Art — The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue

The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue


By Michelle Saturley


Goffstown resident a cornerstone of local art scene


If you’ve spent any time in the city’s art galleries, you’ve probably seen the work of Ann Trainor Domingue.

Domingue, a Goffstown resident, has shown her paintings in nearly every gallery in Manchester, if not the state. Her paintings are featured in the permanent collection at Southern New Hampshire University, and in shows at Art 3 Gallery, the Franco-American Centre, Art in the Park, the Arts Builds Community Gallery, Framer’s Market in Bedford, the Goffstown Open Studio event, the Laudholm Trust collection at the Wells Estuary in Maine, the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough, Anderson-Soule Gallery in Concord, and the NH Artists Association in Portsmouth.

“I’ve been painting for 20 years, so my work has been out there for a while,” Domingue said. “But over the last few years, things have taken off for me. I’ve really been able to get my name out there and be involved in many shows.”

Domingue has one of those instantly recognizable styles, no matter what medium she works in — watercolors, acrylics or monotypes. It’s a bold, dramatic style that immediately draws the observer’s eye to her work. Her subject matter ranges from people to landscapes to animals, although she is probably best known for her series of Manchester-related paintings, capturing unique angles and shapes of the millyards and downtown.

“I’m not a timid painter,” Domingue said. “I tend to shout a bit with my colors and shapes and strokes. People say they are surprised at how my paintings have such bright colors, because I work primarily in watercolor. I’ve never been surprised by it. There’s a common misconception out there that watercolors are for lightweights; that they don’t have the credibility of oils. I’d like to change that.”

This isn’t the watercolor you used in kindergarten, with the messy cup of water and the soggy paper that’s shiny on one side. Domingue uses a combination of techniques that imbue that paper with movement and color. Her preferred technique is the wet-and-wet method, in which the paper is soaked in water and allowed to dry before a brush, with a minimal amount of water, is applied.

“The wet-and-wet technique allows more of the color to stay on top of the paper, instead of being absorbed into the paper,” Domingue explains. “That’s what gives my work that bold look.”

Domingue loves to talk about techniques and styles because, in addition to being an accomplished artist, she teaches others how to do the same.

“I teach a watercolor class for adults at the Currier Art Center,” she said. “Occasionally, I’ll lead a portraiture or graphic-design session as well.”

Teaching was something of an accident for Domingue.

“I wasn’t an art education major in college,” she said. “In fact, I am primarily self-taught in watercolor. The desire to teach came to me later on, when other people mentioned to me that I had a good way of breaking things down and explaining them to people. I’m good at deciphering things, I guess.”

A friend recommended that Domingue give the Currier Art Center a call, and her relationship with the museum expanded from there. Along with her classes at the Art Center, Domingue gives demonstrations at the Currier Museum of Art. Her last demo, showing the different techniques used by Andrew Wyeth in his early watercolor paintings, brought in more than 100 attendees on a recent Thursday afternoon.

“I really didn’t expect that kind of turnout,” Domingue said. “I think they were just looking for a place to sit down.”

Her modesty isn’t fooling anyone — this past October, when Domingue led a conference for high school art teachers, it was a standing-room only affair as well.

“I like teaching, because I end up learning something new in the process along with the students,” she said.

As someone who has been on the local arts scene for 20 years now, Domingue is encouraged by the attention given to visual arts lately.

“There’s a lot of visually interesting stuff happening in Manchester right now,” she said. “It’s the little things, like the buildings downtown that have all gotten facelifts, or those arches over the streets. It’s the little things that make me pay attention. Sometimes we just need someone to point them out.”

Ann Trainor Domingue will be featured in a solo show at the Anderson-Soule Gallery in Concord for the month of February. For more information, call 228-3800. For more information about the classes available at the Currier Art Center (including Ann’s watercolor classes), call 669-6144.

—Michelle Saturley

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