Monday, September 30, 2013

West Pownal Lily Pond

Sabrina and Steph hung a cool show at their most awesome cafe, Edna and Lucy's, this past weekend. A bunch of us artists were asked to do a locally inspired painting - frame size 14" x 14."

I don't travel much up in that area unless I'm gong to Edna and Lucy's for one of their homemade donuts or luscious lunches.  I decided not to consult a map, and after stopping for a sandwich and chocolate chip cookie (that I enhaled while waiting for my sandwich), I headed for parts unknown. I have no idea where I was, which later occurred to me was really stupid because though I had my cell phone with me and a AAA card, I would have absolutely no idea where to tell AAA to go to find me if I got stuck out there somewhere.

Anyway, it was a beautiful summer day and ended up being one hell of a great time. I drove all over the place for hours, lost, snapping photos here and there, and hanging out watching things happen.

I saw some ducks come out of a horse barn and head out to pasture with their "mother" horse in the lead, and a old farmer cutting wood in a far pasture with two horses looking over his shoulder like a couple of fellow codgers telling him how they would do it differently.

I saw a failing barn with a sign over the door that read "Raccoon Paradise," and another decrepit outbuilding with a sign that said something like "The Henhouse Hilton."

I spotted this beautiful pond sitting right next to a pretty boring strip of paved road somewhere in western Pownal.  I couldn't tell you where it was - I only stopped because I was looking for something to paint. On another mission I would have missed it entirely. The property around it was private so I couldn't figure out what that white rock at the far end was all about, or if in fact it was a white rock.

So thank you Sabrina and Steph for your great idea. I probably never would have taken the time off to get lost out there in your neck of the woods if it wasn't for this "assignment."  I'll remember that day for a very long time.

West Pownal Lily Pond • 9" x 9" framed to 14" x 14" • $300

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Harbor Memory

Three years ago I spent a week on Monhegan Island.  It was supposed to be three days and nights but I was feeling too at home to leave.  I did a bunch of sketches and had a really good time with my friend Ellen and the kindred nut cases we met.

Our ferry departed from New Harbor -  a pretty little place that is still a working harbor.  I didn't include the name of the boat in this piece.  The captain would be appalled at the lines of his beloved vessel, not to mention the color of his very conservatively painted shacks.  I will do a more honest version at some point.  This one is simply a fun summer memory.  I remember being stoked just to be taking a week off to do nothing but paint.

As it turned out, and it will be no surprise to those who know me, it was like a summer camp for this girl. I did paint religiously for a periods throughout the day, but I also hiked, hung out at the cafe on the main drag with the locals, had way too much fun at the communal breakfasts and dinners, walked barefoot through the woods, built a fairy house, visited studios of island artists and howled at the moon.

New Harbor Memory • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Summer View of Sugarloaf

A week ago on Sunday Tom declared we were going to recreate. It had been a tough summer - all work, no play.  The plan was to bike as far as we could up the trail to the Maine Huts and Trails Stratton Brook Hut , then hike the rest of the way.

The wind was howling and it was very cool out there, so we wore fleece jackets and long pants. I don't really hike much these days.  If I do it's usually that window in the fall after the bugs croak and before the leaves drop.

We biked from the trailhead on Route 27 near the entrance to Sugarloaf, down the Narrow Gauge trail and then off on to the Huts & Trails system until we met a 90 degree in-your-face wall.  There was a part of us that didn't want to give up halfway up, but another part that said okay maybe we need to acknowledge our level of physical fitness here.  We hid our bikes and hiked a short but pretty rigorous final ascent to the hut.  I'd been up to the hut before it was finished, but had taken the service road which was long but easy (except for the last pitch to the top where the hut was situated which is a bear).

After a brief stop to check out the inside of the finished version of the main hut and bunk rooms (the huts in the MH&T system are all basically the same design), we hiked along the ridge looking for a view of Sugarloaf.  My limbs tangled with a few of Mother Nature's to get this shot, but was glad I did because the mountain looked stunning.  The blues and greens of summer in the mountains here the valley are like no others anywhere.

A Summer View of Sugarloaf • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gearing Up and Gifford's

One gray day in Maine I decided to go out and get lost in my car.  I eventually landed in South Freeport at the public landing on the Harraseeket River.  I had never been there and discovered a restaurant, a lot of boats out in the anchorage, a marina and a yacht club.

It was low tide.  Miss Jody's captain was loading traps alongside the landing.  The radio from his truck was blasting country in the background as he barked loudly, lowering one trap after another to the kid below on the boat.  I went down onto the float to get a better view and watched for a while.  It was fun just hanging out there - kind of like watching a reality show in reality.  I know fishing can be hell, but there is a certain romance about it.  Maybe it's the danger - going up against the  elements like fishermen do that fascinates me.  How many of us challenge mother nature in our lives anymore or ever?

I also love the gear they use.  The boots, the boats, the buoys, the ropes and the traps.  As a designer, the traps really knock me out. They are incredibly cool, which led me to wonder who designed them? I know how a trap works, but also figured there were some folks out there who didn't,  so I went on a search and find and found some fun stuff for you all to read - see the links below.

I snapped a few pics of the guys working and went back up the gangway when I noticed a Gifford's Ice Cream sign hanging over one of the takeout windows on the right side of the entrance to the restaurant.  I'm not supposed to eat ice cream, but occasionally do, so I strolled over to see what they had for flavors.  My favorite, Moose Tracks, was missing.  The girl at the takeout window must have noticed I was struggling - good for her - and told me I could order half and half.  It felt like Christmas in August.  I had a small chocolate chip cookie dough/chocolate cone. It was terrific.

Gearing Up and Gifford's • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200
1. Here's a cool web site about lobsters I found:

2. For those of you who don't know how a lobster trap works, here you go, right from New Gloucester:

3. The inventor of the wire (and way lighter) lobster trap:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Roadside Garden

Ever been riding along in your car on a road you've traveled a billion times, but then one day spot a scene you swear you've never seen before? This happened to me in New Portland on my way to Skowhegan one day. I just happened to glance over to the right at the right time, otherwise I might have missed it again.

I did this sketch to remind me of that beautiful garden and lovely red house sitting right there on the side of the road in plain sight. Someday I'll do it justice. For now, I just need to acknowledge that I finally saw it.

Roadside Garden • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200