This summer I ventured beyond Deer Isle — not that far, but still I ventured. And then I finished up the year with a snowscape of Stonington that I’ve been wanting to do since, oh, last winter.
The Stonington Library
You can’t quite see the Stonington Public Library in the painting — it’s behind the building to the right. But now about a dozen of my paintings are hanging on the library walls. I’d like to put up a few more, but I’ve got to find frames for them first.
The Stonington Library recently underwent a major renovation, and now it’s even more of a jewel. There’s a new reading nook, a handicapped-accessible public bathroom (a very big deal in an island tourist community) and a new energy efficient furnace. Sadly, the fabulous Vicki Zelnick, who has done wonders with the library, will retire soon. I’ll miss her.
I’ve already posted my first painting of Brooklin here, called Naskeag Point. And my second, come to think of it — Wooden Boat — here.
Recently I finished another one, a watercolor called Wooden Boat School Buoys for fairly obvious reasons.
I know the whole buoys-hanging-from-a-tree thing is a cliche, but these had so much energy I had to paint them. Besides, as an art history teacher once said, There’s a good reason cliches become cliches.
Here’s a watercolor of Monhegan Island from the stern of the Laura B (or was it the Elizabeth Ann?) Anyhoo, I’d been immersing myself in Andrew Wyeth’s paintings, both at the Farnsworth Museum and at the Wyeth gallery on the second floor of the Port Clyde General Store. One Wyeth painting, an overhead view of a rushing stream called The Carry, really wowed me. Later, as I sat looking out at the wake of the boat I got inspired to paint this.
Then I did a couple of small oils, again inspired by a day trip to Monhegan on a sunny fall day.
I didn’t expect to be in the Deer Isle Artists Association latest exhibit, Engagement of Poetry, but someone dropped out. So when asked if I’d participate, of course I said yes.
Since I’ve had such a busy summer, I only had time to submit three watercolors. I ended up with three very different ones.
Engagement of Poetry
The first, Brooksville Morning, came about because I go to the Brooksville Farmers Market every Tuesday to sell prints, cards and original artwork. I drive past this farm to get there, and I love how it looks in the fog. (There’s been a lot of fog this summer.)
We had to come up with statements about what inspired our work for the Exhibit of Poetry show. Here’s what I wrote for Brooksville Morning:
Fog reveals the loveliness of the earth on a summer morning.
The second painting, Dories, came about because I love these old boats. They’re tied up on a rocky little beach in Stonington.
Back in the day, farmers built dories like this in summer and used them to fish for lobster in the summer. Today, their owner uses them to seine for bait.
Here’s what I wrote for Engagement of Poetry:
The wisdom of old boats, the enchantment of the sea.
That ‘enchantment’ business may sound sappy, but it’s true. Stonington has for a long time had some of the best sailors and fishermen in the world, and it isn’t because they hate the sea.
Finally, here’s an image that started out as a sketch for another painting. I made it up; it has part Stonington, part Cape Rosier in Brooksville and part Eggemoggin Reach in Deer Isle.
Above the limpid sea, clouds are never still.
So come on down to the DIAA at 15 Main St. in Deer Isle. The artists’ reception is Sunday, Aug. 19, from 3-5 pm. We’ll also be at DIS Friday on Friday, Aug. 17, with cookies, lemonade and used art books for sale (in addition to the art).
Be there at the starting gate if you have your eye on a particular work of art.
The 12 by 12 (By 12) features paintings, prints and collages (also known as wall art) no bigger than 12″ by 12.” It also includes 3-dimensional art, such as ceramics, baskets, fiber art and sculpture, also no bigger than — you guessed it — 12″ by 12″ by 12″.
Every work of art sells at an extremely reasonable price of $144 ($12 X $12). The gallery hangs new work as pieces sell. The show lasts two weeks, as all DIAA summer exhibits do, until August 12.
The exhibit is important to the DIAA because it raises money for operating costs.
If you’d like to meet the artists, the reception will be held on Sunday, Aug. 5, from 3 pm to 5 pm. Wine and lemonade will be served, and there will be plenty of food as well.
I’ve shown my work in the past two 12 by 12 (By 12) exhibits. This year I’m donating three watercolors to the show.
They are: Farmers Market,
Farmers Market, Watercolor, 12″ by 12″Caterpillar Hill and
and, finally, Cape Rosier.
