Tuesday, December 13, 2016

And So We Have Snow



It's begun to snow in earnest here on the coast of Maine. Though a heap of the stuff is never much fun for city dwellers, this time of year, nevertheless, makes most of us kids and elders wish for stupid things like a white Christmas. Kids want it for obvious reasons. The elder crowd can't shake Bing.

A wish for a white Christmas in Portland is to participate in a city-wide don't-bump-in-to-my-car-I'll-try-not-to bump-you-bumper-car competition. It's survival of the luckiest. As the potential to slide in to my neighbor's car, or as my neighbor slowly slides in to mine increases with every inch, I will try to relax and envision life on an island off the coast, where the only traffic issue might be a couple of sheep.

And So We Have Snow • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, December 5, 2016

Looking for Night


Eighty three percent of the people on this planet do not experience a night sky free of artificial light. Ninety nine percent of people in the US and Europe live in areas where a black night sky is tainted by artificial light. Astronomers call it "luminous fog." You and I can call it "light pollution.

When I hear debate about whether or not to preserve a large track of wilderness area, I think about the stats above.  Maine is lucky - we're blessed with massive areas of black sky. If you want to do something constructive with your money this holiday giving season, give to your local land conservation organization.

Looking For Night • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, November 28, 2016

In the Peace I Fortify



Thanksgiving drifted by like a gigantic Peanuts inflatable. I was feeling fortunate - NYC was a much needed fun and stimulating respite, a great getaway from my everyday. There's nothing like hanging out with millions of humans to remember how small you are in the realm of things. I find comfort in being small and insignificant right now. I think a lot of us have felt like the fate of all humanity has rested on what we as individuals have done for at least a year now. It's exhausting.

The work of the rebellion has begun - I can see it hanging on the horizon. For now however, I choose to keep it there. I need to re-energize until my personal directive comes. But to those who have already begun, May The Force Be With You.

In the Peace I Fortify • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016


Thanksgiving - it's that time of year when families are brought together to break bread and hopefully this year, not each others necks. I'm lucky - I'll be in NYC with a bunch of good Libs. The conversation about the election outcome will be short. Everyone will have already talked out their shock with their own therapists, or on the newest free therapy program, Facebook.

This year, as I do every year, I will turn my thoughts to everything that has nothing to be grateful for. I'm not talking about people who think they have nothing to be grateful for, though they could probably be enlightened, or those who never learned how to be grateful, for whom I do feel compassion. My thoughts will rest on the planet, domestic turkeys, and all of those folks who actually don't have anything to be grateful for.

The times may require a little more attention. Other than not eating turkey, I'm not sure what my course of action will be other than what it has always been - to wake up grateful for waking up to a good life, and to confront injustice and abuse on all levels for all living things on the planet, including, sigh, sharks and grizzly bears.

In the meantime, I will probably give trump tower the finger, God forgive me, as I pass it by on my way to the Statue of Liberty where I intend to thank her, and all of those who have passed and continue to pass beneath her, for making America, growing pains and all, great.

Thanksgiving 2016 • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Frozen in the Supermoon



A lot of us have felt like deer frozen in headlights this past week, accompanied by a real physical, emotional and spiritual pain. My heart, head and shoulders were down around my knees, just plain aching for the people and the planet that will suffer the most.

It was the Supermoon that finally recharged this sorry soul. I got to thinking about how deer must feel with this thing hanging over their heads, especially during hunting season up here in Maine. They've witnessed the results of getting caught in headlights before.

Frozen in this big, inescapable and blinding light hovering above them, did they think it was THE Almighty Headlight come at last to harvest all of their souls, or maybe a Headlight Apocolypse, when all deer are suddenly, puff, gone? It freaked me out! I slammed sunglasses on my nose, rolled up my sleeves, put on my brain protector, and got to work.

Frozen in the Supermoon • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250


Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Place To Put My Mind



I'm not afraid of the future - it doesn't exist. I'm not afraid of death, just a painful exit - like being halved by a Great White or mauled by a grisly bear. And though these are legitimate and primal fears, they are also fears I can remove from my life, to some extent. I simply don't go where there are sharks and grislies if I can help it.

Rape scares me too. It's a constant primal fear for me, and for most women I think. There's no getting away from the possibility of rape - rapists are everywhere and come in every shape and size imaginable. This fear of rape is the only way I can relate to those people in our country who are scared every day of their lives because they have different skin colors, religions, are physically or mentally challenged, or have different gender preferences.

