Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas Fine Art Lovers!

2 block lino-cut print
Akua Kolor water-based inks on paper
3" x 4" image size

This year, I started what I hope will become an annual tradition. As a special "thank you" to all the wonderful people who have purchased original works of art from me over the past few years, I hand-printed Christmas cards for them. I hope that they enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed designing and printing them.

I have a busy, but fun week ahead-I hope that you do too!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Behind the Scenes

I have just completed an online course called "Get Organized!" with art marketing specialist Alyson B. Stanfield. The class focused on the business end of the artist's life. We learned effective systems for filing both computer and paper files, managing our time and tasks with electronic calendars and other routine office stuff, but that was just the tip of the organizing iceberg!

As you can see from my two "before" photos posted here, my studio needed TLC. And possibly a backhoe. While Alyson didn't specifically cover our art materials and supplies, I turned the last day of the class into my deadline to recover this room for art (instead of crazy) making.

The most significant change I have made to my studio is adding pegboard to the walls to hang quite a lot of my tools. Now I know where they are and they are easy to put away when I am done with them. I also used pegboard to hang some empty frames so they are no longer on the floor.

It will be great to start the new year with a clean, organized space, ready for lots of painting and printmaking!

To learn more about Alyson B. Stanfield and the "Get Organized!" class, click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowy Woodpile

Copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
7.25" x 9.75"
oil on masonite

After receiving over 10" of snow from yesterday's "monster storm," I couldn't help myself-I had to go cross-country skiing. Soon, I will be driving to the mountains to enjoy the groomed trails in Waterville Valley, but today I just went to a local trail along the Piscataquog River. I was relieved that some industrious skier had been there before me and blazed some tracks. Since I stayed in town, I brought Hatrick, my golden retriever, with me so she could play in the new snow too.

Donning my skis for the first time this season felt like calling a good friend I hadn't spoken with in a while. Last winter, skiing became a refuge for me as some pretty fierce personal challenges gathered and loomed over me. When the snow melted in the spring, I was hoping that my troubles would go with it. They didn't and the spring and summer of 2009 proved to be the worst seasons of my life.

Now my world is once again covered in snow. For the artist, this means simplified shapes in wooded scenes and vivid blues and purples where there are usually browns and greens, as in the painting above. For the person, it means mentally shelving the last year to make room for the new, better times ahead.

There are only eleven more days of increasing darkness before the solstice. I am ready for more light, and not just so I can ski later each day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Images of New England 2010 Calendar-SOLD OUT!

folder front

The Holidays are approaching fast!

Are you looking for a unique holiday gift for this year's holiday season? Here is a solution for you:

The "Images of New England 2010 Calendar"!
Every month is a print from one of my oil paintings, ready to frame and add beauty to your or a loved one's home!

three example pages

The clip-style glass frame in the example photo below is available for purchase with the calendar. Or personalize with any standard 11" x 8.5" frame!

framed print hanging above a fireplace mantle

The calendar pages arrive bundled in an attractive folder to keep them organized and protected before and after they grace your wall for a month.

Each page also makes a great commemorative gift for weddings, new babies, graduations, special anniversaries or any celebration during 2010!

folder back

Calendars prices are:
$30 without a frame
$40 with a frame

Domestic shipping cost is:
$6 without a frame
$10 with a frame

If you are interested in purchasing a calendar, please contact me (information on the side bar of the blog)!

The 2010 Images of New England Calendar has SOLD OUT!

Prints from the Mountains

The final three prints that are framed and hanging now in the Pantano Gallery at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester depict scenes of mountains. Living in central New Hampshire, I am surrounded by breathtaking views of Crotched Mountain or Pat's Peak pretty much everywhere I go, and anyone who has travelled to Manchester has enjoyed the scenery of the Uncanoonucs from the highway. I am also lucky enough to live about an hour's drive from Mount Monadnock. The second most climbed mountain in the world (second to Japan's Mount Fuji), a hike up Monadnock is a memorable experience and the inspiration of one of the prints below.


9. Mountain Abstract-SOLD
2.25" x 12"
white-line woodcut print
watercolor on Stonehenge paper

10. Hiking Mount Monadnock
8.5" x 11"
white-line woodcut
watercolor on Stonehenge on paper

11. Uncanoonuc from Bridge Street
12.5" x 9.25"
white-line woodcut print
watercolor on Stonehenge paper

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today, the "Water" Pieces!