These are all Maine scenes. Farmers Market, as its name implies, pictures a scene from the Stonington Farmers Market,
Caterpillar Hill is the view from a stunning lookout on Route 15 on the way to Deer Isle (or the way back). It overlooks Penobscot Bay, the island and the Penobscot River. If you happen to drive by, check out the informational markers. I believe they explain the disastrous Penobscot Expedition during the American Revolution. It didn’t go well for Paul Revere.
Cape Rosier is a part of Brooksville, also part of the Blue Hill peninsula. I’ve just recently discovered this beautiful part of the world and plan to paint much more of it!
The Shape of Waters exhibit has already started at the Deer Isle Artists Association in Deer Isle Village. I have five paintings in the show, all of which depict some kind of work.
When I left journalism to work for a labor union, I thought I should decorate my office with an image of an American worker. So I went to the National Gallery of Art, thinking the gift shop would have a poster, print or even a notecard depicting someone at work.
but I would have settled for a print of an Ashcan School painting — McSorley’s Bar, for example.
By the time I’d spent an hour looking through the merchandise, I would have been happy to find a notecard with Millet’s The Gleaners on it.
I couldn’t find one single reproduction of a painting, print or sculpture that showed an American working. I’d soon learn how invisible the working class is in the United States, but that’s a whole other story.
Since moving to Deer Isle I’ve started to paint people at work. Usually I’ll spot them in a certain light or against a certain backdrop and I’ll ask them if I can take their picture. I take a bunch, then sometimes I go back and study the setting a little more. That’s what I did when I spotted Danielle washing windows at Inn on the Harbor.
The painting now hangs against the yellow wall in the Inn on the Harbor lobby.
Since then I’ve done more, including Kim at 44 North. That painting — 44 North — is now in the Shape of Waters show.
I also have a painting of Dan collecting beach glass at Scott’s Landing, which is work to him, in the Shape of Waters show. Others show a painter caulking a windowsill, a shipyard worker scraping a boat, and the Stonington town cat — yes, that would be Dundee) supervising the town.
So come by and see the Shape of Waters show. There’s a reception from 3-5 pm on Sunday, July 8, at the gallery, where you can meet all the artists.
Tonight at 4 pm starts the soft launch of the Leslie Squared show (OK, I admit, I haven’t figured out how to make the squared symbol on my laptop yet) at ART by KATY. The show features oil paintings by Leslie Anderson and me, Leslie Landrigan. Both of us are married to Dans and both of us paint landscapes, so voila!
Tonight (July 6) is DIS Friday in Stonington, and Katy Allgeyer is holding a reception for Leslie Squared at her ART by KATY gallery at 22 Weed Field Rd.
Here’s Katy two days before the Friday party:
Katy has done a great job promoting the Leslie Squared Show at ART by KATY. We’re in the Bangor Daily News,the Ellsworth American and the Island Advantages.
My Dan and his family, visiting Deer Isle at the time, dropped by the Art By Katy gallery on Wednesday for a peek at the paintings, a glass of wine and some very smart edibles. I believe they were duly impressed by the rustic charm of the gallery.
Katy is relaunching the gallery after a hiatus of several years. She’s worked really hard to make it a very appealing space, and I’m excited to be part of her reopening!
At the Gallery
Here’s a peek at one of my paintings in the show:
And here’s a peek at one of Leslie Anderson’s paintings:
The big ART by KATY opening pARTy will start the next night, Saturday, July 7, from 4-7 pm. There’ll be more wine, more smart edibles, fun and interesting people as well as oil paintings by someone named Leslie.
Leslie and I, by the way, both started out doing watercolors, and we’ve both branched out into oils. Which is what you’ll see at the show, which runs until July 26.
I’ll be selling new watercolor paintings, some oldies but goodies, prints, notecards and postcards at the Island Agency in Stonington on Friday, July 6. It’s DIS Friday (Deer Isle-Stonington for the uninitiated), which goes from 5-7 pm in downtown Stonington.
Wine and hors d’oeuvres are inseparable from art, so I’ll have those on hand, too!
Here’s one of my favorite new paintings I’ll bring along:
It’s a scene from just past the causeway across from Scott’s Landing.
I’ll also bring along a couple of watercolors with more somber palettes. This one, for example, also shows a scene from the causeway, but in November.
It reflected my mood at the time. I believe our furnace had just gone on the fritz.
Changing Seasons, Changing Palette
I’ve noticed, though, that my paintings get darker and more muted in the winter, and brighter and sunnier in the summer.