I was looking at the sky the other night searching for some peace. It was beautiful and magical, and  comforting to be in the presence of something harmless and way bigger than I.  It's a safe place to put my mind for a while until I see and understand my next step.

I hope you all have a safe and comforting place to put your minds too. I think it will enable us all to find what this country really needs right now, and what our individual rolls will be.

A Place To Put My Mind • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, November 7, 2016

Breathe



I haven't listened to anything election-related all day. It's my time to meditate on a positive outcome.

So my drive south from upcountry this morning was just looking through my windshield. It was beautiful out there. I focused on my breath, inhaling slowly and softly, and equally slowly and softly out. It helped.

Breathe • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Overcast on th Prom



I was out for a quick walk in between rain showers during the cold, gray and overcast spell we had last week. The Eastern Prom is lined with all kinds of trees in bloom this time of year. I passed by this one and decided to immortalize it. Even in the flat light, I found it to be beautiful.

Overcast on the Prom • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, October 24, 2016

Best Buddies


I spent an afternoon last week messing around with a sketch of my two grandsons. They live clear across the country in Seattle.

I've used these two quite liberally in a few of my paintings over the years, and while this is not a very good representation, it was nevertheless great fun, and almost like having them right here in Maine. They are after all, my best little buddies, who also happen to be best buddies.

Best Buddies • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • NFS

Monday, October 17, 2016

Goldfish


A friend posted a photo of the new pink Goldfish packaging for "Princess" goldfish crackers on Facebook the other day. This is corporate America at its best. It will do anything to pump sales to girls, but not a whole lot to pump their mother's pay scale!

I don't eat these things, but was curious about them, so did a little digging and found out the crackers were invented by a man named Oscar J. Kambly in 1958, who launched them through his Swiss company called Kambly. It was just a puffed cheese-free fish-shaped cracker called a Goldfischli. They’re still available under their original brand in Switzerland. In 1962, Pepperidge Farm (now owned by Campbell's Soup Corp) founder Margaret Rudkin brought the recipe for the cracker back with her after a trip to Switzerland. Her company created Finn the goldfish as the mascot - no one knows why he wears sunglasses.

Goldfish • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Scanning the Skies


A stargazer by nature, I spent an inordinate amount of time in my youth during the month of October scanning the skies for witches and flying monkeys. I was terrified, thanks to the Wizard of Oz movie we all dared each other to watch every year on TV.

These days, when the moon is full out in the countryside, I look for Eliot and E.T., the result of many years of therapy.

Scanning the Skies • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall Weirdness



The big fall rollout has begun. Up in the western mountains it is well underway.

I find this time of year fascinating. There's an element of something otherworldly at work out there as the countryside begins to morph. It might have something to do with the hazards of shrinking daylight hours - like getting caught in the dark on an evening walk. We forget that a giant twisted fallen limb up ahead on the side of the road is just that, and that the rustling of those little leaf tornadoes are simply a dying daytime breeze. There are no giant hissing lizards in Maine, we assure ourselves.

Fall Weirdness • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Green Induced Energy Woods Walk Experience



Ever go for a walk in the woods and feel that energy thing – you know, that thing when you begin to feel a tingling in your body, and everything out there starts to morph to more vibrant colors and mysterious and magical forms. No synthetic mind altering drugs here. It's simply what I call the green induced energy woods walk experience. GIEW WE! for short.

The Japanese have a word shinrin-yoku ,that was coined by the Japanese government in 1982. In Japanese shinrin means forest, and yoku here refers to a “bathing, showering or basking in.” More broadly, it is defined as “taking in, in all of our senses, the forest atmosphere.” It's based in Shinto and Buddhist practices and is essentially a form of “forest bathing.”

In their documented research, the Japanese found walking in the forest, even for one day (the longer the better) has enumerable health benefits. It lowers cortisol (stress hormone), blood pressure, reduces physical pain, stress, depression and hostility, lowers blood sugar and improves concentration, immunes system, vitality, concentration and creativity. Children with ADHD show improved focus after just a 20 minute walk in a city park

Forest therapy has also been found to increase NK cells. Natural killer immune cells (NK cells) are a type of white blood cell which sends self-destruct messages to tumors and virus-infected cells, including cancer cells. And people exposed to vaporized stem oil from a common cypress tree have had a 20% increase in their NK cells during their three night stay in a hotel.

