Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Maine morning

We were up before dawn today. That's kind of unusual for me..being the night owl, but we had two grand children to get off to school 10 miles away. After that pleasant task( Sydney and Tyler were so cute) the day belonged to us, so we headed to the town of Old Orchard Beach on a small errand.
The early morning light gave the passing scenery a soft diffused quality as we traveled south through Portland, South Portland then crossed the flats of Scarborough Marsh and on to our final destination. The air was still and the marsh waters looked almost like glass reflecting the pale blue streaked sky. The village is devoid of vacationers now, and more like a ghost town compared to the bumper to bumper traffic that clogs the main streets all summer. Old Orchard's five mile long beach is a big draw then but the shops and motels are shut up for the winter and the pier is vacant. We noticed some locals beginning to stir and start their morning rituals of jogging, dog walking and heading off to work. Their warm breath formed white clouds in the cold crisp air as they scraped ice off windshields and exercised. Life goes on day and night no matter where you live but for next several months the pace here could be called a hibernation of sorts. We enjoyed our quiet drive through the sleepy little town.
I've included a shot of the marsh, another of the Presumpscot River taken from the highway, and the final shot is a local farm road not far from our home. The sights are diverse, very inspiring to a painter like me, and for those who don't paint too. It's all a typical morning in Maine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Not too long ago we drove to the coastal village of Pemaquid. We were struck by the dramatic skies as the sun started to go down in late afternoon. I was so intrigued by the shadows cast across the homes, and landscape that we stopped many times to take photos. Where would we be without our digital cameras to capture such fleeting moments!
Some may find these areas to be melancholy when everyone leaves for the winter but not us...it's even more beautiful here in the fall. The region is rich with oranges, reds and greens. Put those hues together with old New England homes clad in white or pale yellow and the colors just sing, especially against skies with shades of blue and gray.
Very often when I take a bunch of photos the paintings I make from them don't come right away. The images have to sink in and rattle around a little before I jump in, but I was so inspired by the scenery of this lovely day trip that this one couldn't wait.
Luckily I had a bunch of canvases ready to go with a toned underpainting of terra cotta. The sky here has more yellow in it than the actual painting...
This is 28 x 32 mixed media of acrylic and casein. The blues, oranges and greens in casein are very earthy and have more depth than acrylic and they mix together quite well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The book or the movie

I think artists have to figure out for themselves what mediums work best for them, or whether to work in 2D or 3D, what surfaces to use, how to set up a studio, or when and how long to work, and so on. Education, life experiences, desire, and time are some of the things that influence these choices as well.
I really enjoy working at night when it's quiet and so I flip on the radio and let the world music programs on NPR take me away and into the painting zone. Memories of the day fade into silence and my inner voice returns as I go through the same ritual. I put on my apron, squeeze out the luxurious pigments, pick up my brush and begin to paint. It's hard to explain the satisfaction that comes during the time spent in my studio, but let's just say that it gives me a peace that may be similar to meditation.
Someone asked me the other day what I was working on now. I hesitated for a moment, then explained that I had discovered if I talked about a work in progress it takes all the energy and excitement away from the painting but I didn't know why. She hit the nail on the head when she said, " It must be like reading the book before you see the movie."
I won't break my silence now either..

Monday, November 8, 2010

Autumn Sun-Sebago Farm

The more I paint the more I realize how much my experiences and environment influence my work. This is the best way to describe the subjects that end up in my paintings.
While on a short day trip with my husband, who is a real estate broker and was headed to an appraisal, we passed this grand old farm in the town of Sebago.
It was a fine Autumn day and the brilliant overhead sun cast strong shadows everywhere.
The connected buildings are typical in Maine and were designed to make farm work easier during our long, cold winters. Farmers could move from living space to the barns to care for their stock without exposure to the harsh elements. I love the way the buildings hunker into the ground and settle as time passes.
The lack of detail caused by this kind of sunlight intrigued me so we stopped to take photos for future painting reference.
The maple tree had lost most of it's leaves but those remaining were so bright that they provided reflected light near the house. I find it sad to see beautiful farms like this one not working anymore but the ingenuity of it's design remains as a testiment to the people who lived and worked it years ago..
Acrylic and casein. 12 x 14

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Old Shoe

Arctic air has slipped into Maine and that means we have to face the fact that winter is just around the corner. It's not such a bad thing especially for a painter like me who loves to work in a nice warm studio as I did tonight .
Anyway..now that it's getting colder and all the "people from away" have hightailed it back to the city we Mainers have a chance to enjoy the scenery again..without getting stuck in lines of traffic, and fighting crowds everywhere. The light now is very intriguing too and casts a rosy glow with long shadows in the afternoon. Compound that atmospheric phenomenon with deserted summer homes and cottages and I find great subjects to paint.
This neat little place is on a favorite lake of ours and caught my eye while Steve and I were headed to one of his real estate jobs. I love the roof shape, the tidiness of it and the trees. Even the propane tanks provided inspiration with dappled sunlight hitting them just so. There was an old sneaker laying in the sand in front of the cottage..but I chose not to paint it. The deep snow will cover and protect it and it'll probably be there next summer when the owners come back, just like the old cottage.

This is acrylic 12 x 15