Just came back from a wonderful week long painting retreat with Michael Chesley Johnson in Maine—way Downeast in Lubec Maine and in Campobello Island in Canada. I took a workshop with Michael years ago. It was good to see him again!
Michael Chesley Johnson demo and Quoddy Head State Park
Finally unpacked, wash is done, house reclaimed and grass is cut. Now to think about all that happened. On the way north we spent two days on Monhegan Island with Holly and Stig—one takes the ferry—no cars—lots of hiking—lots and lots of hiking—beautiful forest and coast line—good food and beautiful music by a woman composer (whose name I’m sorry I didn’t get). She practices on the piano in the little church next to our hotel.
Monhegan Island—view from hike and a new friend
Then Sunday, back to rt 1 and north. We stayed at West Quoddy Station in a little cabin called “the Camp”. West Quoddy Station is a repurposed life guard station that is now lodging in one of the most beautiful locations in Maine. About a mile from there is the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and Quoddy Head State Park which pride them selves as being the most eastern point in the US—the sun does rise early! We met Sunday evening with Michael and the other artists for orientation. Our plan was for me to paint as part of the retreat and Bob would go off and photograph—both happy!
Light house and our home away from home!
Michael mainly is a plain air painter as were most of the others but as this was a “retreat” as opposed to a workshop or class we were free to pursue our own directions. People worked in oils, watercolors or pastels. They came from all over the US and Canada. Days began with a sharing/critique of the previous days work and then we all headed to a specified location to paint. Some days Michael demoed and others he painted with us. Quoddy Head State Park, the fishing village of Lubec and Campobello Island all offered a wealth of locations—the weather was perfect—perhaps too perfect—post card days. Afternoons were free to continue painting, visit other locations, hike or just veg and soak up everything. Many peopled worked as long as there was light! On the third day I just sketched and photographed and took it all in.
Something around every turn!
I realize that I’m not a plein air painter but rather a painter who enjoys plein air painting as a resource for studio work. It was hot in the sun and working with warm oils was a relatively new experience—didn’t master that this week but I learned a lot. But I did bring back lots to work on and think about during cold winter days in PA.
Two of my quick plein air paintings.
After a day of regrouping and lazing about (I did do my little tapestry as well as some nature prints to record our time – can’t slow down in one day… after that we headed out early to Canada and Campobello Island—nice lunch and then walks on the beach, photographing rocks and seaweed.
The next day we headed to Maine’s Quoddy State Park. We’ve done the light House and really wanted to hike in the forest along the coast again. Much is high above the water, some closer and some through the forest it’s self.
Quoddy State Park.
Was glad to have our hiking siticks as there was lots of elevation changes as well as some muddy spots. But every where you looked there was something to enjoy and want to bring home to work with on long winter evenings…
Quoddy State Park.
All good things end and the next day found us 12 hours on the road heading south… not the plan but how it ended up – by the time you hit NJ you want your own bed…
One of the great things about having a cell phone is that a camera is always with me. Perhaps not as versatile as my regular camera with it’s interchangeable lenses but the important thing is that it’s there. Whenever I’m walking or wandering about and see amazing pattern or colors I can take them home with me and they end up in my work. Lots of times we might be on a road trip or other planned event and I take my camera and sometimes images happen and sometimes they don’t but my cell is always with me capturing serendipitous unplanned moments of wonder. Here are a few from this summer. Some from Colorado, some from New England, some from walks in the Wissahickon here at home in Philadelphia.
[Click image for larger view.]
The textures and colors can keep me busy sketching and drawing for days, weeks, and much longer as my head swims with ideas for paint and fiber translations.
Every year between Christmas and New Years I like to taste the ocean – sort of touching the rest of the world and reminding my self that there’s more to life than the day to day! Not that I mind my day to day—I love my work and I enjoy teaching but by the end of the year I need recharging and there’s nothing like an empty beach – or nearly empty beach with endless waves to do that.
The light keep changing – sparkling off the waves. Almost every image I took had a different feeling.
At first it looked like the beach had very little on it but there are always treasures if you keep looking—this single leaf, a broken shell here, another there. My gift for the day was Orange, orange stones, orange shell bits, stripes and patterns of all sorts! These will show up in studies of stripes, of curves in my little tapestries, perhaps even paintings…they fill my dreams!
More textures and patterns.
It was a beautiful day—not too cold for late Dec. Sun in and out—always changing— clean, crisp fresh air—this will keep me working for a while!
And we like to end this yearly tradition with a crock of chili and a beer at Charlie’s in Somers Point, NJ. Oh, and the ocean tasted salty!
Came back from Maine with lots of rock images which I thought would make good iPhone cases and the like. So… I opened a site at Society6 to showcase the work. Here are a few of the cases. I like the contrast of the rocks and technology.
These were all studies of rocks
These designs and others also come in framed prints and lap-top cases and skins.
They are available with other images at my shop on Society6.
Another Working Vacation. This time a long weekend to Vermont to work on our portfolios.
We stayed at the Maple Leaf Inn in Barnard, VT—a wonderful Inn run by Nancy and Mike Boyle about 10 miles or so from Woodstock, located at the end of a long drive into the woods. Very comfy, great breakfasts, Beckett the guard dog, and terrific hosts made busy days fly by.
Maple Leaf Inn
Very quiet and surrounded by flowers it was perfect for our plans to head in different directions each day.
The clematis was outside the breakfast room window. So pretty
Sunday we headed west and hiked up to photograph.
Looking past my shoes to the mountains from the top of our hike.
And Monday we headed north and hiked down.
Texas Falls in Hancock, VT
(This beautiful area was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene but is now open to hikers once more.)
Lots of good images, lots of sore muscles (the inn’s whirlpool bath was great), and lots to work on now that we are home.