I painted Tennis in April, when it’s cold and raw and overcast every single day. Or at least it seems like that.
But then comes summer and my palette gets a lot brighter — especially when the lupines come out.
Tomorrow at the Island Agency I’ll be selling matted prints of Lupine Madness, Deer Isle Morning and other paintings of Deer Isle for $20. I’ll also have prints of some paintings of interiors — which usually means cats.
Inventory isn’t my strong suit (I’m an artist, after all), but I will have some notecards and postcards for sale as well.
So please stop by the Island Agency tomorrow and check out my artwork.
Boys on beaches having fun are irresistible subjects for me. Boys on beaches wearing red are even more so.
I love paintings that show a person’s mood or emotion in an identifiable setting. Boys on beaches are almost always having a blast, and their body language shows it. They’re as joyful as — well, Louis Armstrong playing Potato Head Blues.
But I digress.
Friends ask why I do representational art. The great Edward Hopper explains why:
The inner life of a human being is a vast and varied realm and does not concern itself alone with stimulating arrangements of color, form and design.
He also explains, sort of, why the color red on a Cape Cod beach is so vibrant:
…there’s a beautiful light there — very luminous–perhaps because it’s so far out to sea; an island almost.
The painting above is taken from an image of my nephew Scotty throwing a rock at Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable, Mass. He was 10 years old and visiting his grandparents in nearby Sandwich during Easter vacation. Scotty and his older brother and sister were getting restless, so Grandma and I took them to the beach. That’s the power plant and the Sagamore Bridge in the background.
It took me a year to get around to it, but I finally finished Scotty this week.
Day Twelve falls on Saturday, a short day. I have to be at the gym at 2 pm to help set up the pickleball tournament.
I go to Oscar’s house to pick him up. and we chat with Diana about having a party at the end of our artist residency. Saturday, Feb. 4 would be best. Diana has champagne, I have salmon. “There are plastic glasses at the gallery,” I say. “People who go to art receptions know to expect cheap wine in plastic glasses.” Oscar holds up a bottle of beer. We’ll have that, too.
At the DIAA gallery my drawing of a Bar Harbor streetscape awaits me. I’m going to finish it today. I’m going to paint quickly. And I’m not going to use cerulean. I depend on it too much.
I go with cobalt and burnt umber rather than my cerulean and cadmium for walls and pavement and shadows. The focal point of the image is a woman’s hair. I will use cadmium and Quinacridone gold for her hair. I will use Prussian blue for her blouse. When I finish, I’m not happy. My values need adjusting. I darken the background but not the walls around her. It’s time to go but I’m not done. Oh well. Oscar likes it a lot.
I go home and make Hoo Mee chow mein for lunch. I can blame my unhealthy meal when I’m easily eliminated from the pickleball game. And my flannel shirt, not exactly ideal athletic wear.
I play with Alex Shorey, a Deer Isle-Stonington High School senior and pickleball devotee. It was Alex who decided we’d wear plaid flannel shirts as our team uniform. We are done for as soon as our opponent Linda Campbell realizes my backhand is weak. I sit on the bench and chat with the spectators. Oscar is watching, trying to figure out the game.
Though Winterfest is sponsored by the Healthy Island Project, there is a huge table of brownies, cookies and Rice Krispy Treats at the gym entrance. I tell Oscar to go get some chocolate. Then I get some myself. “There must be a billion calories on this table,” I say.
The woman presiding over it laughs. “I’m doing the social part of well-being,” she says.
Day Eleven is quiet, a gray day with a dusting of snow on the ground. Annie Taylor Gray drops by to pick up a sign Dan made for her Chamber of Commerce table at Winterfest.
I toy with the horse painting, darkening here, lightening there. I realize the bay horse is missing half his neck, so I paint it in.
I read an email from a friend in Washington. Donald Trump is being inaugurated. There was a huge demonstration in the streets. Protesters smashed windows and riot police used pepper spray on them, the story goes. “Donald Trump is president,” I say to Oscar.
“Well, here goes.”
Katy Helman sees the lights are on in the gallery and comes in to see how Oscar survived his first encounter with pickleball last night. She exclaims over his painting, a mélange of color and maritime images. “Oscar, you’re going wild.” He says it was time to do something different.
Katy goes over to the wall of paintings and slips into Teacher Mode. She looks at my Cadillac Mountain paintings – all five of them.