I wonder if walking through woods when the trees are in full fall color mode adds an extra boost to those stats!

Below is a link to a fascinating article about the healing power of a walk in the woods that appeared in Mother Earth News.

The Green Induced Energy Woods Walk Experience • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/herbal-remedies/forest-bathing-ze0z1301zgar?pageid=1#PageContent1

Monday, September 19, 2016

Happy Place


Today is my son Brecken's birthday. We mothers always wish the best for our children - that they grow up be decent human beings, find what they love to do and somehow figure out how to make a living at it, and find happiness. I prefer to wish that they find their happy place, whatever that is.

Being happy is tough - you have to go to a shrink to figure that one out. In the meantime, being in our happy place can be as easy as watching puppies, hanging with kids, easing into a warm bath or sailing a flat sea in a stiff breeze. More advanced practitioners can be happy in the present and in a void. But for the rest of us, conjuring up a good memory is way easier. We can close our eyes anytime, anywhere, and imagine it - because we've been there. We just need to remember it.

So, happy birthday Brecken. May you spend today in your happy place. And for tomorrow, May The Force Be With You as you continue to add to your portfolio a thousand more.

Happy Place • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fleeting But Nourishing


Once in a while I find the need to stop what I'm doing, take a deep breath, and simply be in peace and quiet. It's a survival thing, putting life out there on hold, taking a time out.

This is what was in my mind during the last pause. It was fleeting but nourishing. Hope it is for you too.

Fleeting But Nourishing • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Laboriousness of Lobstering and Learning to Devour the Catch the Old Fashioned Way


Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It's a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country (I paraphrase here).

I have a lobster dinner once a year as part of our annual Sun Seekers International group outing. We do the lobster, steamers, corn and coleslaw, followed by a local ice cream cone. Trying to get the meat out of a cooked lobster is definitely laborious - like you almost have to work for your meal. In fact, one of my favorite past times is watching rookies try to figure out how to get their money's worth.

It begins with perplexed expressions, followed by a joke or two, some poking, pounding, cracking, and peering into. Some can't touch the beast, others request divine intervention, and then there are those who get right in to it and become fully encased in butter and bits of bright red shell. I'm a pro, but still feel like I've accomplished something when I've spent an hour cleaning one out, so I never laugh. I was there once too. You never forget the first bout.

Fishing for lobster is a crap shoot, not to mention laborious and dangerous. So I dedicate this painting to the fishermen who catch the lobster, and to the rookies who labor for their lobster dinner the old fashioned way.

The Laboriousness of Lobstering and Learning to Devour the Catch the Old Fashioned Way • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Burnt Coat Harbor Light

Once in a while I'll spot a lighthouse along the coast that gets to me. This one sits at the very tip of Hockamock Head, the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan's Island. It's been there for almost 150 years. I love the shape, so I thought I'd do a quick sketch!

We've been trying to get off the boat more and hike on island trails to keep our bodies from seizing up after a day of sailing. Our heads are  cocked in one direction for miles, and our butts are sore from grinding on the deck. I'm not complaining here, it's just that we're beginning to acknowledge a certain amount of stress induced rust in our joints.

This hike took us a half hour through woods that encompasses Hockamock Head. The island initiated a restoration project in the early 2000s. We enjoyed their hard work immensely.

The Burnt Coat Harbor Light • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eggemoggin Reach Regatta


We managed to make it to the start of the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta this year. Although it was not a dramatic start - there was no wind - some minor drama did occur. A big old black schooner actually began sailing backwards with the current before the wind finally filled in and corrected the vessel's course forward again.

It's not hard to see the beauty of old wooden boats - their lines are drafted with so much more grace than a lot of newer models. Even in light air they were enchanting to watch as they slowly inched along, silently rocking back and forth with the slightest little zephyr. But that day, as the breeze slowly built and filtered through the fleet, those elegant old creatures filled their wings and quietly took flight until they were in a full on charge to the mark.
Eggemoggin Reach Regatta • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A New Groove


Taking the advice of my doctor, I am now working with a health coach. She is young, vivacious and enthusiastic, all the the things I'm not - a fact that I am fine with it.

My assignment is to find a new groove. Instead of grabbing Taza chocolate every time I hit a snag, I have to ask myself - is this nourishing? Magically, the groove to Taza gets blocked by the answer to that question.

