Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Spirit

I love the holidays and really puff up with good cheer this time of year. Part of it is about giving - if I had unlimited resources I'd spend every waking hour finding fun and game-changing ways to give it away.

The other part is a kind of annual check-in with myself. I take advantage of my good humor to do a year end assessment of my situation. This year the focus seems to be on the physical extremes in which I live in.

On one hand, the winter landscape inspires me to take long, quiet and thought-provoking walks in a more sensible and reality-based environment. I ask critical questions and get sensible responses. On the other hand, tinsel town incites the emotionally fragile, out-of-control and unhealed human being that I am to do idiotic things without a shred of common sense.

While Nature prompts me to remember that the colors red and green existed in her landscape long before they did on holiday wrapping paper, Lady Portland reminds me of how much I really do like all things that glitter, sparkle and blink when she's fully plugged in.

The yin yang of it all goes on and on. But in short and in conclusion I have determined that both worlds are important, one not more or less than the other. It's a light and dark thing - an appreciation for one does not exist without an appreciation for the other.

Country Holiday Spirit • 8" x 8" watercolor framed to 12" x 12" • $200
City Holiday Spirit • 8" x 8" watercolor framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, November 21, 2011

Still Fall

I painted this last week. It's been a great fall - couldn't ask for better weather.

Still Fall • 8" x 8" framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, November 14, 2011


Ever feel like just parking yourself someplace for a while?  The first thing that popped into my mind was a cat of course.

Parked  • 8"x 8" framed to 12"x 12" • $200

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Moon

A couple of summers ago I was on Monhegan Island painting for a week. A bunch of us were hanging around on the lawn of The Trailing Ewe after dinner when someone pointed out a full moon behind us. We all stood up and turned around to look at it. The usual adjectives were tossed back and forth between us like shooting stars in the dark.

Inspired, I felt compelled to howl. So I did. My fellow artists were shocked and  embarrassed out of what, until that moment, had been a polite quietude.

Hey - I'm expressing my gratitude for the show, I said. Besides, it feels great, I added.

Little by little, an insanity locked inside us all burst forth in a few of my fellow lunatics who dared to cross the line from civil to un. They like me threw back their heads and let rip one howl after another.

When we were finished, we turned back around, sat down, crossed our legs and sighed inhaling the beauty of the night. In the returned silence however, a distant primal howl continued it's journey across the water to join others in a universal soup of eons.

Fall Moon • 8" x 8" framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Color

The foliage in the mountains was decent while it lasted, but the talk up there was about the lack of bright red this year. This in turn initiated a debate about whether it was because of too much rain or too little rain. In the meantime, both sides had absolutely no science to back there arguments up with. So I decided to find out once and for all what the real story is. According to Dr. Kim Coder, professor of silvics (n. 1. The science treating of the life of trees in the forest. 2. Habit or behavior of a forest tree.), at the University of Georgia, there are key predictors that can help determine leaf color.

Leaf volume
The more leaves there are attached to trees entering the fall season, the more there will be to look at.  A summer drought can limit the amount of leaves, but a wet summer can also set up disease and insects. So you have to hope for a moderately dry summer - like those perfect summers we get in Maine once every seven years, if we're lucky.

Healthy leaves
Healthy leaves stay attached to trees longer. Pest and environmental problems can damage and disrupt leaf surfaces so much that they actually detract from a quality of the color of each leaf. Unfortunately, the number of pests can be a result of both weather and temperature during the summer growing season. I would interpret this to mean that in Maine the color of leaves is always going to be a crapshoot, just like the summers are.

Temperature and precipitation
Cool nights with no freezes, or frosts and cool, bright, unclouded sunny days will enhance the the leaf color, but so do slightly dry conditions in the last half of the growing season and on into the fall. Once again I'm thinking that a good color year in Maine is about as likely as finding a three-legged robin.

Strong wind
Sounds obvious, but it always takes me a minute to realize there are no leaves on the trees when I'm wondering why there is no color out there. Because Maine is always experiencing some kind of wind event, we will probably never see a full blown bloom in our lifetimes.

Freezing temperatures and hard frosts
These conditions will stop the color formation of leaves dead in it's tracks - just like it does in us Mainers.

The only way to really predict foliage color is to keep a journal. But who has time for that? So I guess I will continue to treat fall like one of those wonderful mysteries in nature - as it should be perhaps.

Fall Color • 8"x 8" watercolor framed to 12"x 12" • $200