Thursday, September 18, 2008
Here we are, the Maine Landscape Guild, a group of six artists who love to paint in Maine. From left to right we are: Mary Walsh, Carla Tudor, Alex Tyng, Nancy Bea Miller, Eliza Auth, and Diana Ansley. In the background is the neighboring island of Manana.
Last year some of us spent a few days there and it was such an inspiring experience that we decided we needed to be there for longer. So this year we rented a house for a week. We had a great time hiking around the island, painting the scenery, eating delicious home-cooked meals, and enjoying wine and cheese with other visiting artists.
There is such a wealth of subjects to paint on Monhegan. For one thing, this small island has a variety of terrain, from open moor to deep woods to rocky seacoast. The buildings in the village can keep an artist occupied for a while, not to mention the lighthouse and accompanying buildings on the hill overlooking the village. It's a true microcosm, jewel-like in its beauty. You can watch the sun rise over the open sea on one side and watch it set over the sea, behind the next-door island Manana, on the opposite side.
Leaving Monhegan was especially hard because the return to the workaday world coincided with the end of summer.
Once again I and my painting buddy Diana Ansley turned our beloved vacation spot into a part-time outdoor artists' studio. I had a week to devote to art, then another two weeks of family time with plein air painting sessions fit into our schedule.
We've honed our gear down even more this year. Our easels are light aluminum Stanrites with tripod supports that open into flat shelves when the easels are open. I retrofitted a plastic office organizer tray onto the platform by poking holes in three places and threading wire through the holes. The wire can then be attached to the legs and supports of the easel so the tray stays secure in a high wind. A camera or backpack can also be hooked to the platform and hung from it, giving the easel further weight.
This year I also bought a backpack with a rectangular shape and bottom cooler section to hold my lunch. The plastic tray, my palette, paints (in a gallon zip-lock bag), brushes, medium, solvent, denim apron and paper towels all fit into the pack. The pack is made by Kelty. It also has side pockets that can hold insect repellant and sunscreen.
Here is Diana painting the Ripples (Long Pond) while canoers talk to us. My easel is set up next to hers but I stepped back to take this shot. That was a beautiful clear morning with lovely cloud formations.