“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.