So where does the new groove go - a glass of water, a deep breath? Today's groove was a peaceful place in my mind. If nothing else, it was reassuring that I could still imagine a place like this with all that's been happening in the world, and it helped. I see a new, more healthy groove in the making. I think I'll celebrate with some Taza chocolate!

A New Groove • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200

Monday, August 1, 2016

Afternoon on Monhegan Island


A few years back I was on Monhegan Island for a week. While my cohorts painted their butts off, I cavorted around the village, an outsider but feeling right at home in the local cafe every afternoon after bashing my head against the rocks out there trying to paint the unpaintable.

It was during that week I realized I probably should have been a psychologist because I had way more fun watching and listening to everyone's story than I did painting the land and seascapes.

I'll go back to paint one of these days for sure. It is a beautiful island, and the ocean and the light is amazing, not to mention the people I encountered. In the meantime, this was something I saw on one of my afternoon walks. It's on the cover of my new 2017 Peaceful Places wall and desk calendar.

Afternoon on Monhegan Island • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, July 25, 2016

Elder Boomer Beach Gam


There's talk of a reunion buzzing around out there for my high school class. Watch out - stand back!

Because I spent an inordinate amount of my youth at the beach, where water was the only escape from a wall of stifling summer humidity, a humorous image wafted through my mind on a soft little sea breeze.

Early morning risers, we old boomerettes are off to the beach wearing large prescription sunglasses, protective hats and water sandals, carrying gigantic colorful all-cotton beach towels and a village of umbrellas. It's quiet and bright - a hazy, diffused bright, that illuminates our perfect 60s vessels  -  personal road maps showing sags, scars and wrinkles that mark childbearing and/or other major events in our lives.

We ease our way in to the shallows and mill around the breakwater, communing in the peace. After catching up on the present, we inevitably reflect on the past. Maybe we could have done more than we did to make the world a better place - we certainly had the energy. But we're also proud of what we did accomplish nevertheless.

The world would have been a lot worse, we surmise, if we hadn't stood up for world peace, even if it was just refusing to support war, corporate greed and the destruction of our planet in our personal lives.

Elder Boomer Beach Gam • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Get Me Back To The Garden Strawberry Fields Forever Elder Boomer Happening



Early one late spring morning I drove out to Cape Elizabeth to pick strawberries, craving some for breakfast, and maybe some inspiration. I got both.

Pickers were already scattered across the field by the time I got there. Youngsters were grazing, their mouths smeared in red. Mothers were giving the "this is not something we do" talk, to no avail. There were also a couple of serious muti-tray make-jam-and-freeze-it grandmothers gathering for the winter months. And then there were the rest of us rookies - picking for a meal or for something "springish" to do while the sun lasted.

The light was a typical Maine morning haze - soft and bright as it filtered through the trees dissolving what was left of night's lingering dark. At one point, I stood up and took a look around. And that's when I saw it. There we were, my fellow boomerettes and I humming Chelsea Morning as we lumbered along, picking and eating psychedelic strawberries in the nude. It was a Get Me Back To The Garden Strawberry Fields Forever Elder Boomer Happening.

The Get Me Back To The Garden Strawberry Fields Forever Elder Boomer Happening • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Colors and Shapes



As the summer in Maine moves along, I begin to notice primary colors and shapes in the landscape.

Summer Colors and Shapes • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Friday, July 1, 2016

July Fourth



I was in Tenant's Harbor last month on a coffee run. We stopped at the Tenant's Harbor General Store right in the middle of town. Actually, it is the town. That giant flag up on the side of the building is a real eye catcher, and you can get a good hot cup of Carrabassett Coffee there. I looked at that flag and the red, white and blue open-for-business sign and decided that the building was looking quite American pretty.

I could tell by the chat going on inside that a lot of personal, town, state, country and world problems have been discussed, resolved and/or solved (or not), in this building over the years. I'm sure opinions were noodled and expressed. Folks were also forced to communicate with one another in person, to do their commerce in person back then. We formed our own opinions about our neighbors, and in most cases, learned the value of holding on to those opinions when the need to buy a quart of milk forced inevitable future encounters.

Have a safe, fun Fourth, and remember why we celebrate it every year. To sign the our Declaration of Independence was considered an act of high treason against the British Empire. I've often wondered whether or not I would have had the courage to sign our Declaration of Independence given the repercussions.

