Wednesday, October 10, 2012



Lion's Head viewed from slope of Wildcat D.
(9 x 12 pastel)
Obsessions have their advantages and disadvantages, at least I tell myself so as I realize I haven't posted since May 10th! 

I've been busy with an obsession of sorts!
In 1957 a group of people connected to the Appalachian Mountain Club started the 4000 footer club. In NH there are 48 peaks over 4,000 feet from Mt Washington at  6,288 down to Tecumseh at 4003. To be a member one needs to climb all 48. The club has grown in scope  to include other goals, separately recognized, such as 4000 footers in New England, 48 in the winter, and even those who complete "The GRID," or all 48 in each month of the year.
You know from my blog that I've been hiking, and If you've checked my website, particularly the paintings and text related to Painting and Writing Projects or White Mountain Trails, you know I've been hiking the Whites, shorter paths and trails to start, for certain.
But the obsession? Slowly, and maybe not so slowly, the beauty pulls many of us to a peak, and another, and another, until we're reading the trail maps, the distances, the elevations. 

Mountaintop meadow!
(9 x 12 pastel)
And up we go!
Blessedly obsessed! 
Chasing the 48!

Although I think of myself as a Plein Air Artist, I just can't manage my art gear AND the necessary hiking gear to the tops of these beauties. For safety, because of the extremely changeable weather, hiking gear for a 4,000 footer means enough food and warmth to be able to stay out overnight!
Eschewing art gear for safety, I imbibe the scenes, sketch (a light weight addition to my pack, not the full monty), and take many photos to work with during the winter months, with occasional inspirational,  usually inclement days during the summer, for painting.

The two paintings above in this blog were done mid summer. You can see that thunderstorms were brewing two ridges over as I was hiking down.
Approaching storm

And, on another day, while hiking Isolation, there was a particularly troublesome storm north of us. We did NOT linger on Isolation that day. But we always stay long enough to appreciate the air, the views, the up close surroundings.

Today I began planning the last of my 48...Owl's Head, one of the longer (18 mi RT) hikes into the Pemigawasset Wilderness Area. Checking tomorrow's weather however, sunny though it should be here and in the valleys approaching Owl's Head, heavily gusting winds and snow are predicted for the peak, making wind chill below 0 F.

Wisely, I'm abandoning my 48 4000 footers obsession until warmer weather is a promise.
Presently, my studio calls. And did I mention my other, less demanding obsession? 
Chasing the reds! (some call it leaf peeping!) With plenty of photos from both obsessions, I can turn on the heat in my studio and get to play with another obsession.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


New Hampshire Scenes: Chocorua, from multiple angles!

Mount Washington may be the highest peak in the Presidentials, and in the Northeast where it has earned its reputation for the worst weather in the world.
BUT!   Mount Chocorua is the iconic peak, complete with a lake to provide artists with the perfect scenes, changing with the season and the mood of the day... 
The White Mountain Painters did indeed spend hours on the shores of Chocorua Lake. 

Silver Mist  9X12 oil
At least one WM Painter, William Champney, evidently spent time on the mountain itself, since he has a trail named after him, the Champney Falls Trail, and it is with him, and any other hiking/climbing adventurers that I take my cue.

I love the variety on mountain trails, so changeable from bottom to top, and even more so if it is possible to follow a different trail top to bottom. And so with Chocorua. 
Autumn Glow 9x12 oil

Chocorua Peak from Liberty Trail   9X12 oil
The rocky peak, visible from distances, was no disappointment. Slabs of rock with greater and lesser cracks and crevasses, supported trees, creating the bands of greens seen from a distance. Switchbacking up the mountain and traversing the top(we went up Brook Trail and down Liberty), we found, as is often the case, more than that classic "peak." We found two humps, actually, with a bit of a saddle between the peak and its subsidiary. 
Brook Trail to Chocorua Summit   8x10 oil

The enduring highlight for me was the slabs themselves. The greenish pinkish cast sometimes seen from a distance is the classic decorative lichen. And climbing, sometimes hand over hand, seeing lichen up close and personal, it is even more exquisite, more varied, and for the artist in me, more challenging to paint then one can imagine. 
Lichen, like lace on the slabs

Definitely worth the climb.

Visit my website for these and other paintings with a New Hampshire theme:

Sunday, April 22, 2012


New Hampshire Scenes: Along the Trail
Finally, April 13 and 20, time to hike,  and the choices were Mt. Stanton Trail to Mt Stanton and Mt. Pickering, a shorter hike with two possible low summits because I've been recuperating from a skiing injury, and second one, Mt Chocorua because my foot is evidently fine! Halalulah!  In time for the start of early wild flowers.

First treat was the Trailing Arbutus. To really appreciate it, you need to lie flat on the ground, practically, and lift the leathery leaves to expose the often hiding flowers.
Then put your nose bumble bee close. The reward is a scent sweeter than honeysuckle and hyacinth combined.