Here are more pictures of work that is on display now through December 30th in the Pantano Gallery at Southern New Hampshire University. The ocean is one of my favorite subjects to paint, and I have found it just as challenging and fun to make prints of the rocky coast of New Hampshire and Maine.

Again, all of these prints are for sale, so please contact me (603 203-8131 or if you are interested in bringing one home.

AND please come visit me at the "Meet the Artist" reception at the Gallery this Saturday from 1-3:30pm. I will be in the Shapiro Library on the Southern New Hampshire University campus, 2500 North River Road, Manchester.

4. Calm Day at Fort Stark
8" x 10"
white-line woodcut print
ink on Stonehenge paper

5. Path of the Water

8" x 9"
white-line woodcut print

watercolor on Rives lightweight paper

6. Leviathan
10" x 14"
white-line woodcut print

watercolor on Stonehenge paper

7. Low Tide
4.5" x 6.25"
white-line woodcut print

watercolor on Stonehenge paper

8. Calm Day at Fort Stark
8" x 10"
white-line woodcut print

watercolor on Stonehenge paper

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More from the Southern New Hampshire University Show

Today, I am offering images of three of the prints in the "New Impressions" show on display now in the Pantano Gallery on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University. The numbers correspond to their labels in the show, and the dimensions are the size of the image (not the frame) in inches.

While nothing can be removed from the show until December 30, 2009, all of the prints are framed under UV glass and are available for purchase. If you are interested in adding any of these prints to your art collection, please contact me (603 203-8131 or More photos tomorrow!

1. Birch-Autumn
2.25" x 12"
white-line woodcut print
watercolor on Stonehenge paper

2. Woods
5" x 10.25"
white-line woodcut print
watercolor on Stonehenge paper

3. Birch-Spring
2.25" x 12"
white-line woodcut print
watercolor on Stonehenge paper

Monday, November 9, 2009

Meet the Artist: Saturday, November 14 from 1-3:30pm in the Shapiro Library!!

The print show, "New Impressions," has been hanging for a week now and I am receiving nice compliments-thanks to everyone who has already visited the Pantano Gallery!

Of course, there is still the "Meet the Artist" reception next Saturday, the 14th! From 1-3:30pm there will be some munchies in the Gallery and I will be there to answer questions about white-line woodcuts and the inspiration for specific pieces in the show.

The Pantano Gallery is located inside the Shapiro Library on the Southern New Hampshire University campus. The first photo below is the view of the library from the parking lot. The entrance to the library is on the opposite side of the building from the parking lot. The path leading there is under the trees on the left side of the photo.

When the path opens up to a small courtyard, the entrance to the library is down a pathway to the right. In the photo below, you will be walking in from the under the orange trees on the right and the entrance is on the left side, beyond the blue trash can and red fire hydrant. The flags in the courtyard can be seen from the parking lot.

For a map of the SNHU campus, click here.

Once you are in the library, turn left to find the Pantano Gallery behind the circulation desk. I look forward to seeing you next weekend!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

White-Line Woodcut Prints

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
Path of the Water
white-line woodcut print; watercolor on paper

So What is a White-line Woodcut Print Anyway?

Like any piece of art, a white-line woodcut print begins with an idea. In my case, I use the natural world as inspiration for a drawing on paper. This drawing is then transferred onto a piece of wood. With my lines visible on the surface, I carve an outline of the drawing with a knife. The carved lines will become the "white lines" in the final print.

The wood left untouched now stands in relief from the lines. I attach a piece of paper to the edge of the woodblock to ensure that the it lays on the wood the same way each time I place it against the block (this is called "registration"). I then "ink" each relief shape with watercolor and press and rub the back of the paper printing the image. Once all of the shapes are colored and I am satisfied with the image, I remove the paper from the block.

White-line woodcuts were first created in the early 1900's by artists in the Provincetown, MA colony and are therefore sometimes called "Provincetown Prints." While artist BJO Nordfeldt is credited with its invention, many of his contemporaries employed the technique, the most famous of whom was the American artist, Blanche Lazell.

To see some of my white-line woodcut prints in person, visit the eleven prints and one woodblock (including "Path of the Water," shown above) that are currently on display at Southern New Hampshire University in the Shapiro Library!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"New Impressions", a Solo Show at Southern New Hampshire University!

