NH Open Doors http://nhopendoors.com/ November 2-3 offers the spirit- enhancing opportunity to see where New Hampshire artists and craftspeople are inspired to create. Unlike a gallery where you might see 4-5 pieces by each of several artists, here you find a solo show in a home or studio. NH Open Doors makes it both easy and difficult by providing a regional map with category selects for the types of offerings: Fine Art, Craft, Performing Art, and supporting options like accommodations, restaurants and agricultural offerings. So while it’s easy to find studios to visit, providing so many options could make it difficult to narrow down the field.
Due to the typical chaotic weekend schedule, my husband and I had time to visit only one studio today, so we packed up early and left for Goffstown, NH heading to the Bitter Sweet House on High Street – home and studio of painter Ann Trainor Domingue http://www.anntrainordomingue.com/
Ann experiments with so many art elements: traditional water color and acrylic, and textural almost sculptural painting and so many styles: realistic, impressionistic, contemporary, messy, and whimsical sometimes with a playful almost fantasy nature that it is like seeing work from a half dozen artists. I circled the rooms of her fascinating 1910 home so many times taking in the 70 or so of her paintings and prints finding a new favorite with each circumnavigation, that I might have been dizzy, or that might have been the sugar overload as I snagged a candy, baked good or soda in each lap. Heck it was more likely I snagged a goodie in each room.
Ann graciously answered my amateur questions….”this painting that gives the impression of painting on tile how the heck did you do that?” “You painted several scenes with orange, do you actually see orange in the landscape because I don’t think I see orange very often?”
Husband Mike and daughter Katie, among other fans and family members, charmingly displayed enthusiasm and pride for Ann’s work and were available to engage in discussions on art, the home (check out the 6′ original pocket door!) and the whereabouts of the actual studio (a mini barn building moved to the site at the head of the driveway by a previous owner). A running chart with red dots identified what had been sold…a mighty impressive list since we arrived on day one, before noon!
Part of Ann’s success was built on divine intervention. Ann had a vision, that coincided with a great reality….an early season decision to paint Fenway Park when the Sox really weren’t doing well yet inspired a series of detail paintings. Perhaps you heard…the Red Sox won the World Series just days before her Open Studio weekend. Artist Ann rooted for the Sox, and the Baseball Deity (who is undoubtedly friends with the Art Deity) rooted for Ann. I was anxious to see that series in person, having first learned of the series in Ann’s newsletter. http://www.anntrainordomingue.com/images/other_member_pics/adomingue/Newsletter%20Feb%20Vol%201%20Issue%202%20FINAL%20wp.pdf. Two Fenway pieces sold before I arrived and a woman was engrossed in a conversation about “holding” another as she waited for her mother to make a decision. Fortunately prints are also available.
Since my first job (Snack Bar Girl at Sagamore Golf Course in Lynnfield, MA) put me in close proximity to a talented professional artist (the late William Craft Thompson) who was willing to provide mini art lessons in the short amount of time I had between wiping down counters and serving tube steaks and milkshakes to golfers, I’ve cultivated an interest in art. Or rather an interest in artists. At 17 when most girls spent their hard earned tips at the cosmetics counter, I bought my first original piece of artwork from Mr. T. at the Lynnfield, MA Art Guild Fair. It was a small painting of a tall ship in an artist-made frame that still graces my home. Since then I’ve become an art groupie favoring works by Ann, Andrea Maglio-Macullar, Majorie Kaye, David Cummings, George Shaw, Matthew Winn, William F. McLane, William Thompson and William Rogers, Peter W. Bucklin, sculptor Dale Rogers, and stained glass artists Paul Prue, Freeda Ostis. All have become friends and each teaches me a little bit more about the craft of making art.
I guess I keep waiting for some of their talent to rub off on me, but in the meantime whenever I can, I capture little pieces of their brilliance to shine upon my walls. The artwork brings me happiness not just for the images on canvas and paper, but also for the reminder of the friends who created them.
(c)2013 by Alison Colby-Campbell