"1. That the offender be drawn to the gallows, and not be carried or walk: though usually (by connivance length ripened by humanity into law) a sledge or hurdle is allowed, to preserve the offender from the extreme torment of being dragged on the ground or pavement

2. That he be hanged by the neck and then cut down alive

3. That his entrails be taken out and burned, while he is yet alive

4. That his head be cut off

5. That his body be divided in four parts

6. That his head and quarters be at the king's disposal [6].

The punishment did not end with the personal suffering of the offender; the punishment extended to his or her family. The law states that a person who is found guilty of treason must also undergo "forfeiture" and "corruption of blood." In forfeiture, the person is forced to give all their lands and property to the state. Corruption of blood prevents the person's immediate family and hereditary heirs from owning property or conducting business-- in effect ruining the offender's family forever.

But the punishment of treasonous women is similar, yet different from men. "For as the decency due to the sex forbids the exposing and publicly mangling their bodies, their sentence (which it to the full as terrible to sensation as the other) is to be drawn to the gallows, and there to be burned alive"

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html

July Fourth • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Arrives



Summer finally arrives! I have mixed feeling about the longest day of the year having come and gone already. It may be a Maine thing, but it seems like spring's not what it used to be. It was always a soft, gently lit prelude to summer. These days it's more like a final kicker from winter.

In the meantime, here's the June painting in my recently published 2017 calendar. Check it out on my web site:

http://www.claudiadiller.com/calendar.htm


Summer Arrives • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Port Clyde House


On a recent sojourn along the coast, I landed in Port Clyde. We had spent a not so peaceful night anchored there last summer when the wind blew up on us and we were forced to take cover.

Today I was exploring on foot, and found a nondescript house with good bones right in the middle of town. It didn't look like anyone lived there, and reminded me of the old tough and simple-by-necessity life of fishermen on the coast of Maine. Someone will probably buy it and turn it in to a summer "cottage," but for no it stands defiant.

Port Clyde • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Friday, June 10, 2016

A World Filled With Promise


I used to paint from beautiful memories. It was a wonderful time, filled with hope, love and gratitude. I had an ability to put destructive thoughts aside and paint the life and future I wanted. It was therapy, and a way to contribute to a world that could sometimes feel overwhelmingly scary.

Today I am totally in the present with someone who will be leaving this world. She reminds me that this life is never to be taken for granted - that it would be an act of arrogance to do so. She also reminds me not to hold back on love, that there will always be more than enough love to go around for everyone and every thing in this world because love is a never ending. And finally, she reminds me that giving others a glimpse of what is good and beautiful in this world, in whatever form, is the most courageous thing we as humans do, and the best job you could ever have.

This painting is for all of you too, who have forgotten how to do it - to imagine a life and then create a world that is beautiful, and filled with promise.

A World Filled With Promise • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, June 6, 2016

Munjoy Hill



I was on my daily walk through the neighborhood a few weeks ago when I came across this plastic container filled with flowers - still wrapped in plastic, and placed on a doorstep to catch some rare sun. It reminded me of something I might see in an old European neighborhood. I was enthralled, like I was when I moved up here 15 years ago.

That old world thing is an aspect of the hill quickly disappearing. Once home to immigrants not allowed to live in the "proper" areas of the city, this old neighborhood, with its less than perfect arrangements, crumbling stoops in front of a less than perfect doors, is literally, loosing ground.

Munjoy Hill • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016


I always pause to thank our servicemen and women who have died in wars on Memorial Day. It makes me sad - war sucks. So I don't linger there long.

Instead, I honor them every day, as many do, by trying to be a better person, and to work for a better community for all. Despite the current state of government and the hard work we have ahead, I can still see their sacrifices and how they contributed to our good fortune everywhere I look.

Memorial Day 2016 • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12"• $200

Monday, May 23, 2016

Just a Duck Pond



My daughter was here last summer on a rare trip home. We decided to spend a few days on the hunt for Maine's best lobster roll under the guise of a mission to visit areas in the state she had never been to before. It was too hot, even for a beach day, and the only relief was my car's air conditioning. So it only made sense to meander along the mid-coast of this great state looking for the perfect lobster roll.

Along the way we passed this beyond real and idyllic-looking duck pond out toward Orr's Island. I jumped out to take a quick pic. We were both getting cranky with hunger and thirst at that point, so I really had no time to study the subject. In fact, I hadn't revisited this photo until now, when upon closer inspection, I saw a duck head, or so it seems, in the opening of the duck house. It brought to mind a film I saw back in the 60s called Blowup. In that film, a photographer thinks he has accidently taken a photo of a murderer - a face that appears as he is developing the image of a seemingly innocent-looking park scene. It could be a man's face that appears in the leafy background of his photo, or not. In any case, it was an extremely tense one and a half hours.

