Diary of a Deer Isle Artist in Residence, Day One

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Monday, Jan. 10

It’s freezing this morning. Below freezing. The power is still on, though, so I gather my water color supplies and drive the 13 minutes along 15A to the Deer Isle Artists Association gallery.

I’m greeted by a large empty space with three tables covered with butcher paper. Two folding chairs lean against the wall.  I have no doubt Cindy Bourque-Simonds did that for me. I feel welcome.

I’m all alone in this big space with my computer, paper, paint.  The sun streams into the big gallery windows. Subarus and pickup trucks come and go from the post office across the street and the library next door. Heanssler and Eaton oil trucks roar by frequently. We’re so low on heating oil at home that Dan went out and bought 10 gallons of diesel to put in the furnace.

I fill my Maxwell House coffee container with water and start work on a painting I’ve been working on for two years. A fountain in the National Gallery of Art. I took a picture of it at a time when I was unhappy and roaming around art galleries, train stations, skating rinks and botanical gardens, looking for images I could paint at some later, happier date. Like now,

The painting is too dark. I do a little work on another one, a painting of a house on pilings with lobster traps and buoys. It’s too dark. When it’s time to leave I put it on the wall anyway.

I post a picture to Facebook. “Leslie, You need to paint bigger,” my friend Kerry Petertil writes later.

I try to lock the door. It’s so cold out the key won’t turn. I call Dan. He comes to my rescue. He realizes the problem isn’t my mechanical ineptitude. He opens the side door. We lock the front door, go out the side door, lock the side door, put the key back in the lockbox and go home. Popcorn for dinner.

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