Wednesday, November 14, 2012
A Day with Winslow
My friend Ellen invited me to tag along with her on a tour of Winslow Homer's studio out on Prout's Neck, aka Black Point. The Portland Museum of Art is conducting the tour in conjunction with Weatherbeaten, it's exhibition featuring Homer's paintings of Maine, being shown now until the end of December.
It was a typical fall Maine day - blustery and damp. We met at the museum at 10am. One of the more exciting aspects was the ride out. Ten of us piled into a big black Mercedes van. I personally felt like I was part of a covert CIA mission off to thwart a planned bad guys attack. Who would ever have suspected a stealth terrorist landing at Winslow Homer's studio right there on Prout's.
The studio building was originally a carriage house and part of the estate called The Ark, purchased by Homer's father. Requesting some space, the carriage house was moved away from the main house and closer to the water. The architecture is interesting especially the way they created the span to accommodate the carriages by using wrought iron pipes to hold beams in place. It's a great old place, but a bit too much like a formal museum. It would have been fun to walk through the place set up as it might have been while Homer was living there. As it is now - pieces of furniture are raised and placed around the perimeter of the rooms so you don't get that time warp feeling you get at some other museums of this kind. If any of you have been to the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley you know what I'm talking about. That place actually transports you back to the 50s - very spookey but very cool.
Homer's studio was on the second floor. He had a porch built so he could go outside and study the landscape he came to paint so well. Our docent was great and had a good Boston accent - almost southy. The best part of the tour were the stories about Homer, some of them about his relationship with the locals and how he got his reputation as a recluse. I won't spoil it for those who want to take the tour themselves.
We hiked a portion of the cliff walk that goes along the bottom of the property. We stood in spots where Homer painted a couple of his paintings - the docent held reproductions of the paintings for us to compare. As if on cue, a lobster boat cruised by on it's way to Scarborough Marsh where I'm sure it moored somewhere behind Pine Point. The three women from Boston got all excited about that and clicked away.
This painting is one of those spots I stopped at. As is my style - I added a couple of labs. Homer himself had a mutt that looked like a cross between a a couple of different terriers.
A Day with Winslow • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200