Experiences and thoughts of painting in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

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Experiences and thoughts of painting in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

This is a new series of oil painting landscapes I will am working on this year as I am living in the heart of White Mountains National Forest of New Hampshire. Some are finished and some not, when they are done they are posted on my website for prints and note cards at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/nancy-griswold.html?tab=artworkgalleries&artworkgalleryid=23162 This is some writing on these works:

EXPERIENCE AND THOUGHTS ON PAINTING THE WHITES IN 2011-2012

I have long admired many artists from the past and present day that are committed to painting beautiful and breathtaking places on the earth. One of my favorite places in the Northeast has always been the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Sometimes feel it was a primary purpose to return here to paint a collection of oils in the White Mountain National Forest. The present day threat of the Northern Pass is just once consideration for their scenic demise that constantly occurs here through time. Mere growth in population and building development is another. When I moved away from New Hampshire, I would look at film and these art of the Hudson River School Painters and others who have contributed to glorifying and illuminating these mountain landscapes. Works by J. Champney, Frederic Church, Thomas Cole and many others would captivate my attention at museums and in books when I was not able to be here.

As I am painting these works I meet many new and interesting people. Some were tourists from afar and others where locals that share some history of these magnificent locations. Researching the history of the areas that I choose to paint is also challenging as some information was hard to find, in some cases. Many people who have lived here for a long time do not know the names of these mountains, as there are just so many of them. The Appalachian Mountain Club and internet bloggers have some facts I need to identify the places I stand to paint. Not only do I enjoy the mission of painting, but also learning more history of this area. I will keep all these notes and the identity of these mountains for posting or and exhibit later.

I developed a true heartfelt respect for all plein-air and outdoor painters very early into this project. It is truly challenging to set up my equipment and paint under some weather conditions. Warm and stagnant air attracts bees and black flies to my paints and they often became stuck to the wet canvas. Often it can take me 2-3 days to recuperate from massive black fly bites and to desire to paint outside again. I have become overheated and then chilled to the bone under varying weather conditions. Most of the paintings you see here have been though thundershowers, coated with water and debris carried from gusting winds. Very frustrating at times, yet I have definitely noticed that once a work is completed inside it can loose some of the vitality that outdoor painting seems to bring to freshly painted canvas.

As many artists, I struggle for the hours of time to fully commit and gain momentum with my work and this project. During this part of my life, I feel I need to do this project now as I will never be fully ready for a more dedicated undertaking. As usual, in current 20th century living, these paintings are developing slowly, during fragmented periods of time. I long for companionship of other painters, but have always respected the fact that the missions of others are often different than mine and available time to meet and work together is infrequent. As I paint I post my work on facebook and have acquired friendship and encouragement of many other painters a cross the country. I know now that I am not alone in this pursuit; there was something here for me, something on the inside that made me want to be in these White Mountains of New Hampshire for this period of time to do just this…paint them.

Running parallel to this series is my other series of architectural print renditions of landmarks and scenics in New England with a bit of nature and scenic photography. If my hands are in the arts during the day, it helps the days I resume painting again. The principals of art are applied and practiced in many media much like a piano player who practices scales; I can practice my visual skills in many ways.

I will continue on with these works. I hope to do 25 -35 canvases in total of the White Mountains. The sun dried grasses of August are arriving. Autumn and winter will soon approach giving a scenic and colorful change to these landscapes. Hopefully I will have more time to get out for painting now that I am more prepared for another winter and settled in more.