Cozy Harbor Inlet 11”X14”, oil on linen panel, 2014
What's on your bucket list? Mine keeps changing, and the current situation makes me want to revise it again. Some of the items I've done, so they're off the list. Some are ongoing, like learn to speak French. I've been working on that one for 4 years. Then there's learn to play the cello. That's been on my list for over 30 years. Maybe it's time to ditch it.
Bright Sail, Cozy Harbor 16”X20”, oil on linen panel, 2015
Another thing on my list has been spending the summer in Maine. Last year was the first time we did, and it was wonderful. This year, I'm not so sure. I hope it happens. Being in Maine for the summer, and out on the water a lot of the time, is a dream come true, a real bucket list success.
My Dream of Maine 20”X24”, oil on canvas, 2016
Then there's learning to paint. I wanted to do that since high school. I took evening classes in drawing early in my work career. I spent some time with water colors, which is how many people start because it seems less messy than the other options. What they don't tell you is that water color is the most difficult painting medium to learn. Then an artist neighbor suggested oil paints, as more forgiving (which is true). That was 20 years ago. I would have missed so much if I never tried it.
What's on your bucket list?
If learning to paint is on that list, I have an opportunity for you. Take a look at the beginning painting workshop I'm teaching in June. You can take it from your own home.
Dinghies at the Dock (Tenants Harbor) 12"x12" oil on canvas - available here
Maine has so many beautiful harbors. It doesn't matter whether you arrive by car or by boat, there is always something to see. There are several Maine towns that I first visited by boat, which is kind of cool. Tenants Harbor and Stonington come to mind. There are three dimensions to the beauty of these harbors; nature, buildings, and boats. All of these appeal to me, and the combinations can be quite stunning!
One of my favorites is Tenants Harbor on the southwestern shore of Penobscot Bay. It’s a quiet small town with a big wide harbor. As you come into the harbor you pass Southern Island, owned by the Wyeth family, where many of Jamie Wyeth’s paintings were created. There’s a big lobstering business in Tenants, and it's long been the home of a classic lobster shack with excellent lobster rolls. For many years it was Cod End but it's now owned by Luke’s Lobster who have maintained the original feel and good food. You can take a walk through the town with its classic Maine houses, but the harbor is the gem; lobster boats, many pleasure boats, little sailboats coming and going. It’s a delightful place to be in the summer.
View From Round Pond 8"x10" oil on canvas - available here
Round Pond is another Maine harbor town that I love, on the western side of Muscongus Bay. It’s a pretty little town with an excellent restaurant. They let us paint in their yard looking out over the harbor. There's also a lovely church, and of course, lobster boats, and sailboats.
Merchant's Row (from Stonington) 8"x8" oil on canvas board - available here
Another harbor town that I love is Stonington, on Deer Isle on the eastern side of Penobscot Bay. South of Stonington is one of the most beautiful pieces of water in the state of Maine, an area of beautiful unpopulated islands, called Merchant’s Row. The scenery is stunning. Stonington is a bigger town than Tenants Harbor and Round Pond, with a number of restaurants and shops, an opera house, and the ferry to Isle a Haut. It's a beautiful place, with lovely architecture, and scenery that has been painted by many people.
Paintings in this post are available in the Downeast Collection, here.
Lucky Lady III 10"x10" oil on canvas panel
I've rarely painted from the same photo three times, but there was this Lucky Lady...
I first saw F/V (fishing vessel) Lucky Lady off Boothbay Harbor in 2009. What a great lobster boat! She was red, that always gets my attention. The stern man had on Grundens, yay! Another pop of color. And the weather was fine, bright blue water and sky, with a nice reflection. It was perfect. I snapped a photo as we passed by in our boat, and later painted her.
Press play to see the three versions of the Lucky Lady
Versions I and II are 6"x6", version III is 10"x10"
That first painting of the Lady sold quickly to one of my favorite collectors. And then about a year later, I got an email from a very nice woman inquiring about the sketch I'd posted before doing the painting. Her friend was buying the boat and she would've loved to buy the painting, but she saw online that it was sold. I offered to paint the Lucky Lady a second time for her friend and we did the deal. She gave it to him for his birthday and he loved it! I was so pleased.
Two of my other favorite Casco Bay lobster boats
The Sternman 16x20 and Blue Boat 6x8
Well, life went on, and then one day a couple of years later, I turned off Route 1 onto the road to South Freeport, and after a few minutes, what did I see in front of me on a Brownell trailer (that's the kind that carry big boats)? Yes! It was the Lucky Lady. I was thrilled. I followed the trailer to the boatyard, and was lucky enough to meet the owner who'd been given my painting. And I saw the nice renovation that he'd had done to turn the Lady into a cruiser. I was very pleased to see the boat was still red and still called the Lucky Lady. And to celebrate, I painted her again. My son always loved the Lucky Lady paintings, so Lucky Lady III now hangs in his kitchen.
Board Girls, Stripes, and Tubular all 12"x12" oil on canvas
It may seem frivolous to be thinking about the beach while we're in a pandemic, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one thinking about it. Since I can't go there myself, I've been looking through the beach paintings I've done over the years and dreaming of sun and sand. And lots of people to draw...
Sittin In the Sun, 4"x5" gouache on paper and sketch
The way I got into painting people on the beach was through drawing. When I’m at the beach I’m often sketching. It’s challenging to try and sketch people as they're sunning themselves. They look like they’re on their towels or in their chairs for the duration, and then poof, they move or get up. So I try and do my drawings in just a minute or two.
What Is It? and Shell Seekers 6"x6" oil on canvas/board
Other times I walk down the beach with my camera or phone clicking away, panning so that no one thinks they are being singled out. And they’re not, since in my drawings and paintings hopefully they are recognizable as people, but not as themselves!
On the Beach and Beach at Trouville, 6"x8" oil on canvas/board
Whatever we get at the beach, whether it's a lazy relaxing day, a vigorous swim in the surf, or only a sunburn, it's always worth it go. And that shower to rid ourselves of the sunscreen feels sooo good when we get home.
FYI, the Downeast Collection is now available here.