For fear of incriminating the duck and endangering my own life, I decided not to include the duck in my sketch.

Just a Duck Pond • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Finally Getting Her Due


I'm being stalked by a pair of cardinals. They follow me around my Portland neighborhood, egging me along my exercise route. I think I'm bird watching, but don't want to admit it. In any case, I figured I'd sketch them.

Both the male and female are really visible right now because the trees are still bare. I was going to sketch the male, the almighty the colorful one, but have already done him. So I decided to explore the female. As it turns out, and much to my surprise, the female is a way more interesting study than the male. Who knew?

So here she is, finally getting her due. Wait! Why does this sound familiar? Oh I know - I believe it's one of many themes in our current presidential race.

Finally Getting Her Due • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200


Monday, May 9, 2016

Children


Today my daughter Heather and I share a birthday. I always explain to people that she came to this planet to teach me how to be a less selfish person. It didn't take. So I was given a second chance a few years later with the birth of my son Brecken. That didn't work either.  I'm happy to be able to say that my life was redeemed - their message finally got through, and today I consider them the greatest gifts I will ever receive.

Children bring  good fortune to our world. The lessons they hand out are tough, the situations thereof challenging, but in the end they are always this world's greatest examples of love and compassion if we open up our hearts.

On this birthday I wish Heather a beautiful day. I also throw out in to the universe a wish for all children to be relieved and healed of their pain, and that the world, in doing so, recognizes all children for who they really are and what they came in to our lives to teach.

Children • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200



Monday, May 2, 2016

The Necessity of Forging Good Memories



I was speaking by phone with a friend up in the western mountains. It's snowing at Sugarloaf. I find this depressing having just planted my lettuce seeds and onion sets.

Today is a lesson in the importance of forging good memories. This painting is one of those good memories of a spring past. I keep them planted in my mental garden. It depicts a May when, groggy with spring fever, the sun and I appeared a bit hazy on the rise.

It only takes the memory of one good spring to keep us in motion on a day like today. It enables us to get out of bed in the morning, to put one foot in front of the other, and serves as a reminder that our days need to be dictated by how we feel on the inside, not what is going on out there.

The Necessity of Forging Good Memories • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $200

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Watching Surfers at Higgins




Once in a while I'll check the Higgins Beach web cam to see if there's any action, and head over if there is and if I can. I used to think I was torturing myself - I haven't been able to continue my rookie surfing for a variety of health reasons. But there's still something about the sport I just can't resist.

Maybe it's the memory of my own short-lived experience of paddling out on a beautiful, quiet early spring morning, and sitting on my ghetto board waiting for a set. I remember looking out over the ocean and feeling my heart swell when I realized there wasn't any other place in the universe I'd rather be at that moment than right there, right then. It was pure joy.

Of course there was the crap shoot of picking a good little wave, the chaos of paddling like a madwoman to catch it, and the exhilaration of being lifted up on to a wave so powerful that stark terror and pure ecstasy became one and the same thing.

Surfing is a lot of things to a lot of people. For me it was totally spiritual. I continue to be in awe.

Watching Surfers at Higgins • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, April 18, 2016

Robins


I was looking out my window in Kingfield last week and saw what looked like 20 robins foraging in the back yard. I had planted a couple of rows of peas and spinach, so I knew the ground had thawed. Guess the robins figured out that where I dig, there must be worms.

Though the robin was always the first bird I noticed in the spring when I was a kid, a lot of robins hang around all winter these days. Could be a climate change thing, because American plains' tribes attributed robin sightings to the return of the sun - the beginning of spring. It's red chest was symbolic of the rising of the sun, its bright yellow beak of the sun's rays lighting the earth with hope. 

Some tribes believed the sun rose and set on the wings of the robin.  Others believed the white ring around the red robin's eye was symbolic of prophetic vision, clarity, and great wisdom.

I was going to do a quick sketch of a robin or two out in the yard - but found myself captivated by their features. They really are beautiful birds. Sad to say, I always thought they were kind of boring. Not anymore.