“Explain to me which ones you did and why,” she says. I tell her the first one was too stiff, so I tried to paint one in 30 minutes, then I did another, and another. She points to a figure in one of them and cautions me against making it too cartoony.
I point to a painting I made up of a man walking a dog in Acadia National Park. “This one I think is trite. I think it’s the red and blue,” I say. “I’m thinking about changing his shirt to white.”
Katy says no, it’s right in the middle of the painting. “Maybe you could dull it with some orange.”
I point to the lighthouse painting. “I gotta get rid of this rock in the middle. Maybe make it smaller, lighten it.” Katy agrees.
She stands back. “You paint a lot with pink and green.”
“It’s because I love cerulean,” I say. “I mix it with the cadmiums a lot, red and yellow.”
Dan comes by. He just dropped two cases of clam pie off at Tradewinds in Blue Hill. They have a Made in Maine section. We love them.
“Look at all the nice paintings on the wall,” Dan says.
“They suck,” I say.
“No, they’re nice,” he says.
Oscar looks up. “You say they suck, then people say they’re good. That’s the deal. That’s what we do.”
I see Katy Helman coming out of the post office. I wave and open the door. She comes in. “I’m going to ask Linda if she can take photos with her drone for my Haystack students next weekend,” she says. “Cool idea,” I say.
She looks at my Pepto-Bismol painting without the Pepto and slips into Teacher Mode, which I always find entertaining. “Much improved,” she says.
“Who did this?” she says, pointing to Oscar’s painting of the Church of the Morning After. “Oscar, you should do white line woodcuts,” she says. “It would really lend itself to your work.”
We look up Kate Hanlon, Katy’s friend who does white line woodcuts. Hmmm. Good idea. Katy explains how it works. Maybe she’ll teach us.
She looks at my 30-minute mountain painting. “Why didn’t you use a square format?” she said. “If you cropped it and moved the figure in it would be much more dynamic.”
“It’s a pain to mat and frame square formats,” I say. Matting and framing are the bane of artists who work with paper. It’s why some people turn to oil on canvas. It’s probably why I’ll turn to oil on canvas. Katy says you can get square frames at Target. The nearest Target is an hour and a half away.
I run to the Galley to get a sandwich. Oscar brought his lunch so he’s going to stay put, though he loves the Galley. Along with the Burnt Cove Market and V&S Variety, it’s the biggest worker cooperative in the state of Maine.
When I return Oscar is explaining to Katy it’s nearly impossible for him to remember names since his stroke (though I’m flattered he remembers mine). To learn a new technique, he has to see it repeated and repeated and repeated. Katy says, “So you adjust.”
Oscar and I walk to 44 North to get our half cup of coffee. The lights are on in Bruce Bulger’s studio in the old high school, so we go in. Bruce makes beautiful furniture. He is a woodworker and illustrator, and his studio is filled with marvelous machinery and woodcutting tools. Bruce’s son comes out and greets us.
He’s working on a drawer with 45-degree angled dovetails. “How many times do you measure before you cut?” I ask. “The more I measure, the less I have to cut,” he says.
I take a picture of the big wooden statue in the next room. “That’s Tam Tam,” he says. “From the Fiji Islands.” It’s going to the Blue Hill Library. His dad is making a pedestal for it. I try to take a picture of Rudy, his new puppy. Rudy is too quick for me and hides under a workbench.
Melissa Raftery is in at 44 North Coffee. She says they’re excited about moving to the old Fibula Gallery on Main Street. They’ll have nooks for the coffee shop on the first floor, she says, and they’ll have to hire a crane to move their roaster. I tell her they’ll do very, very well. I take a picture for the Stonington Farmers Market Facebook page. Too bad I can’t take a photo of her partner, Megan Wood, too. “She’s in Guatemala,” says Melissa. “I got to go to Australia last year.” On coffee business.
I paint horses, two of them, at Acadia. I try to draw very precisely and paint very loosely. I’m almost done at the end of the day. Oscar says it’s the best thing I’ve done. I’m not sure how I feel about it.
Oscar wants to try pickleball tonight so I drop him off at the Island Community Center, go home, change, and return to pickleball. There are 11 new players and 12 old ones, like me. Pickleballs are flying all over the gym, coats and boots piled on the benches and buzzing conversations while people wait their turn to play. Or try to play. I tell a newbie I like to come to the gym in winter because it’s warm and light and friendly when it’s cold and dreary outside. “I need more of that in my life,” she says.