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
Calm Day at Fort Stark
white-line woodcut print, 8" x 10"

From November 1 to December 30 2009, over ten of my white-line woodcut prints, including the one shown above, will be on display at the Southern New Hampshire University's Pantano Gallery in the Shapiro Library. These unique prints depict scenes ranging from New Hampshire's rocky coast to Mount Monadnock and even a view of South Uncanoonuc Mountain from downtown Manchester.

For library hours, click here.

I will also be hosting a "Meet the Artist" event on campus on November 14th, from 1:00 to 3:30 pm, so please stop by to ask questions, learn more about white-line woodcuts or just have some coffee and cookies and chat. The afternoon reception will be held at the Hospitality Center, across the parking lot from the library.

For a map of the SNHU campus that includes the Shapiro Library and the Hospitality Center, click here.

In my next post, I will offer a brief history of white-line woodcuts and describe how the prints in the show are made.

Monday, August 10, 2009

McGowan Fine Art's Paint Out in Portsmouth

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
Another View of the Mansion
oil on canvas, 9" x 12"

Displayed above is one of the three paintings I completed at the paint out over the weekend. I left the image of the actual mansion in the background of the photograph on purpose. I stayed close to the Coolidge Center for the Arts and the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion both days. Protected from the sun in the shade of a giant tree, I stayed comfortable for hours.

It was wonderful to get out and paint on two consecutive non-rainy days! It seems that we haven't had much of that this summer. I also had fun talking with other painters, many of whom I hadn't met before. All in all it was a great event!

All of the paintings from the weekend are available for purchase at The Coolidge Center for the Arts this week. For more information about McGowan Fine Art and The Coolidge Center for the Arts at the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion Historic Site, click here.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Plein Air Painting at the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion this weekend!

Plein Aire Painting Weekend and Wet Paint Sale
sponsered by McGowan Fine Art

Coolidge Center for the Arts at the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion Historic Site
Little Harbor Rd, Portsmouth, NH

I am participating in this "paint out" and wet painting sale this weekend in Portsmouth, NH . Artists will be painting at the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion, next door Little Harbor Creek Farm Reservation, downtown Portsmouth and the nearby cemetery. I will be staying close by the Mansion, pictured above.

We start painting Saturday, August 8th at 10 am and work away until 4 pm. Then we return on Sunday at 11 am for another round of painting until 3 pm, when the wet paint sale starts at the Coolidge Center for the Arts.

I hear that the Tall Ships are also coming to town, so it is the perfect weekend to spend some time at the coast!

For more information and directions click here

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garlic Scapes-Eat 'Em, Paint 'Em, Love 'Em-SOLD

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas
9" x12"

This year, my husband and I bought a share of a CSA, or community supported agriculture. We gave our local farmer, in this case, Middle Branch Farm, a check in the spring and we pick up a bunch of fresh vegetables once a week. The first week the vegetables were ready, we were introduced to garlic scapes. These are the greens the garlic bulb shoots above ground within which it will create seeds. Farmers trim this part of the garlic when they want bigger bulbs.

The weight of the pale yellow seed pods cause these shoots to curl around each other and themselves in a wild bundle. Eating them raw is a little wild too-a satisfying snap when bitten followed by a bold, pleasant sweetness before they bite right back with a spicy smack. We used them in salads, but we also cooked them in mu shu and pasta with delicious, if mellower results.

Of course, I also painted them! I set them up on a stool outside with our patriotic bunting in the background. Scapes turned out to be as much fun to paint as they were to eat!

This painting has SOLD!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some Studies

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas
8" x 12"

Even though it has rained most of the summer, I have been to the coast to paint a few times. I did these paintings a few weeks ago on a day that was supposed to be nice, but ended up cloudy and rainy. Since I had driven over an hour to get to the ocean, I painted anyway.

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas
8" x 12"

No matter what the weather, I still enjoy the challenge of painting the ocean - watching the water swell up into waves and crash down on the rocks or gently sweep by them and trying to isolate the exact moment I want depicted on my canvas. There is often more quiet observation than the mixing and brushing on of pigments with these studies. How do I know when a plein air study is finished? Usually when the tide goes out (or comes in), but in the case of these two, when it starts to rain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Print on Display in Manchester

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
Mountain Abstract
white-line relief print

Right now, "Mountain Abstract," a white-line relief print, is on display at the New Hampshire Institute of Art's annual Continuing Education Exhibit, in Manchester, NH. The show will be hanging in the French Building (148 Concord St.) until August 15.

