Above is the view from the Pilgrim's Inn where we stayed last week in the tiny village of Deer Isle, Maine. The Inn itself is beautiful but can't hold a candle to its setting on Mill Pond. I arose before dawn one morning and was set up with my easel as the first rays of the sun hit the far shore. Except for the fishermen, no one else is ever around at a time like this. So often the angle of the earliest light combines with the previous night's mist to create something that looks as if it was as if out of a dream. We'll be going back to Deer Isle I am sure for more painting.
When I first arrived and unpacked I realized to my horror I'd left my box of vine charcoal back in my studio in Baltimore. Fortunately we were able to grab a computer and locate an art supply store in Ellsworth, a good hour away. This did nothing to improve my mood, but we blasted off to reach the place just minutes before closing. The good news though is I tried a different brand and and softer grade of vine charcoal than I'd been using and find I like it even better. It is amazingly powdery and rich, and spreads like soft butter. Accidentally forgetting my usual materials proved to be a good thing in the end. It's funny as there is no drawing material more basic than charcoal yet even after using it for 40 years I find I'm still learning how to best use it.
Driving back from Ellsworth both my wife and looked up and saw a very large cat crossing the road. Now I know no one is going to take us seriously, but after comparing images of bobcats, lynx (is that the plural ?), coyotes, and mountain lions, both Alice and I think we saw a moutain lion. I know their existence in Maine is hotly debated. And I also know that my imagination wants it to have been a mountain lion- that has so much more drama and romance. So there's no question it was a mountain lion, ok?
Below is my wife Alice standing in Isalos Fine Art in Stonington, ME, located at the southernmost tip of Deer Isle. Just to Alice's right is my oil painting Rocky Shore,painted up the road a bit in Acadia National Park.
And here below is Michael Daugherty, the owner of Isalos Fine Art posing in the gallery with five of my paintings. Just to the left of Michael's shoulder is an oil I painted in June of last year titled Deer Isle. It's from a cove not far from the gallery.
The gallery is lovely and carries some very strong artists. If anyone is in mid-coast Maine, I'd highly recommend a visit.
After Deer Isle last week we pressed on north to Acadia National Park. I've painted there many times since our honeymoon there in 1982. It has most dramatic coastline anywhere in the Eastern US, with the Appalachian Mountains finally reaching the Atlantic. I can't go there without falling into an earthly reverie. One can imagine with little effort one is seeing the earth as it was very long ago, or as it may be far into the unknown future. Of all the locations I've traveled to work plein air over the last decade, Acadia has been by far the biggest influence.
There is an other worldly magic to it- if a dinosaur walked out from behind one of its moutains I wouldn't be completely surprised.