Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Burnt Coat Harbor




I used to think I had made a big mistake trying to make a living as an artist. There were a lot of sacrifices made by and forced on to family and friends over the years, not to mention the money thing. But unfortunately, it's an urge, and a drive akin to that of the tides. Every time I tried to go straight, I'd self destruct.

I think this drive is also about about having to satisfy an urge to do stuff outside of my comfort zone, and maybe that's why I love skiing and sailing too. I was not raised in to these two activities. I was  uncomfortable, scared and sometimes terrified. Now I can't imagine life without them. The fear and the terror I can still feel every day have led the way to an astounding gratitude for having survived work, the ocean, and the hill.

And so it is with this sense of gratitude that I write and paint what I see out there in Maine. Maybe that's why I landed here 50 years ago. I loved Maine the first time I stepped foot in it - there was no other place I wanted to be. I learned to push my mental and physical envelope right out my back door.

Burnt Coat Harbor
Burnt Coat is a well-protected harbor on the southwestern side of Swan's Island in Penobscott Bay. We picked up a mooring there one afternoon to escape a howling SW that was supposed to maintain gusts of 25 all night. We loved the harbor - having had sailed there on the little boat for lunch years ago. It's still a working harbor and does not offer any amenities to yachtsmen, which has kept it honest all these years. Somehow the islanders have managed to hold on to their way of life.

It was fun to watch the goings on in the harbor itself. There were some late night returnees - lobstermen and their families and friends returning from big doings on the mainland. Awakened by the hum of big engines, I stuck my head out of the v-berth. The boats were  lit up like major league baseball parks. It was like watching aliens from space land - very exciting.

The same boats left early the next morning to check traps. It was Monday morning and work as usual, after all. As I sat eating my breakfast in the cockpit, they all waved as they gurgled politely by, respectful of us late rising interlopers. I waved in return and was feeling kind of special to be included in this ancient daily ritual. I found myself wanting to say a silent prayer, wishing them and their boats a safe journey, and prosperous day, but it occurred to me I might be a liability, so I just wished them a safe journey. It was an lovely interlude - a glimpse of the best part of Maine, and actually, of me.

Burnt Coat Harbor • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200

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