, perhaps that implies that there is a cascade, or waterfall, nearby.  I turned 180 degrees and read the sign Cascade Park. It is a newly made small urban park leading from the shopping street to the Pemigewasset River (generally called ‘The Pemi’ by locals).  I thought the place was quite enchanting.  I loved the way the stones had been shaped by the water, over eons of time.  And the trees echoed the wavy shapes too. The water must flow up over the trees in spring runoff to shape them like that. There were tiny patches of sand here and there.  And a few people lounging with their feet in the cool water.

Alton Bay, NH is at the very southern most end of the large Lake Winnipesaukee.  The road makes a sharp turn here to follow the western side of the lake. In the bend of the road is this Victorian era building.  It was long known as the Busy Corner Store and owned and run by my husband’s aunt and uncle.

It has a new owner and is now called Amilyne’s Corner.  You see the sign for haddock sandwiches which caught my eye.  We had them and they were delicious!  So delicately battered, and fried just right. Hundreds of motorcyclists were passing in front of me as I drew this.  It was Bike Week in NH.  It was a real exercise in concentration.  I considered drawing them, but it’s hard to draw a blur.  The building on the left houses the town post office.

This is my latest attempt to draw New London’s Community Garden behind our town library.  It is such a charming spot.  Many volunteers in town maintain it.  It was originally designed in 1923 by the famed Olmsted Brothers, pioneers of landscape architecture.  This firm over the course of many years designed parks such as Central Park in New York City and the Emerald Necklace in Boston, along with many college campuses and private estates.