The Floating World

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Memorial Day is the official start of summer in Downeast Maine, though that doesn’t mean it’s warm. It was so cold on Friday the Stonington Farmers Market opened with only seven shivering vendors, including me with a fresh batch of frozen seafood pies.

Kim Kral and Bob Gillmor pitch a tent at the Stonington Farmers Market on Saturday.

Wind is the real enemy of the farmers market. Richard Lymburner, who sells plants early and garlic late, lost his tent in a cold blast. Sunset Acres (meat, cheese and greens) didn’t bother to put up a tent, nor did I; I shared with Bob Gillmor, aka Spoon Bob for the wooden spoons he makes. Even with rocks weighting down his tent we had to hang on to it when the wind gusted.

Still, the summer people came and bought a few things. You can tell they’re here because some of them walk down the middle of the street, gazing rapturously at the beauty of coastal Maine. That ticks off the sternmen, who drive even more aggressively than usual on the roads.

Sternmen are young men who make a lot of money working on fishing boats. They’re paid with a portion of the haul. Stonington is the biggest lobster port in Maine; last year, $65.3 million worth of lobster was yanked out of the sea. That’s $343,000 per boat.

The sternmen drive their skiffs the way they drive on the roads. I love to watch them zip across the harbor, leaving a long white wake. One cloudless blue day I noticed one orange skiff breezing into Fish Pier. Since I’m a sucker for blue and orange, I took some pictures and then made a painting.

Driving Home

I called it Driving Home and posted it on Facebook. That prompted a response from my sister who lives in San Francisco:

I’m wanting more orange in the back. Love the reflection of the boat and the wake.

So I replied:

Thanks PK. You raise an interesting point about the orange. I was thinking of a burst of orange against the blue but I could have put some orange elsewhere, perhaps as dots or mixed with blue to make shadows. If I’d put orange in the back it would have brought the background forward and flattened the picture, though I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. The Japanese, you know.

That inspired another suggestion:

What if you put a bit more brown on the roof to ground the background a bit. I don’t know about art, so I’m not sure f it would flatten out the picture. But I do feel that the top left is floating away a bit. I like the pier too!!

So I went to the Deer Isle Artists Association, where the painting hangs next to one by my friend Carolyn Walton. I decided the roof was floating away. But I also decided it didn’t matter.

 

Eight of my paintings are now hanging at the DIAA gallery on Main Street in Deer Isle Village. They’ll be there until June 8 as part of the Make A Detour show. My notecards and postcards are there too. Stop by this Thursday morning (June 1) or Saturday afternoon (June 3) and say hi. I’ll be there peddling art.

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