Last night I built a fire my myself for the first time ever! It died and I had to revive it - but I brought it back to life. It's cold here at night. There's no cell service at the campsite, which caught me off guard for a moment, then I realized there shouldn't be cell service at campsites, especially national park campsites. I will confess that I missed saying goodnight to Dan...
I started reading a book about Frederic Church's paintings in Maine called Maine Sublime. Sentences into the the introduction I realized I should have read this before my trip. I started feeling overwhelmed and underprepared...where do I want to paint? What do I want to paint? Church painted much more extensively in Maine, and specifically Mt. Desert Island, than I had thought. I also slept in my car for the first time last night! The curtains blocked pretty much all of the light which led to me sleeping in two hours later than my alarm. But, all in all, the whole set up is working really well.
So today I woke up overwhelmed with possibilities! Read more of the Church book and just kept thinking how am I going to paint and draw all this! He did so much work here over thirty years and half a dozen or more trips to Mt. Desert Island. His home is now an historic site and it houses over 100 drawings and painted sketches of Maine alone. I have eight or nine days! I wonder how long he stayed on these trips.
I also found out that during the time Church studied with Cole, Cole took a trip to Maine and brought back a sketchbook filled with drawings. He did a few paintings as well, but Church's are better in my opinion. Church surely would have seen these and that is perhaps what first sparked his interest in the region. I really am trying to learn as much as I can from these artists, to be their pupil and student almost 200 years later. Such is the beauty of art, that it endures long past the life of an artist.
I took off this morning not really sure where I was going and no clue what I was going to do. I stopped by an ocean overlook near the campground. Seeing the ocean was calming. It's obvious to say, but it just goes on forever. I might come back and paint here one evening if I finish a painting or hike early enough. The rugged ocean coast with pine trees is so picturesque - I know why so many painters have flocked here since Church and Cole did.
After getting gas and a few groceries at the gas station, I went to the visitors center for a hiking map and some clarity. Ranger Lee, my new best friend, was very helpful in identifying where the best views are to paint the various locations I gave her from my list. I left feeling a little better but still uncomfortable at not having a plan. My time here is precious. I was also really anxious to get hiking or moving after sitting in a car all day yesterday, so I didn't really want to set up shop in front of a view for a few hours. There are so many places I want to paint I didn't know where to start and which I could hike to in enough time at 2:00 pm...so I just started driving the Park Loop Road around the park. It is a stunning drive. The landscape here is spectacular with lush green trees and rocky granite facades. Parking is limited and most spots were filled at trailheads. I decided to park in the next open spot I came to a just go hike and paint regardless if Church had painted there or not. I found a spot at "Bubble Pond," which is the most ridiculous name for a magnificent, huge, beautiful pond with mountains protruding upward on either side. You can almost imagine the giant glacier that cruised through here to gouge it out.
I decided to hike Pematic Mountain and it was good practice for me to use a map and compass. Dan always navigates when we're together because he's a pro at land navigation. I haven't ever gone biking my myself somewhere I really didn't know. So, I'm learning, and it feels really. good to be independent and self sufficient.
The hike was really great and challenging. I only saw three people on the trail and it was nice to be alone. I got to the summit and started painting after sitting and taking in the view for a while. I'm convinced any summit and hike here is spectacular. I started with a very loose pencil sketch to map out the composition of the painting. The wind really picked up when I started painting. I think the wind chills was -100* and I was freezing. Noted to bring even more layers on the next summit hike. Even though I didn't finish the painting, I was so happy to get to the 6:00pm deadline I set for myself so I could get out of the wind. I will go back to finish it because I am trying very hard not to use any photographic reference. My sketch was nowhere near detailed enough to work from on my own. I did a little sketch of Bubble Pond like Church and Cole would - loose sketch with little numbers and notes about the colors and temperatures. I like reading the little notes on Church's paintings like "little patches of light green moss here and there." I am good with the descriptive color and subject matter, but my sketches need to be tighter in order to do something with the information.
Used my little cooking stove that Dan and I have used for backpacking to make dinner...I really hate cooking, especially in the dark, with bugs, for one person, etc. Then you have to do dishes. I already decided I'm never cooking breakfast, I'm going to eat fruit or yogurt on my way to wherever I'm going. I want to shower but they're about a 10 minute drive away and cost $2.00 for four minutes of hot water. It's late so I'll go in the morning. Enjoy the pics!
|Probably didn't need to ruin the beautiful scenery with my face...|
|Champlain Mtn, Dorr Mtn, Cadillac Mtn|
|Could be wrong - but I believe all the rock is granite.|
|Summit of Pemetic Mtn|
|Summit of Pemetic Mtn|
|A nice couple took my picture.|
|Pemetic Mtn view.|
|Bubble Pond. Look how vibrant hose trees are as the sun starts to set!|
|Beautiful Maine coast.|
|It was like seeing a sunset in a Fitz Hugh Lane seascape painting.|