Some brand-new cards along with old favorites of mine are on sale for a one-day only pop-up market at the Deer Isle Artists Association from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, December 1 at the DIAA Gallery.
I’ve been wanting to paint a snow scene of Stonington for a long time, so this fall I buckled down and painted this watercolor of the town from the harbor.
I made cards of the painting, which are on sale at the pop-up market.
Cindy Bourque-Simonds, DIAA’s most tireless board member, runs the pop-up market by herself. “This is a different kind of a show for us, because many of our artists are trying something new and pricing them as affordable gifts,” she said for the official press release.
New Oil Paintings
For me, something new is an oil painting of the kayak launch at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine.
That, too, is on sale at the pop-up market, along with a small oil painting of my friend Leslie Anderson. We painted together last fall on the top of Kezar Mountain in Little Deer Isle. As you can see I painted it loosely, which was quite fun.
Next on my agenda: I have some big — for me at least — wooden panels. They’re two feet by three feet, and I plan to finish them over the winter.
Part of the essence of island life, at least in Maine, is that summer comes to a screeching halt. All of a sudden the take-out shacks close, the summer homes close up and lobster gear (including fishing boats) start to fill the yards.
On Sept. 25, the Deer Isle Artists Association opened the final show of the season, “Essence of Island Life.” I don’t always pay as much attention as I should to the DIAA exhibit themes, but this time I did.
Essence of Island Life
I submitted three oil paintings and three watercolors, and all arguably depict the essence of island life. Two small oils feature Eggemoggin Reach, which separates Deer Isle from what William Butler Yeats once called ‘the old bitter continent.’
And then the biggest oil painting I’ve ever done: Naskeag Point. OK, Naskeag Point is a peninsula in Brooklin, Maine, which isn’t exactly an island. But I think the trees, the islands, the water and the clouds do give a fair representation of the essence of island life.
My watercolor Powder Island shows a familiar scene in Stonington Harbor. Fishing boats and dories pass it all day long on the way to and from Fish Pier. The quarries on Crotch Island used to store powder on that middle island for blasting rock. The island quarries are a whole ‘nother story that can wait.
The vantage point for Powder Island is from Inn on the Harbor. Dan and I stayed there while deciding exactly which coastal town in Maine we should move to. The inn helped us make up our mind.
One of the inn’s new owners, Dana Durst, was walking on a sandbar in Smalls Cove late one afternoon in July. Smalls Cove faces west and gets tremendous sunsets, but I almost prefer the quality of the pre-sunset light. I really like this painting, and I kind of hope no one buys it. Which usually means someone will.
So if you’re in Deer Isle, stop by and see The Essence of Island Life: An exhibit of baskets, painting, photography, pottery and weaving.The reception with artists (which, sadly, I will miss) is on Sunday, Sept. 30, from 3-5 pm at the DIAA gallery in Deer Isle.
Our Closing Opening started with the salmon. My sister Christen, who lives in the Pacific Northwest, sent Dan and me a honking big smoked salmon for Christmas. We didn’t think we could eat it all before it went bad.
Hell, Oscar and I should have our own closing opening on our last day, we said. We could serve that salmon.
So Oscar and I asked Cindy Bourque-Simonds if we could have a party. We promised up and down to clean the gallery and to get it ready for the ART matters 2 session the next day. Cindy said yes. She’d even bring brownies.
On our last day as artists in residence, Oscar and I cleaned after I finished my painting of Mom and the champion yellow birch. We left our paintings up on the wall.
We took some of our stuff home and packed some of it away in the closet. So sad to end our artist-in-residency.
Still, there’d be a party.
We had sent out invitations.
We counted plastic glasses, napkins, paper plates and plastic cutlery hidden away in the DIAA cupboard. Oscar and Diana brought tablecloths, flowers, wine and more hors d’oeuvres.
Dan made little lobster pizzas (we’re hoping to introduce them in grocery stores this summer). I made salmon hors d’oeuvres. Lots of them.
In the end Oscar and I were grateful and happy so many people came out on such a wintry night. Though sometimes I think Deer Isle year-rounders in winter will go anywhere that’s warm, light and contains another mammal or two.
You can go to a party on Deer Isle and not one person will ask you where you work — unlike, say, Washington, D.C. Of course everyone already knows what everyone else does here. Don’t have an affair unless you want everyone to know about it.
Spoonmaker Bob Gillmor came all the way from Blue Hill. Leave it to Bob to tell us about Gallery Punch. It’s a concoction of vodka, whiskey, champagne and something else designed to get art patrons drunk so they’ll buy expensive paintings.
We weren’t selling our paintings, but perhaps we would have if we’d known about Gallery Punch.
Diane Horton took our photo. With a real camera, too.
I had vowed to do a painting in oil in the DIAA gallery because I can’t do it at home, at least in the winter. The fumes concentrate in our gas dryer and our gas stove, making our clothes and food stink — something to which Dan strongly objects. Imagine that.
I brought some canvases, paint, oil brushes, miscellaneous solvents and an easel to the gallery in early january. For three weeks they taunted me. Finally on Day 22 I took the plunge.
But I digress. Mom and I ran into Eric at the farm, and he told us how to find the champion birch tree in the woods. It’s actually a formerchampion; Eric said they delisted it because people were taking too many pieces from it. So we found the tree in all its autumn glory. I took a few photos of Mom admiring the champion yellow birch and tucked them into my subconscious.
When I got out my oil paints, I knew I wanted to attack it with bold outlines of black paint. That approach worked with a painting I did in Florence a few years ago.
Anatomically she’s a little off, but I like it anyway.
Oil is a very different medium than watercolor. It seems to take a lot more time to finish an oil painting (and definitely more time to clean the brushes), but less time to master the medium.
I’m not sure if I want to leave The Champion Yellow Birch the way it is, or work on it some more this summer when I can paint outside. Stay tuned.