Here's a link to their song - it's a nice compliment to the sweet chickadee tweet before the snowbirds return and it gets so clamorous out there it's hard to hear the individuals.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Robin/sounds 


Robins • 8" X 8" acrylice framed to 12" X 12"• $250

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Black Cap Tweet


During a morning stroll down a dirt road close to our home in Kingfield, I was blown away by a cacophony of bird chat coming from a pine canopy up to my left. It sounded like a political convention in there. Chickadees were engaged in friendly dialog about world peace and economic inequality. They'll probably solve the issues before any of the bozos running for office these days do, I concluded.

Determined not to give in to a sour mental interuption to a beautiful day, I continued on my way thoroughly enchanted by our state birdies.

The Black Cap Tweet • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $200

Monday, March 28, 2016

Another Last Winter Painting



Well, this is it - the last winter painting I will do for 2015/16. It's become a tradition. Don't know why. Guess I'm giving myself permission to look ahead and imagine a spring less winter-like and more springish.

It depicts some of the fireworks that have been occurring in the skies this past winter. Between brilliant full moons and northern lights, we've had ourselves one heck of a light show.

Another Last Winter Painting • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12"• $250

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Storm Coming


Well heck, there's another storm coming - and it ain't going to be rain. I was reminded of watching storms move during the summer while sailing.

There's nothing more mesmerizing than watching a line of rain make its way across a large body of  water. It's distracting as the impending storm slowly conjures itself up and over your head, quietly whispering itself closer, thinking you won't notice.

So peaceful and haunting, and beautiful - all of those positive ions flitting around you in the air, tingling your body, and making your hair stand on end, is also unerving as other-worldy colors and ominous forms continue to loom and brew overhead. And although there's an aspect of suspense that can be exhilarating for adrenaline junkies like me, you know when it hits, it's going to be absolutely terrifying in the end.

Storm Coming • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, March 7, 2016

Buck's Harbor Barn


I've loved barns for as long as I can remember. It may have to do with the simplicity of the building's lines, or with the animals they house. Maybe it's the way of life they represent. To this day, there aren't too many barns I can walk or drive by without thinking about how they might translate in to a house.

We passed this pretty little thing on a walk up through the village center in Buck's Harbor on a beautiful summer afternoon last summer. Though it certainly would make someone a fine home, I've witnessed how unbridled zoning can destroy a neighborhood on Munjoy Hill.  I've now decided that there ought to be a law passed that mandates all barns, and the farms they're a part of, continue to be a home for farmers and vegetables and fruits and cows and horses and chickens and pigs and donkeys and tractors forever.

Buck's Harbor Barn • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, February 29, 2016

The River is Running

As winter began to give way to spring in years past, the Walters boys would invite me on a trek  across the field and down in to the river bank to check out the ice chunks a receding river flow  would deposit along the shoreline. Beautiful big formations were so spellbinding, we had to be careful to remember that they weren't awesome ice caves to be climbed over and inside of. The colors were ice-in-the -raw stunning and alluring.

This year, the Carrabassett is already wide open where we are in Kingfield.There are no bergs along the banks.

The River is Running • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $200

Monday, February 22, 2016

Benjamin River Holdout


We left Buck's Harbor in a warm, soft little breeze that would eventually die as we made our way down Eggemoggin Reach. Our destination was Center Harbor and the Wooden Boat races. We wouldn't make the start of the regatta with this wind, but somehow it didn't matter. It was a beautiful morning in Maine, and sailing the reach is always a blast sliding under the Deer Isle suspension bridge that towers hundreds of feet overhead.

We saw the sails of the old boats off in the distance - configurations you just don't see every day, as we finally eased our way in to Center Harbor for lunch, ghosting around some of the prettiest old woodies you'll ever see. These were gorgeous boats of all sizes and shapes, many of which had been brought back to life with a lot of sweat, sore knees and elbows. But that's another story.

After lunch, we had originally planned to sail to Swan Island for the night. But the wind was still light. The thought of using the iron sail all that way was unpleasant at best. Besides, a storm predicted to the west over the mainland was beginning to take shape. Predicted to hug the mainland, there was no guarantee it wouldn't turn more east and out over our heads. We decided to head back up the reach a short distance to the Benjamin River - a friendly and protected harbor, to holdup for the night.

I got a very brief cold swim in before the sprinkler was turned on. We were right on the edge of the storm, which made it all feel like we were watching a movie on a massive screen. The sunlight was blotted, the wind came up in fierce little whips, and an excellent thunder and lightning show ensued.

