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…
After the intense art retreat in VT, I really needed some down time before heading home. We headed for a place we have stayed before in Machiasport, ME—all the way at the end of the peninsula—the road ends in the driveway—high enough to see over the trees to the ocean but with a magical path down to it’s own beach. We stopped in Machias at the Hannaford to buy groceries and made it in time for wine on the deck as the sun set. Let the unwinding begin!
View from the deck.
The next day was misty and over cast – perfect to laze about in, but we did take a short run back up the road to Jasper Beach.
I always think the ocean gives you gifts, you just have to look and this day was no exception. Bits of seaweed, sticks and feathers, lichen and of course those Jasper Beach stones!
Jasper Beach closeup and my new treasures.
Back at the house I used the small bit of wood as a tiny loom and wove a tiny tapestry to commemorate our visit.
Jasper Beach Tapestry.
The next few days were sunny and we headed to Campobello in Canada (Important rule – always travel with your passport!) and to Maine’s Quoddy State Park for days of hiking, photographing, and just being! That’s another post…
Spent the afternoon a few weeks ago in the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Didn’t have a lot of time but we walked around, some photography and I collected leaves of Sweetgum Trees. I love their long pointy shapes and when I got home I made this little book of leaf prints.
I haven’t made the cover yet but I’m thinking of a series of leaf books from travels this summer. We’ll see…
In the mean time I did make a sketch book from watercolor paper… and did start working in it. Small sketch of hostas in our back garden.
A simple cardboard cover, closed with a rubber band, with accordion pages of Archers Watercolor paper. My plan is for the simple cover to contrast with a plethora of sketches inside. This is a start.
Off to Virginia to stay with Fletcher and Cooper while their parents were away and I took my Hokett Loom, yarns and design materials. I knew the boys would have their noses in the World Cup and I would have time to indulge in weaving.
I pack my weaving supplies in translucent bags that all fit into a larger bag. One for my Hokett with the tray I use it on, one for a selection of yarns and one for little bits of equipment. My design supplies go in a small shoulder bag with watercolors, sketchbooks etc. With these two bags I could set up a little studio space and was set!
Got out my sketchbook and watercolors and came up with my design. I’ve been sketching trees and leaves lately so decided on stylized leaves. Next to warp my little loom and prepare my weft yarns. I did bring the little spinner thing that I got from Rebecca Mezoff to un ply my Harrisville yarns. BUT… my design called for black and I forgot that while I needed to un ply the blue and green yarn, I needed to double the black and didn’t bring enough… You can see where I ran out of black yarn in the image above!!! Always something!!!!
I did have more black at home and was able to finish!!! So all is well with one part of my world, at least…
Never posted about our trip to VT this Sept. We had put off figuring out what we wanted to do for our anniversary. Finally it was a few days before and we decided we should do something and we didn’t want to go south as there were terrible storms etc and reports said they could effect the north eastern coast so we figured we’d go to northern VT. Bread and Puppets were having a last of the season performance and that could be fun. We headed to VT and it turned out they had a heat wave—in the 90’s—but we stayed in Rochester VT and saw Peter Brooke’s exhibit at Big Town Gallery and one evening headed south to see Susan Abbott’s exhibit at Gallery North Star which were both great! BUT…Bread and Puppets on a 90 degree day… Once the sun goes down things cool off quickly and the evenings were lovely but that heat and a hot mountain sun… nope!
I did these sketches early in the morning before Bob woke up from the window in our room—well not the berries—they were done on a little hike we took. I think they might turn into a print design…
This morning was very foggy and this sketch was done as the fog was burning off.
So, we left Sunday and headed home and since we had planned on taking off Monday—we did—we went down the shore—to Cape May Point and the weather was perfect and we had a most wonderful end of summer day!!!
Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and as much as I love fall, I miss summer!