Second treat was yellow violets, first singly, and then a hillside.  
Beech leaves, last year's left overs, add the contrast.

Glad to be back on the mountain trails,
I continue to wonder at at what I call
the "macadam" paths...
They look so planned, 
so "officially landscaped!
In fact,
the "macadam" paths
are exposed bedrock
looking so tame!
to look at the sides of those paths 
to think how little soil 
above that bedrock
and to think how long and arduous
the task of making
 the soil we see 
the life it supports!

Though these are not examples of the typical  trail, 
when they appear they seem like old friends, 
user friendly,
always welcome,
and likely to appear 
on some of the toughest hikes.

Check my website for paintings of "less tame" paths and trails.

Monday, April 16, 2012


New Hampshire Scenes: CLOUDS

Does anyone go to North Conway or travel north on Route 16 without trying to get a glimpse of Mount Washington? 
Of course there are specific events that watchers look for:
First Snow,
Snow Covered,
 Snow Leaving, 
Only Patches
and all the drama in between... mists and clouds that enhance the views...

And the inevitable...

 Mount Washington Missing in the Mists

As an artist I know that clouds can make the painting,
but as a plein air painter I've wondered about how the clouds seem to be so perfectly placed, shaped to enhance the composition. Then, from a geology presentation I learned the words:  orographic, orographic clouds, and orogenic
having to do with mountains, clouds forced and/or shaped by mountains.
The shape of the mountain and its valleys, the moisture on its slopes and in its streams, ponds and breathing trees...these all shape and often form the clouds above and around...
Looking south to MW...

If you know the mountain, and its shape, 
you can imagine how it sits beneath its mists,
and how those clouds swirl and tumble, 
above the mountain, around the mountain, and, 
as in the case above, up the mountain.  
The dressing, the scarves adding to the mystery,
The dance of the clouds.

Check out my website for the paintings in this blog and more ,

Saturday, March 31, 2012


From my dining room window


The first ten days of March 
did come in 
like the proverbial lion

and I watched my woods fill up with snow,
plein air from the window 
of my house 
and my studio
From my studio window

Skiers rallied, 
snow lovers rejoiced, 
and the long time residents said,  "Finally."

8 inch deep puddle!

But March didn't roar for long.
Temperatures soared, at least for NH, to high 70's. 
Mud season was upon us...
With the frozen ground thawing on the surface, 
and snow melting fast,
there is nowhere for the water to go,
but to mix with the top un-freezing layers..

large puddles and much mud possible.

On the equinox, (March 21) Newspaper headline read,

A hike up a mountain over looking Squam Lake
(setting for "On Golden Pond" for those who remember,)
showed ice melting, snow bare slopes and 
an early blooming hepatica!
Only a teaser!
Mt. Washington lost its snow,
but today the snow is back. 
Tomorrow? Next week?

Maples are budding, 
but it's still freezing at night.

Nature is a multi-media art installation:
always changing,
but definitely worth watching...

Check for new paintings and the new page of snow scenes.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


New Hampshire Scenes: Roofs and Snow

The snow came (6 inches) 
came again  (12 inches) 
like most of the snow bunnies
I took to the slopes

but only between the required
roof raking
This is the end of a roof rake
which has a 36 foot sectional pole attached to it, 
to be used when the snow piles up 
to the point of danger from too much weight
or from sliding off the roof onto people coming out doors 
or onto decks and balconies with railings.
A rain and a good freeze can turn it all 
to very heavy ice, 
    then a good slide can wipe out even a sturdy railing.

Many homes have metal roofs, 
which help the snow (or ice build up) to slide,
and no gutters, of course.

And the roofs are best that are steep,
on both sides
or steep on one side, 
and shorter and not so steep on the other side.

 or some variation....

My house is steep on one side,
not so steep on the other,
with a balcony overhang
that allows me 
to rake the roof,
which I do 
before possible rain/ice develops.
Then I shovel the balcony! 

No complaints though. 
Look at the marvelous pitch pines 
that keep me company.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Hampshire Scenes: WE HAD SNOW

New Hampshire Scenes:  Finally, We Had Snow

Not a year for snow, 
and yes, we had it earlier
and it doesn't go away
when the temps
are single digits
at night,
but many of us have been waiting
for something 
more than an inch or two

To give the trees a different look.  

Even with a plow man, 

6 inches means 
Shoveling:  path to drive way, path to wood pile
path from front to back door, and I even get out my roof rake, though it isn't necessary for only 6 inches, 

but it's new to me, and fun!
Besides, notice the snow sliding off my roof.

I'd rather rake it off then have it slide
when I'm headed to the wood pile.

Thursday, February 23, 2012



A mountain commands space 
and demands looking. 
in any weather
but cover it with snow
and it gains a presence
that seems to go 
beyond its size.
Mount Washington 
is such a mountain.

