Before Spring – A Photo Essay about New Hampshire

Dawn at Lake WinnesquamYesterday morning, I went out to take some photos of the sunrise.  They’re intended as reference photos for future artwork, but some of these may become art prints.

Once I get started on an adventure like this, it can turn into a mini road trip… and that’s exactly what happened.

About three hours later, I was on a hilltop gazing across Lake Winnipesaukee, savoring the view.

This was an amazingly gorgeous start to my day, and it was incredibly inspiring. Every day should start like this!

It also reminded me of the beauty of Nature, even during the start of a “mud season” kind of Spring.

I’d only planned to take few photos at the edge of Lake Winnesquam, shown in the photo above.  It was the first lake I paused at, during my morning adventure.  However, I was soon caught up in the beauty of the sunrise and the fresh breezes predicting more snow.

There’s always a sense of anticipation when the winds shift like that.  For me, it has that same subtle thrill as standing near the top of a magnificent cliff, and the same eagerness of waiting for the next bolt of lightning in a spectacular storm.

So, I continued my morning’s adventures.

Lake Winnesquam beachA little further up the road, I discovered a private-ish beach.  It was behind a funky looking seasonal store (closed when I was there, probably for the winter) called Mountain View Manna.  It looks like they sell homemade bread and maybe some crafts.

Since most of the nearby summer cottages were closed up, I felt only a little guilty for trudging up the private (?) dirt road behind the store.

That’s the beach, in the photo on the right.  I may turn this picture into an art print; I think summer visitors might enjoy it.

(If I were a more realistic painter, I’d probably paint this.  For me, it’s a very wistful image showing the lakeside when snow is still on the ground.)

From there, I drove around the lake and soon found Mohawk Island.  (That’s the island in the photo at lower left.  It’s a small, very wooded island.)

I had no idea it was there.  It’s only accessible by water, and it looks very private… and charming.  A couple of buildings suggest that people live there, but I’m not sure if it’s seasonal or year ’round.  There’s something wonderful about the idea of island living.

Mohawk Island, Lakes Region, NH(This summer, I hope to get out to Monhegan Island in Maine, and the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of Portsmouth, NH.  Both are legendary as  art-inspiring destinations.)

Then, I decided to head northeast, back toward Lake Winnepesaukee.

On the way, I stopped at Gunstock Ski Area, where my children had learned to ski.  The area is far more developed now, and I almost decided to take the Panorama lift to the top of the mountain, just to see the view.

Instead, I joked with a few skiers who were there for what may be some of the last great skiing of the season.  (As I’m writing this, another foot of snow is predicted… and falling in peaceful drifts outside my window.)

Lake Winnepesaukee at dawnMy next stop — before heading home — was on a hilltop overlooking Lake Winnepesaukee.

In the photo on the right, the lake is barely visible between the tops of the trees and the White Mountains in the distance.

The wind was shifting and there was a crisp “bite” to the air, alerting me to the approaching snowstorm.

I wrapped my scarf more closely around my face, and stood there for several more minutes, taking in the landscape.

The colors and the view were breathtaking.  I love how the colors of the sky are reflected in the lilac-tinged snow.  It’s a reminder that subtle colors can sometimes have the most impact.

For me, these photos are partly landscape references. Some of the images will certainly be featured in my paintings.

By the time Spring is here, leaves on the trees will obscure some important details that I’ll want to include in my work.  So, I’m printing several of my best photos from yesterday, and putting them into my art journal… the one I keep as a reference for upcoming sketches and paintings.

However, Nature is also one of the best teachers, revealing how different colors can create different moods.  She’s also showing how contrast and edges can add emotion and interest, depending on whether they’re crisp or soft.

It was a good day, and a reminder that every season is beautiful!

Creative Inspirations – Quotations

I’ll bet quotations inspire you.

Well, some of them do… that’s how I feel, anyway.

When a quotation sparks my creativity or makes me smile, it’s like the person is at my side saying, “You can do this… you really ARE an artist… we ALL are!”

So, as I’m taking a course in online videos, I created this video with some of my favorite quotations as well as some photos that seem to highlight what they mean to me. (Maybe it’s not perfect, but it is my attempt to put a little more inspiration into the world… and isn’t that what art is all about?)

The photographs

The following photographers’ pictures appear in this video.

Ali Taylor, UK – Rushing water

Ariel da Silva Parreira, Mexico – Iceberg; lights on road (Rauschenberg quote)

Asif Akbar, India – Brick wall; old (green) building (Anne Maybe quote); Temple (Picasso quote); bicycle photo (Jeff Beck quote); opening and closing graphics

Christophe Libert, France – Runners leaping hurdles

Flavio Takemoto, Brazil – Spectrum of colors (Thurman quote)

Justyna Furmanczyk, Poland – Poppy in field

Leonardini, Ukraine – Butterfly photo

Remiguisz Szczerbak, Poland – Open window (Ebert quote)

Zanetta Hardy, USA – Autumn leaves

The quotations

“The voice our our original self is often muffled, overwhelmed, even strangled by the voices of other people’s expectations.” — Julia Cameron

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” — Martha Graham

“I don’t think you have to do anything to make your life into a work of art — it is one. What you have to do is observe it, be aware of the weirdness, beauty and artistry that occurs every day.” — Anne Maybe

“What you do instead of your work is your real work.” — Roger Ebert

“When you are doing what is right, it all starts to click and fits into place. It is not that you don’t have challenges, but you have the tools to meet the challenges.” — from ‘Manifesting Your Heart’s Desire’ by Fengler & Varnum

“Taste is the enemy of creativeness.” — Pablo Picasso

“The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you how to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars.” — David Bayles & Ted Orland, in ‘Art and Fear’

“As long as there’s something original going on, that’s all that really matters.” — Jeff Beck

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt; perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” — Robert Hughes

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Don’t ask what the world needs. As what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman

Music (sound track)

The music in this video is ‘Back to Back’ by Father Rock.

Elsewhere online

You can see this video (or share it with others) at YouTube:

So now… go make art!

Aisling D'Art