Sunday, August 15, 2010

Yuck or Yum?

A couple of days ago, I picked our first tomato. Today I went up to water the plants and saw an interesting pattern of darks spots on the ground. Then I noticed that several of the tomato plants were half-eaten. The only culprit that would do such a thing is a tomato hornworm. I found one, then a bunch and yanked them off (they hold on tightly!). I dumped some on a red napkin for contrast and photographed them for your viewing pleasure. One is trying to escape to the upper right; he (she?) didn't make it. That spiny thingy is on the back end. And that other thing that looks like a tiny green hand grenade is caterpillar poop. Just in case you were wondering. The other pics can be used for ID purposes in case you have a problem in your garden. They're about four inches long! Clearly, mostly yuck. The yum factor? A wild food fan once told me that he liked to dip the worms (caterpillars of a sphinx moth, really) in batter and fry them up. Yum!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fells Paintout

A couple of weekends ago, I spent two days painting at The Fells in Newbury, NH ( with a group of plein air painters. We were described on the website as "renowned," but it was a relaxed, fun group. The estate belonged to John Hay, who started his public life as Abraham Lincoln's personal secretary. The house and almost 1,000 acres of beautiful gardens, fields and woods on the shore of Lake Sunapee served as his summer place.
The weekend started out sunny but quickly clouded up. I started painting the end of the house when the sun was making lovely dappled shadows, but they faded fast. My second painting on Saturday was done under a threat of rain; I called it "Clouding Up." Both of these are 9" x 12" oil on gessobord. Sunday was a bust. I had decided to tackle a larger 12" x 16" painting and was painting away when someone yelled that the rain was coming. The clouds were black! I folded up my big easel as quickly as I could and just made it onto the porch before the rain came down. It was light rain, but just enough to keep most of the expected crowds away from the wet paint sale in the afternoon. So, my paintings came home with me. Still, it was a good experience. The hosts supplied the artists with snacks and water both days and we felt very welcome. I got reacquainted with some people I hadn't seen for awhile and met some new folks, too.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Shaker Village

Here's a work-in-progress that I started a couple of days ago at Canterbury Shaker Village. It's a view up past the Sisters' house, where there were some wonderful old-fashioned pink roses by the doorway. The painting progressed further, but i forgot to take another photo before I packed up. I still have some adjusting to do along the rooflines, so that they're not "kissing" in the middle. This is the painting at about the halfway point. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather and no bugs!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Holiday Painting

Today was perfect weather for painting! My friend Judy and I went to Bristol, a great little town with lots of character. When we arrived, the townsfolk were in the middle of their Memorial Day celebrations: music, marching, gun salutes, a zillion flags. Within 15 minutes, the center had cleared out and we had the town center almost to ourselves. We found a spot to paint under the trees behind the diner, next to the Newfound River. Ideal, really: shady, cool, food and restroom nearby...... I painted the red building, which is the oldest in town, looking across the river. It was a grist mill in 1767, but is now a cafe, plus a music and poetry venue. I haven't looked at their website yet, but if you want to, it's at: The photo above is my setup about halfway through the painting. I'll post it when it's done. Oil on gessobord, 9 x 12.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exhibit Extension

Kaza has decided to extend my show there for another two weeks, so if you missed it, now's your chance! The opening really was a lot of fun, with lots of people, good food and wine and the models posing in the windows. They tried to ignore the passers-by, including a couple of pizza-delivery boys who seemed pretty interested in what was going on. Here are a couple of pics that show the window with Tori, both an inside and an outside view.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring Exhibition

This is the painting pictured on the card for the solo show at Kaza, up until May 27, 2010 (acrylic on panel, 12" x 12"). The details for the show are posted on the right. I haven't seen the backgrounds that I painted for the windows installed yet. One is of the Eiffel Tower, the other the Moulin Rouge. Those, along with the live models in the windows, should make for an interesting reception (come on Thursday!) and be a lot of fun. I'll try to remember to take photos and post them here after the 13th.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April Snow

Littleton NH had nearly a foot of snow yesterday, so I decided to head up that way to see if I could find some to paint. When I left home, it was 50 degrees and sunny. By the time I got to Franconia Notch, it was 35 and snowing! I ended up at "The Rocks," a Christmas tree farm owned by the Society for the Protection of NH Forests in Bethlehem, NH. Even though I've been a member of the SPNHF for years, I'd never been there. What a place! There were a million things to paint, but I finally settled on a view of the front of the stone house. My choice was due partly to parking availability. I can take the heat, I even like the cold (!), but no one can paint plein air in wind as blustery as it was today. So I painted in the car. My painting isn't finished, and it ended up way too warm, probably because of the reddish underpainting, but I'll show it to you anyway. It's still in the pochade box, sitting on the car. I'll post the finished version at some point. I'm also posting a photo of the part of the building I'm calling the garage, just to show the snow that was falling as I was walking around looking for subject matter. What a great day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I was gathering some artwork together for an upcoming show* and came across some drawings that I'd done years ago in Brighton, England. Here are a couple, slightly off-kilter in spots. The beach, which appeared often in paintings a century or two ago, was too stony to walk or sit on (what happened to all that sand?), so I opted for the town's cozy buildings as subject matter. These are pencil drawings, each about 5" x 7" or so.
*The show, Ebony and Ivory, will be shown at KAZA in Concord, NH next month. I'll post more about it later.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beauport Easel

