Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Looking for Winter

I can feel winter but I can't see it yet - there's no snow on the ground, no ice in the waters. The predictions for Maine are for more snow than normal and colder than normal. I hadn't been paying much attention to the weather, but as THE winter holiday swell begins to build, I started getting nervous and looked it up.

For those of you who read your horoscope everyday, here's a blow by blow.

In the meantime, I painted this to remind myself of how pretty winter in Maine can be.

Looking For Winter • 8" x 8" watercolor framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Choosing Magic with Gratitude

This Thanksgiving I am reminded of something I forget about all of the time. Choice. Whenever I finish reading my morning dose of world, national and local news, I feel like I have very little of it. I have to put myself through a debriefing program because though being informed is critical, what I read needs to be filtered through a voice of reason so that I can navigate my day without seriously dope slapping the bad guys and duct taping mouths of irrational, narrow-minded idiots.

I practice the fine art of choice with smaller, more personal choices. Black or white, drive or reverse, cash or charge. Today I'm choosing to be childlike versus adult-like. It sounds trite en lieu of what is going on out there in the world, but so far it's been monumental. It requires a major shift to naivety and wonderment which so far is taking constant vigilance. It's a tough thing to achieve in this world and these days. Even kids seem to be struggling, and they're supposed to be our reminders and inspiration for heavens sake.

This Thanksgiving painting is a reminder to me that though life can be damn tough, and certainly tortuous and unpredictable for millions of people in this world, I am fortunate and enormously grateful every day that I still have choice and that I know how to choose to have mystery and magic in my life. I choose to be childlike, not to take the place of reality, but to make it more tolerable.

Choosing Magic with Gratitude • 8" x 8" watercolor  

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