A picture-perfect scene from Maine triggered by memories
Art is a reaction to something that affects the artist and this painting surely came about that way. I will come to look at this painting differently over time, but for now it holds a certain place in my memory. This watercolor of a beautifully-framed view from the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point was started as a work-in-progress demo for last weekend’s Open Studio. Displayed on an easel, the piece was a nice way to engage visitors in my artwork and show a bit about how I work.
After the very busy weekend that included 180 visitors (not including pets and babies) I was distracted and unfocused and needed time to regroup. When I finally returned to the studio to paint, I was excited by the beauty of the Maine coast that makes up this image. I recalled sitting in the sun by the water’s edge with people I cared about, a lucky and fortunate time with few cares in the world. And then the intrusion of violence and sadness and—as if it happened yesterday—9/11 thoughts once again, became the reality of the world. It translated into every brushstroke I made and I needed to put the painting away for a time.
What did each of us do to cope with these awful events and feelings? Turn off the TV, talk to people, minimize the internet, globally connect through Facebook, listen to music, and especially for me, look at art. I spent Sunday at galleries and shows and took in traditional, representational work: nothing complicated, nothing cutting-edge, but lots of Wyeths, Hoppers, a Homer, a Sargent or two. These are the subjects I’m familiar with and learn from and take home deep inside me. Returning to the studio, I finished Where the Bay Meets the Sky and while it’s not perfect, it’s done.
Arches cold press, 300 lb, 21.5″ x 14.25″