"Colorful Journey" by Sue Anne Bottomley

Sue Anne Bottomley visited - and drew - every city and town in New Hampshire

You’ve probably heard of people who go on a quest to visit every city and town in NH; you might have done it yourself. Sue Anne Bottomley did it, but with a twist — she not only went to every city and town in the state, she drew them.

You can see the result in “Colorful Journey” [Piscataqua Press, $35]. Each page is dedicated to a town (for simplicity’s sake Bottomley calls cities “towns” too) with just enough historical notes to give you a sense of it, accompanied by a charming drawing of some aspect of the town.

 In Peterborough, it was the old buildings on Grove Street. In Somersworth, the mill buildings along the Salmon Falls River. In Errol, the general store. In Effingham, the steepled meetinghouse. And so on for 234 towns in all.

All of the drawings were done on-site, right then, no matter the weather or season. “I like the high energy and the immediacy of standing in the middle of the road with my sketchpad. It focuses the mind,” she says in the foreword.

 It took Bottomley two years to complete her quest. Twice a week, she had set off with maps, atlas, GPS and snack to hit her monthly goal of visiting 10 new towns. Once there, she “paced around to find the best angle.” Then she used pencil, ink, watercolor and colored pencil to get it down on paper.

It’s a great book for a summer browse. Or take it along on your own quest.

Categories: Book Reviews