“It’s hard to describe how excited I am about this series of paintings of the Castle. It has grabbed me more than anything I’ve done since I started painting antique boats years ago. The Castle has had a certain mystique for me since childhood, so this opportunity to become so intimately acquainted with it over the last year and a half has been a dream come true. Aside from the sheer beauty of its setting and the fascinating architecture, what has intrigued me artistically is the juxtaposition of this refined, luxurious, self-contained structure against the rugged natural elements surrounding it. We all can appreciate it on a lovely sunny summer day, but I’ve also loved imagining life in its splendid comfort as a blizzard ragged just outside those leaded glass windows!”
– PETER FERBER
Browse through Peter Ferber’s Castle Collection of limited edition signed prints.
Prints are available for purchase in our gift shop during normal operating hours, via telephone at 603-476-5900, or email by clicking here.
Proceeds from this collection will directly benefit the Castle Preservation Society.
SUN SETTINGS / watercolor
The elegant octagonal dining room took on new dimension with the setting sun pouring light across it thru the view-framing French doors. The light made the place settings sparkle and the table cloth glow against the dark paneling and silhouetted chairs. I was especially intrigued with the lace tablecloth. Little did I know what I was in for in conveying it with watercolor! Analyzing what is seen thru it – chair legs or seats, the table’s pedestal, the cloth on the other side of the table – was hard to keep track of. Remember that in watercolor, you’re not painting the lace, but everything around it, not the threads, but all the holes in between. It all takes a lot of concentration to keep the background continuous when you have to interrupt your brushstrokes every quarter inch. But when you step back and see whole, the illusion comes into focus and you forget all the labor involved.
TEA TIME AT THE CASTLE / watercolor
The placement of the almost life-sized tea pot against the vast panorama of the lake and mountains speaks to one of the Castle’s most appealing qualities, the refinements of living in this remote and rustic setting. Just about everyone would love to spend a relaxed afternoon in this cozy little tea room. I had been looking for an opportunity to include some silver in a painting since noticing the beauty of a tea service next to a window in my mother’s dining room several years ago. The complex reflections there as well as in the china bring depth to the painting, and the challenge of creating the illusion of such shiny surfaces fascinated me. It’s fun to find elements of the surrounding room recognizable in the reflections. One small detail that had a tremendous impact was adding a reflection in the table surface in some of the openings seen through the tablecloth pattern.
LIGHTS ON THE HILL / watercolor
This is one of the images I was most eager to portray, since it is not one you could see today. I love the thought of life going on at Lucknow in the face of the New Hampshire winters just outside the door. I’ve always found the warm glow of light thru a window against the deep blue moonlit landscape appealing. But another element here is thinking about the Castle in relation to the local farmers trying to scrounge a living from their granite-laced fields. There would have been almost a century’s difference in the lives being led in the two dwellings, hinted at thru the upper windows of the weathered cape.
PERGOLA PERCH / oil
One of the most charming features of the property is this wonderful pergola and gazebo taking you out to the edge of the view. I’ve incorporated aspects of the period as well as the current landscape to portray what for me is the ultimate ideal for this architectural element. I eliminated the trees that have grown up, so it stands out against the vista as the promontory it was. I’ve also added the vines which were intended to grow on these pergolas, which though romantic were also destructive to their host. Combined with some of the gorgeous gardens that now grace the grounds, this image now evokes a burgeoning if not slightly overgrown English garden that invites you to lose yourself within it for a while. This oil wash technique is perfectly suited to this feel, letting the vegetation and structure emerge for the over all painted patina.
IN THE WIND / watercolor
This lesser noticed spot tells much about Lucknow’s character. The massive rafters and bracketed beams of the overhanging roof have a protective, almost cozy quality, even while you are perched on the edge of a vast expanse. It also brings out the stonework, a glimpse into the dining room, and a bit of reflection in the window. I brought in some furniture from the sun porch to add a human quality and provide a hint at everyday life. To add further life, it occurred to me to suggest a breeze in the planter vegetation and the newspaper, put down momentarily and anticipating someone’s imminent return. The title also refers to the newspaper, which brings a perspective more dramatic than the architecture. Look closely.
GATEKEEPERS COTTAGE / oil
The elements of Tudor architecture give a wonderful “old world” charm to the property. I’ve loved the times I’ve painted these buildings in England, so I couldn’t resist focusing on it in this rare opportunity where it is found in the Lakes Region setting. This upper “Lodge”, as Plant referred to it, allowed me to include the lake and mountains in the background. The oil wash technique works well to evoke the feel of an English cottage, tucked into its garden plantings. Seeing the brass era auto rendezvous at the Castle a couple of years ago got me thinking what adding one of these vehicles from the first years of Lucknow’s existence might do to capture a moment of life at that time. I’m afraid I don’t know the make or exact date of this car. Maybe an expert in these things can fill me in!
WINGED VISITOR / watercolor
Few people will fail to identify this vehicle’s distinct radiator. I don’t know if one ever paid a visit here at the time, but when this one showed up at the rendezvous in the fall of 2006, I thought it was a fitting ornament to give this view thru the front door and out the back further interest. This series has given me the opportunity to work with new material. Notice the reflection in the tile floor, the bear rug, the Ossipee range reflected in the windows, with the “L” and “N” initials in the stained glass. But the most fun for me was gorgeous silver hood of the Rolls Royce, which was given its shine with relatively simple watercolor washes.