If this one print isn't enough for you, mark your calendars for an entire show of my white-line reliefs coming in November.

For more information about the current show and the New Hampshire Institute, visit their website:

For a detailed image of this print, "Mountain Abstract," click here.

To purchase this framed print, contact the New Hampshire Institute of Art: 603 623-0313

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pearl Lake Lupines, Lisbon, New Hampshire

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
6" x 8", oil on canvas

In hopes of an early lupine bloom in the White Mountains, I joined the NH Plein Air painting group for an adventure last week. After enjoying (and painting) some mountain vistas and eating lunch at the famous Polly's Pancakes in Sugar Hill, we finally found a bunch of blossoms in nearby Lisbon, on the shore of Pearl Lake. There will hopefully be another excursion into the mountains to paint these beautiful flowers, but at least I was able to "pick" a few already!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hiking Mount Monadnock is a First Prize Winner and SOLD

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
white-line relief woodblock print
inked with watercolor on paper, 11" x 8.5"

I discovered yesterday that this print won first place in the Monadnock State Park category in the New Hampshire State Parks Art Contest! The parks department is going to use this image in their promotional materials. Soon, they will post the winning entries in all categories on (They aren't there yet, trust me...)

This piece was inspired by a fond memory of enjoying a wonderful hike with Mark. I recall warm sunshine flooding the forest air as I hiked up the moutain on a clear autumn day. As I climbed, I was afforded the comfort and welcoming intimacy of the earthy grays and greens of the pine trees, rocks and shrubs. In contrast to this closeness, frequent gaps in the branches exposed great wide views of the distant red and purple country under an endless blue sky. Surrounded by the mountain trail, I became part of the mountain. Gazing out from Mount Monadnock, I drew on its strength to face the wider world.

This print has SOLD!

*but there are more impressions from this block available...
contact me! 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Choppy Coast

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas
9" x 12"

This was painted on site in York, ME. My favorite thing to look at is the rocky coast of New England, therefore it is also one of my favorite things to paint! I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the changing tides and the water constantly swelling into waves, crashing on the rocks and then sweeping away.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mountain Abstract-SOLD

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
white-line relief woodblock print inked with watercolors
image size: 2.25" x 12"

Last spring, I learned a really exciting printmaking method called "white-line relief." Invented around 1915 in Provincetown, MA, it is different from other relief techniques in a few key ways. Usually, woodblock prints are either made with different blocks for each color and applied in layers or, in the case of reductions, each color is printed and then the same block is recarved between each layer. By contrast, white-line relief blocks are carved and inked with watercolor or printmaking inks using a paintbrush and one "cell" of color is transferred to the paper at a time. The carved lines in the wood prevent the colors from running into each other and gives the technique its name.

I have spent quite a bit of time (when I should have been painting) playing around with these prints. This piece was my absolute first one and while it might be small, I am still pleased with the result. So, keep you eyes out for more white-line reliefs on this blog, since I can't seem to stop making them!

This print has SOLD!

*but there are more impressions from this block available...
contact me! 

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Boston Esker

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 6" x 8"

I did this little sketch not too far from my house. I was with a group of painters who live here, and I decided to keep the composition simple and paint a sky study. For the record, this isn't a glacial esker, but one of my painting buddies called it an esker, and that is a good enough origin for the title of a sketch. The clouds raced across the sky, but I was able to "catch" them anyway.

It was nice to get to work as I have been nursing the oldest of my three Golden Retrievers back to health after an illness. The good news is that I have been painting again lately and the great news is that the dog, Winnie, is recovering.

So, here's to new beginnings!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

New Etsy Shop!

Here is the banner from my new Etsy shop! is a great site for buying handmade art and crafts online.

Because of this new venue, I have decided to post paintings here on the blog, including the link to my Etsy shop where that day's offering may be purchased. I have already "moved" some of the paintings and will continue to do so. I will also be posting new material very soon!

In the meantime, visit my new store:

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Second Exhibit

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on board, 6" x 8"

"Scene from the Point, Rye, NH" was featured on this blog in March, but it has a new reason to appear now. It will be on display at The Discover Portsmouth Center as part of the 15th annual "Artists of the Seacoast" exhibit, a yearly fund-raiser for Families First Health and Support Center. Families First provides a wide range of health and family services to the seacoast community. To find out more about this charity, visit their website:

This show will be on display Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm, April 25 through May 25 2009, . The Discover Portsmouth Center is on the corner of Middle and Congress Streets, in the old Portsmouth Library building.

