Shape of Waters at the Deer Isle Artists Association


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.

Why 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.

I was hoping for a nice big WPA poster,


but I would have settled for a print of an Ashcan School painting — McSorley’s Bar, for example.

McSorley’s Bar by John Sloan.

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.

Jean-Francois Millet, The Gleaners

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.

44 North

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.


The Island Heritage Trust Wings, Waves and Woods


Eight of my watercolors are on exhibit in the Island Heritage Trust barn from May 5 to May 25.  The occasion: The Island Heritage Trust birding festival, known as Wings, Waves and Woods.

Wings, Waves & Woods runs from May 18-20, and kicks off the summer tourist season on Deer Isle. It features walks and cruises to see puffins, harlequin ducks, guillemots, bald eagles, great cormorants, eiders, osprey…you get the idea.

Some of the best things about Deer Isle are the conservation lands owned by the Island Heritage Trust.

Dan and I hike most of the Deer Isle trails owned by the Island Heritage Trust. In summer and fall, Dan and I hike them nearly every day.

Then I paint them.

This year, the Island Heritage Trust sponsored an art exhibit in its barn.  My friend Carolyn Walton invited me to participate in the exhibit.

So I decided to submit watercolors inspired by the IHT conservation lands.

Before Franklin Roosevelt built the Deer Isle Bridge, the ferryboat from the mainland landed at Scott’s — hence the name, Scott’s Landing.

We often go to Scott’s Landing, and I’m often amazed we’re the only ones tramping around these 24 lovely acres. We often hike through the old fields to the sand beach, where we get yelled at by crows, watch the tide go in and out of Eggemoggin Reach and scour the beach for glass.

Here’s Dan tying his boot at Scott’s in winter.

Bean Boot, Scott’s Landing

Deer Isle is really an archipelago connected by causeways, like the one that connects Little Deer with Deer Island. Clammers often dig for the little bivalves in the muck off Causeway Beach — also owned by the Island Heritage Trust.

Below is a painting of a November sunset off Causeway Beach.

November Sunset, Causeway Beach

You walk a challenging mile through a mossy, ferny forest until you reach a panoramic view of Isle Au Haut, Mark Island and Penobscot Bay. Low tide exposes a wide sandbar connected to Barred Island. Frederick Law Olmsted used to own the land and wisely chose not to improve upon it. One of his descendants donated the land to the Nature Conservancy, and the Island Heritage Trust manages it.

This painting shows the sand bar at low tide. Barred Island is on the left.



I also painted a few new watercolors, including the lobster claw above. I stumbled across that on one of the Tennis hiking trails.

So if you’re in or near Deer Isle, stop by the IHT barn and check out my paintings of IHT lands.


Intentional Intersections

The two-week show ‘Intentional Intersections’ featuring Maine artists will start Friday, July 7, at the Deer Isle Artists Association gallery on 15 Main St. in Deer Isle Village.

An artists reception will be held on Sunday, July 9 at 5 p.m.

In addition to Leslie Landrigan, the show will feature work by Peter Beerits, Ron Deprez, Nat Dickinson, Mary Eaton, Judith Felch, Jeri Gillin, Emily Johansen, David McBeth, Alice McKenna, Kaitlyn Metcalf, Katama Murray, Carolyn Raedle, Chris Raphael and Gudrun K. Tarr.

For more information, call 207-348-2330.

A Little Story About Brownie the Cat


Brownie our cat recently fractured a bone in her paw, bringing our household casualty rate to 75 percent. Dan has a wicked cold and Mack our other cat has dermatitis on his belly.

Brownie on an unhappy visit to Dr. Megan.

Brownie and Mack are two of my favorite subjects to paint.

Mack, displeased at our late arrival home for dinner.

We adopted Brownie and her sister Gracie about 10 years ago. Dan wanted to name them Brown Cat and Gray Cat because of their coloring. I quickly intervened and suggested Brownie and Gracie.

As kittens they’d lived somewhere under a Wendy’s dumpster in suburban Washington, D.C. Gracie, who had a high kitty IQ, protected Brownie, who was always a little wild and – let’s be honest – a little stupid.

Brownie is a Kitler — a kitty with a Hitler moustache. It suits.

One Saturday morning Dan and I walked into our suburban D.C. living room to see them basking in the sunshine. I snapped a picture with my cell phone that inspired a gouache and watercolor painting of them – one of my favorites.

Brownie and Gracie. Watercolor and gouache on 140-lb. paper. 9″ by 12″. Private collection.

Gracie died at a young age. I wept at my desk. She had FIP, and Brownie was a carrier. If we wanted another cat, it had to be an older one. Otherwise Brownie would transmit the disease to a kitten.

Hence Mack, a staid older cat dubbed the Love Bug by the shelter volunteers. Mack is larger than some dogs, and he can be quite intimidating when he jumps in your lap to demand Love Time.

Mack demanding Love Time.

In winter, they sleep in our bed, which is why we call them the Thousand Degree Cats. One night the cats heated Dan so much he went to the downstairs bedroom to sleep. He woke up realizing there were still two creatures on the bed. No, wait, there were three – Brownie and Mack were playing with a mouse. Dan got dressed, scooped the mouse into a cardboard box and took him to the Stonington dump, where he could live a happy life.

That little adventure inspired a birthday card. I’m glad I got into the habit of making kitty-themed cards for Dan. It’s hard to find good greeting cards on a Maine island.

Brownie, despite her personality flaws, inspires some of my favorite paintings. Like this one.

Porch Kitty. Watercolor and gouache on 140-lb. paper. 12″ by 12″. Private collection.

And this one.

Moving Day. Watercolor on 140-lb. paper. 9″ by 12 “. Private collection.

And, for the record, her paw is healing nicely.