On this gorgeous warm day I tried out my new Beauport easel, a version of which I saw in action at Snowcamp. At $250, I had put it on my "someday" list, but then noticed it on sale at Jerry's ( for $99 and change. That seemed about the best deal I'd ever get. After getting a replacement for a warped part, some help from a friend (thanks, Hannah!) and some adjustments, it's good to go. The paintbox in the photo was my mother's; it holds everything else I need except paper towels.
For the trial run, I figured the back yard would be handy in case I needed anything I hadn't thought of (I didn't). So that scratchy mess on the easel is the back of our house. I meant it to be just a little slapdash, but I'm kind of liking it. If I finish it I'll post it here.
The easel is great; a huge gust of wind came by that would have knocked over my box-and-tripod arrangement; this baby just hung on without a rattle. It will take huge canvases or panels, too. That's a 12" x 16" and it seems small. According to Jerry's website, it's on sale until the end of April (I have no connection to them except as an occasional customer).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blog Change and Mouse

Because recently I've been receiving bunches of spamish posts that I've had to delete, I've added the (rather annoying) code-word filter to the blog. From now on, anyone who wants me to gamble or to buy certain medicinal products from China will have to at least be a real person who can read and type. This means that the rest of you will have to put in the code word you're given when you want to post a comment. At least, sometimes, they're pretty funny.
As a little consolation, here's a woodcut I did for an exchange awhile back: "Sin Nombre," a four-color woodcut, 4" x 4" on Japanese mulberry paper. Sin Nombre is the Spanish word for the hantavirus, a fairly rare but deadly disease contained in some mouse droppings. My interpretation of the virus is in the background of the harmless-looking mousie. It doesn't show well on the monitor, but in the original print the background ink is gold.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Snow

Since it's snowing here in New Hampshire, I thought it would be a good time to post "Snowscape" (4.75" x 8.25", oil-based inks on Japanese Mulberry paper), a woodcut I did for a print exchange. The theme was typography. I had a giant wooden dollar-sign block that I got at a letterpress fair last summer (see the previous steam roller printing post) and used that as a jumping-off place for a design. I wanted to use the block just as an abstract design element, with no reference to money, the economy, etc. It looks quite plain, but I used 3 Shina plywood blocks, plus the $, and five colors to make the print. There's a version of it hanging in the "Prints of the Year" show at the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord NH until April 2, 2010.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Exciting Sighting

Today I was just sitting down to eat lunch and saw a movement outside, dark against the snow. A second look: it was a fisher (a.k.a. fisher cat), coming down from up near the garden! I grabbed the camera (handily on the table, as I'd just come back from a morning painting trip) and Steve opened the door. Out of the four photos, this is the only one that really shows the fisher. I saw one up north about 10 years ago and thought it was once-in-a-lifetime. Woo hoo!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Snowcamp photos

Here are some pics from Snowcamp, just to give you an idea of what it was like for us, painting in the beyond-freezing cold. There's one of Stape giving a demo, with Mt Lafayette resting in the crook of his arm. Another shows my setup, a Judson's box, with the mountain painting on it. There's a group of us watching Stape, so bundled we could hardly move, me in green fiddling with my camera. I took the aerial view of the other folks watching the demo from my third-floor window, the half-day I was laid low from eating some allergen or other. The last pic is of Renee Lammers, who took the photo with me in it. She has lots more on her blog at if you'd like to check it out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Well, I'm back. And one or more of my previous posts has (have) disappeared; I have no idea why. But, the exciting news is that I've just returned from a three-day outdoor painting workshop with Stapleton Kearns and eight other painters in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire. It was an adventure, to be sure! We stayed at the friendly Sunset Hill House, where the heat went off the first night and the water pipes froze. Why? Because the next morning, when we all went out to paint, it was 10 below zero! Fahrenheit. At least the sun was shining. No one died or got frostbite and everyone managed to paint until about 4:00 p.m.
The views were spectacular: Mounts Washington and Lafayette, with other presidents and Cannon also nearby. We could see the snow guns working on Cannon for the skiers from our back yard. I did three paintings over the long weekend, one of Lafayette (the second one above; 11 X 14, oil on panel), which may or may not be salvageable, another of the inn's "annex" building, where we almost had to move in the middle of the night (a decent start, I think; 12 x 16 oil on panel), plus a "wiper," that will never see the light of day, never mind be on this blog.
It was a great experience; I now feel able to paint in just about any weather; I met a bunch of really nice people and got a jolt of confidence.
An in-depth version of our experience can be seen on our instructor Stape's blog: Be sure to let him know if you think he looks good in the orange hat.