Friday, April 17, 2009

SNHU Exhibit is a Success!

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 11" x 14"

This week, four NH Plein Air members have sold paintings on exhibit at Southern New Hampshire University's Pantano Gallery! "Garden View, Canterbury Shaker Village," pictured above, is among the paintings that have found new homes.

The show will be up until May 29, so there is still plenty of time to see it. I wouldn't wait too long, however, since the work seems to be flying off the walls!

This painting has SOLD!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Step Two

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 9" x 12"

A few years ago at a plein air workshop, I said to my instructor, "I really enjoy working on the underpainting." He responded with a fairly powerful statement: "Then just keep underpainting."

While developing a painting, it is easy for artists to lose our original focus. We must continually challenge ourselves to remember why we wanted to paint THIS scene on THIS day. If we can keep the "underpainting feeling" all the way to the finished product, we can hold on to our first vision more easily.

During the underpainting stage, I use broad, loose brush strokes. I pay attention to shapes, color relationships and any movement caused by breezes, currents or waves. Stage Two and the rest of the process should be about refining these ideas, not replacing them.

Using the same brush and the same energetic strokes, I have added some greens to the trees in the middle ground and in the distance. I have also added some variety in color and tone in the foreground grasses.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Work in Progress

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 9" x 12"

I have had a request to display a piece as it progresses from blank canvas to completed painting. A commission for a marsh scene is a great opportunity to demonstrate this process. There are a million ways to create a painting, but this is how I do it.

For this piece, I started by drawing ideas for compositions on paper, using plein air studies as references. I then transferred the bare outline of my favorite drawing to the canvas. It didn't take me long to completely paint over those faint guidelines with the first brushstrokes.

Using a big brush, I first covered the entire canvas with paint. For this painting, I stayed with yellows and blue-purples for the first layer. At this stage, I am trying to solidify my composition, initiate the basic tonal and value relationships and sow the seeds of the movement of the piece. I allow the different colors to mingle and mix a bit at the edges of the shapes without worrying about keeping the colors pure.

If the painting seems successful at this early stage, then there is hope for the final product. The next few steps will just be building on these initial ideas and relationships.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Art Show Announcement:

NH Plein Air: On the Scene
On Display Now through May 29, 2009

Pantano Gallery in the Shapiro Library
Southern New Hampshire University
500 North River Rd, Manchester, NH 03106

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
Surf and Rocks
oil on canvas, 8" x 10"

This is one of five paintings I have hanging in the "On the Scene" exhibit at Southern New Hampshire University. In order to see photos the show, the names of the other artists and get more information about NH Plein Air, visit:

In order to see more of my paintings, go to the show!

Friday, April 10, 2009

April Wave Study

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 5" x 7"

I promise that I am doing the Woodbury exercise, even though it has been raining. As with many exercises, these little stump paintings aren't all ready to show themselves online. I am going to finish the exercise and think about them and decide later if any should be posted.

In the meantime, I went to the coast yesterday. The weather was sunny, but the wind was vicious and I was able to do just a little study of the surf. Little paintings like this one and those of the stump end up teaching me more than I realize while I am working on them. Often I am not at all satisfied with the little sketches on the day I work on them, but when I stumble on them months (or years) later, I treasure the memory of the experience.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Stump I

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 6" x 8"

This could be the only sunny day we see in New Hampshire for a whole week, so I had to get outside and paint. This moss-covered stump is a short walk from my front door. As I was working on this picture, I recalled an exercise one of my favorite artists used to assign his students. Charles Woodbury (American 1864-1940) instructed aspiring landscape painters to paint the same scene nine times in one week at different times of day. I have done this exercise before, but I think it is time to repeat it. The weather may interfere with this challenge, since it is supposed to rain quite a bit this week, but I'll give it my best shot anyway. Therefore, I present painting #1 of the stump.

Want to know more about this painting? Contact me at the email on the right!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Horse Farm

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on board, 6" x 8"

Here is another painting from the farm down the street from my house. The horse in the front left corner is our friend from yesterday's post, taking a nap. Whenever I walk past these horses, their colorful coats always catch my eye. Even though it is spring, I think they will be wearing them for a while.

Want to know more about this painting? Contact me at the email on the right!