CASTLE MEETS THE CLOUDS / oil
The house’s position on its rocky knoll is not often appreciated as you approach it thru the more grown-up woods today, but when it was built it stood rather exposed. Here I’ve imagined the Castle facing an immense cloud building in the afternoon. It also shows how small man’s creations can appear in the face of the natural element
GARDEN SKYLIGHT / watercolor with acrylic
In trying to catch the Castle at dawn, I was surprised that I had to wait over an hour after the posted sunrise for the light to arrive on the property, coming up over the mountains to the east. It was worth the wait, though, as this painting attests. I was intrigued by all the reflections here as well as how the sun shone thru the two dining room doors and out the other side. I painted all the dark wood trim of the house in acrylic, which doesn’t bleed when dry. Then I was free to use “wet into wet” watercolor in the hills, roof and stonework to get a rich blend of color, the permanent acrylic keeping the structure of the house intact. It was actually interesting to see only the trim painted in on the blank white paper. In your mind’s eye you could see the whole house, your imagination filling in what was missing. After messing with a wonderful array of color in the stone and roof, I was surprised how quickly it came into focus with a little dry brush painting briefly describing the stone and tile. I have not fared so well in paying homage in these paintings to the incredible gardens that have flourished under skilled and tireless volunteer hands. They are so spectacular that they defy adequate portrayal!
THE CORNER POCKET / watercolor
Upon entering the house everyone is drawn to these doors and the view outside. What drew me to them was the wonderful effect of light catching a few spots as it comes thru the door, but then affecting everything with the secondary reflected light. I was particularly intrigued with the lighting and reflections in the paneling in the doorway. I never thought the dark wood would pick up the blue and green of the outside landscape, but it’s these subtle observations that bring a piece like this to life. I’m also interested in how much can be communicated about the whole building in this narrow slice of what’s there. The corner of the pool table, the leather chair, the partial bracket, the edge of the rug, the drapery pattern…so much of the house is contained in this one vignette.
LATCHED ARTISTRY / watercolor
So much of Lucknow’s appeal is in the details and the way they combine and frame the spectacular setting that surrounds it. I love the effect of depth created by focusing on the small, but beautifully designed window latch juxtaposed against the miles of view beyond. The leaded panes, the heavy hewed dark wood structure, softened with the window box plantings provide the deep tones that make the strong color of the lake and mountains stand out. I painted them first, then had to go back and add a lot of color after I saw the strength of the foreground. Notice the progression of color from the blue mountains, which are virtually the same color as the sky, to the much more vivid greens of the near trees.
TOM’S ARC / watercolor
After featuring Tom Plant’s Goodhue and Hawkins laker in a number of paintings and prints through the years, I was interested to come across a picture of Lucknow’s boathouse in the 1925 brochure advertising the property for sale. It was located four miles from the house by a “private wooded road” at the site of the present Ambrose Cove Marina (formerly Arey’s). The exterior photo was uninspiring, but the arched opening with it’s glass doors was dramatic, and so I imagined what it would be like to look out from inside, maximizing that shape. Another photo showed a pair on an aquaplane, which I show to the right. They were pulled by another of Plant’s boats, an Elco launch, part of which shows in the other slip. The final element was the morning sunlight thru the windows hitting the dock and canoe, which provided a needed point of interest in the otherwise dark interior.
EYE OF THE CASTLE / oil
It’s been interesting to see how much reflections have come into play in these images. The balcony is such a focal point of the house, and here I was able to combine a bit of the view while focusing on this architectural detail. From the top of a 14-foot stepladder, I was able to see the lake and mountains reflected in these windows. I love the contrast of the cool blues and greens with the warm hues of the tile, stone and wood. The eaves and roof formed sort of a brow, suggesting the windows as eyes. Thus the title. Parts of the turret and chimney add an important counterpoint in the composition to the lines of the balcony, which otherwise would keep your eye sliding off the right hand side of the painting. The oil washes gave me flexibility to have fun with the wonderful colors in the roof and stone. Adding the chairs at the end gave it the needed “human presence”.
CASTLE ABOVE THE CLOUDS / oil
I particularly love this view because it really shows the dramatic location of the Castle perched atop that knoll, which is not as apparent today with the trees grown up. This is based on a photograph in the 1925 sales brochure taken from the Mount Roberts trail. The weather is inspired by a pre-dawn visit to catch the sunrise. As I made my way from Wolfeboro, it looked like the whole Ossipee Range was socked in, but when I arrived up at the Castle, the sky above was clear and the clouds were mostly beneath me. It was magical to watch as the sun began to illuminate the mists moving in the valleys below. The foreground was borrowed, rearranged and adapted from several locations, including my head! And it changed as the painting progressed to strengthen the composition. I’m sure most of you can orient yourselves, but Gunstock and Belknap are behind the tree trunks, and the familiar silhouette of Rattlesnake Island can be seen to the left.
CASTLE HUES (AUTUMN) / acrylic
This view from the Oakridge Outlook is just a short walk, so I came out here frequently over the last two years, even on snowshoes at dawn in February–but that’s another painting. The colors in this autumn sunset view are what captured my creative spirit in this piece. I just wanted to play with those rich, subtle, diverse, yet harmonious hues. Acrylic is a wonderful medium for that, since you can add subsequent layers almost immediately. Building a wonderful patina, or changing your mind, quickly. I started with a wonderful mottled dark bronze underpainting, which you can see in the lower portion of the painting. It always makes brighter, lighter succeeding layers “pop” when you apply them over a dark under-layer. Though there are many layers and colors, I’ve also tried to describe things with a minimum of detail (a real challenge for me!) An artist once said, “ The key to a great painting is in what you leave out.” I’ve tried to practice that here, especially in the foreground where I’ve suggested a hillside of trees, without painting each one. I hope even those of you who love my detailed approach can appreciate how effective this can be.