Within 10 minutes, all went calm again, and eventually the way was cleared for a peaceful dinner in the cockpit as the sun dipped out of sight, and a dramatic full moon later that evening. It was just another-if-you-don't-like-the-weather-in-Maine-thank-you-day-and-gloriously-stunning-full-moon-night in paradise.

Benjamin River  Holdout • 8" X8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Light

I've been studying the sky these days. I have to walk twice a day and have plenty of time to look around without worrying about hitting a pothole or tripping over a curb. I figured I'd find out why the sky is the color it is when it is.

The color of the sky has to do with the way sunlight interacts with air molecules. Blue light, which is at the short end of the visible spectrum, scatters more during the day when we look at parts of the sky away from the sun, so see more blue than red. During sunset or sunrise, however, most of the light from the sun hits our planet at a sharp angle making the path so long that most of the blue and green light is scattered away by the time we see it. That's why we see mostly red.

Rayleigh scattering refers to the scattering of light off of the molecules of the air, extended to particles up to about a tenth of the wavelength of the light. It is Rayleigh scattering off the molecules of the air which gives us the blue sky. 

When large particles in the atmosphere are able to scatter all wavelengths of white light equally, Mie scattering is occurring. This is why clouds are white sometimes.

I think this painting is depicting Mie scattering.  But I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about and I really don't have time to be an expert.

 

Winter Light • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, February 8, 2016

Winter Respite - For a Minute


We caught a short hiatus from winter last week with milder temps and full on sun. I was even inspired to start reading articles about sailboats. Did you know that your run-of-the-mill stainless steel kitchen pot scrubbies tucked up into thru hulls will keep bugs out of the boat during winter storage?

But we longtime Mainers know better than to think we've given the slip to that merry prankster Old Man Winter. Come Friday, to no surprise of us veterans, Portland received a good 6" of snow, with a repeat performance today. Tom said the crocuses were 2" high at the Harraseekett Inn in Freeport. Needless to say, they're gone.

Today I choose to remember the other side of winter with this somewhat romantic, but fairly accurate depiction of that brief respite.  The water, believe it or not, can turn the most amazing blue. You'd swear you were somewhere tropical.

Winter Respite - For a Minute - For a Minute • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Monday, February 1, 2016

Beautiful


It's challenging to put beautiful out there these days. There's a lot of scary going on, so it can feel apologetic to even think the word.

Can just looking at mountains and rivers and birds and clouds inspire suffering souls and rebuild broken bodies? I'd like to think it can. And so I stop to look at the beautiful whenever I can, and share it with all of those who can't.

Beautiful • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Deep Freeze Being Flung Around A Full Moon



It's another good old fashioned trifecta weather event. A deep freeze being flung around a full moon.

A Deep Freeze Being Flung Around the Moon • 8" X 8" acrylic framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Winter Wind Howls


There are too many people suffering in the world to complain about how cold and ferociously the winter wind howls outside my apartment right now. I will simply share that I am grateful I have heat, that I'm not out on the bay in a sailboat, and that I really think the title of this painting and blog would also be a great title for a murder mystery.

The Winter Wind Howls • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $250

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pondering Peace



It's a new year, and because resolutions are so yesterday, I've decided to ponder stuff instead.

My blog began back in 2010 as practice - sketching a piece every week was to keep me motivated. A few years later, the blog seemed to shift. It became a mission to document aspects of Maine I saw disappearing. We all know Maine is changing, and although the only constant is change, I felt a desperation, anger, frustration and great sadness - like there wasn't enough time to grasp what needed to be. It would all be gone before I could remember it.

The initiation of my calendar way back in 2004, Peaceful Places, was a conscious effort to switch from my 60s anti-war rants to pro peace thought experiments. We were constantly reminded of what war looked like, but were forgetting how peace felt. I thought maybe I could remind people through images and memories. And so it goes with the blog.

There are landscapes and scenes in this state that take my breath away. In that space where breath is momentarily suspended - between the inhale of what's to come, and the exhale of what has been - is a snapshot of wonderment, appreciation and profound peace. That fleeting, but very powerful place is where I endeavor to remain for as long as possible. It's my contribution to the peace movement.

Of course this doesn't mean I won't do everything in my power to eliminate all guns and other killing machines from the face of the planet!

Pondering Peace • 8" X 8" framed to 12" X 12" • $200