Those of us who live close 
look for the first snow
which always melts
but there are more
and finally

a jewel

There are complaints
that   Mount Washington
is often 
cloud covered
which it is

But that too is a characteristic of a large mountain (or a large body of water!)
Their presence can command the clouds! 

In the presence of a mountain   (Pastel sketch)
Imagine living
in the presence of such a mountain,
close of far,
To feel its power
To experience its changes

If you can't live near a mountain,
just visiting will do! 

Visit for paintings of Mount Washington.
("In the presence" is available in "Barbara's Bargain Bin)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Hampshire Scenes: SNOWY STREAM BANKS

An editorial in a local newspaper mentioned the "sticks and gray" of winter.
Morning Haze

Morning Dew
I admit there are "sticks," 

the advantage of winter scenes is 
we get to see the bones,
   the skeletons of trees.

What I didn't capture is the glow and glisten of the dew drops.
(any suggestions of how to do that would be appreciated)

Background glow,
is only the beginning
of the color.

Gray there is, but consider it's leanings:
blue, green, pink, purple?
And appreciate the tree trunks and branch tips...
adding subtly to the glow, never a single shade.

Reflections on the snow change,
even as the clouds shift and drift
giving color to the shadows
other colors to the sunny spots
and too, a blend where they meet.

Snowy Stream Banks are definitely a favorite.
Photo's don't begin to capture the myriad colors,
Winter Ripples      9X12 Pastel on paper  
where water reflects differently from the snow,
and leaves have clumped in the water,
adding both their colors and their reflections.

So yes, there are sticks and grays to winter,
but they are only beginnings.

Find a puddle or a stream, 
and see all the colors of the rainbow.

Winter adds drama to the shadows and sunny spaces. 

Expect it, look for it and you will surely discover it.

Winter Oak Leaf Collection    9x12 Pastel on paper.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Hampshire Scenes: LITTLE GEORGE

Little George

Little George Dreaming of His Namesake
Little George is one of my  friends, a large rock that I view when sitting at my dining table. His name comes from his silhouette, which, with little imagination, is similar to that of Mount Washington. 
But Little George, like so many scenes and objects in nature, is a Shape Shifter, all depending on the amount of snow and the slant of sun. 

In Little George Dreaming (above) he was losing his snow cover, and left over bits of dried yarrow were catching the sun and casting shadows.

a snow storm... and
George in Sculptured Beauty

New shapes and shadows.

Another day, some sun, some breeze, and George again starts to reveal himself. 

The pleasures and problems of a plein air painter (someone who paints from life):
Nature is a moving, 
art installation. 
Not only seasons, but time of day, clouds, and other varying weather, even shifts of the breeze create nuances to enchant and exasperate us!
The same scene/object never really stays the same. 

(Little George's complete story is on my website :
Go to Writing/Painting projects, Moving to New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Scenes: FROST HEAVES

Frost Heaves

In "the south" as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and other places that experience freeze and defrost weather, 
pot holes are the result.
NH has a different phenomenon. 
As the cold seeps more deeply into the ground, 
the ground beneath many of the secondary road beds slowly expands.
No pot holes, because this is an ongoing process.
But as the cold  continues, the expansion becomes much more obvious, 
causing the roads to heave, undulate, and generally become
quite uneven.
Towns and the state put up the glowing signs to warn drivers. 
Who needs speed bumps? 
By the time winter is over, we're used to driving slowly, and just when we begin to readjust, the signs appear again.

Signs must be for those from "away" because I've heard locals and "full timers" (as opposed to seasonal residents) talk about avoiding particular roads because of the frost heaves, and arguing about which roads are the worst. 
Last year the signs began appearing in mid-Nov, this year in mid-January.

And a word of extra caution, 
if you're driving on a back road and see a "BUMP" sign, it might be worth stopping and proceeding with real caution.
They are worse than mere FROST HEAVES.
         (Visit my webpage for more NH Scenes under paintings   )

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Hampshire Scenes: NAMING A BLOG

Naming a Blog

Having announced last April, my intentions of telling the story of my move, 
thinking and feeling it was epic at the time,
I became so involved in the living and being here, 
Check my website
that the story remained in its skeletal form.
(See 2011 post!)
Count it all as background.

That theme no longer fits.

Time like a river
moved on through the seasons.

I'm here, my house a home; 
my studio a separate, fleshed out reality;
and my life a wonderful mixture 
of painting, hiking etc.;  
loving living here in New Hampshire, 
and still feeling a need to share the wonder. 

What theme for a blog?
Then realization!

Painters see in scenes and vignettes.
We paint and sketch, 
we adventure, we remember with edited emotions,
River drifts
and many of us photograph
those scenes we hope to turn into paintings.
So, simplistically, humbly, 

my “new” blogspot purpose is to present 

Rising Sun Shadows
New Hampshire Scenes: 
From a Painter’s Perspective

Expect varying detail,sketches, finished paintings, occasional photos. Expect varying regularity. Although I'm aiming at daily, I know better than to expect it to happen.

But always expect something from New Hampshire.