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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 5: Acadia National Park and Otter Cliffs

I spent the majority of the day along the ocean via a hiking trail called Ocean Path. After going to a farmers market and taking a coin-operated four minute shower this morning, is set out for Otter Cliffs and Otter Creek. Thomas Cole did some work of Otter Cliffs (it is listed in a book I have - still need to find the image) and Church did a painting Otter Creek. I parked my car and set out to find a good spot along Otter Cliffs to sketch.

I walked out to an overlook near the beginning of Ocean Path and was standing lost in thought, looking at the ocean, when I heard someone say "Emily." Must be someone next to me I thought, I don't know anyone in this park or even the state of Maine. I heard my name again. I turned around and a woman and man were standing there, and she said "It's Barb!" I was totally foggy on my connection to them but they looked familiar. Turns out, it was Barb and Vic, who my parents have known for many many years through cycling. They heard I was in Acadia from another cycling friend of ours and wanted to track me down since they were up here at their house! There is very limited cell service in the park so they were going from parking lot to parking lot around Park Loop Road looking for a van with a Xavier sticker. How small is this world?! They were so nice, friendly, encouraging, and generously offered to cook me dinner and let me stay in their guest room if they hadn't been flying back to Cincinnati today. Vic told me that he and Barb were on a bike tour in Wisconsin with my family when I was about a year and a half old...apparently I peeped in their tent while they were changing, so they returned the surprise twenty something years later. :) Thank you Barb and Vic for the unexpected company and Acadia insights!

I set out on my hike along the ocean, which there really are no words to describe. I jumped out at each overlook path to view the ocean. It is such a unique and picturesque coast. The rocks are uniquely colored and are immensely detailed with varied planes and surfaces. This creates a stunning place for the surf to rhythmically hit the jagged coastline and splash up against the rocks.

I was an artist again overwhelmed by what to paint. You could spend a lifetime drawing and painting these two miles of coast alone. The rocks, trees, and surf are all intricate and picturesque. I stopped near the Otter Point overlook and decided to sketch. The view was perfect but there wasn't enough room to safely set up my easel on the rocks. I made some notes in my sketchbook about the colors of the rocks in case I make a painting from this sketch when I get home. I've never really drawn or painted rocks before. They are overwhelmingly detailed, so you have to think of them as shapes and planes, and I squinted a lot to see the value (lights and darks) in the overall composition. After about an hour and a half I had a sketch I was very pleased with.

It was very peaceful to sit above the ocean. I kept thinking that I will never feel alone or bored in my life as long as I have a sketchbook and a park. It is truly wonderful that we have the greatest landscapes in our country preserved as national parks, and I have a lifetime to explore them all. What a life it would be to do this as my full time job...

I continued down Ocean Path after finishing my sketch to see Thunder Hole. When the tide is right, the water rushes into a cave and makes a huge thunder sound as water shoots in the air. Unlike Old Faithful, it's not on a schedule so I just saw what looked like a big eddy. It's a scenic area and was still worth the trip.

On my way back I had to decide to go to Otter Creek where Church painted, or stop and paint Otter Cliffs at an overlook along Ocean Path I'd mentally bookmarked to paint. I ended up at the overlook as it was too stunning for me not to stop. I set up my "studio" and started working on 6x8inch primed paper. It was about 3:30 when I started. Prime painting time is about 11-2, so I need to better set myself up to paint in that window or earlier. Immediately I felt in over my head with this rock facade. Sketching I felt more comfortable, but dealing with color and complex forms was very challenging. Painting rocks is really hard and I tip my hat to anyone who has done it and done it well. Despite bringing more layers it was still COLD. I wanted to throw in the towel multiple times on this little painting that was my Everest, but I stuck through and finished around 6:30. Church has several coastal paintings so I didn't feel like I was "cheating" my "agenda."

I really really really didn't want to cook dinner tonight since I got down so late and hiked around four miles...but after stopping in town I realized I don't want to spend a million dollars on dinner and I am not attired for 95% of the restaurants in Bar Harbor. Later this week, per Barb and Vic's recommendation, I'm going to a lobster restaurant. Because when in Maine, eat lobster!

Tomorrow I think I'll go to Otter Creek, and after getting an early start, I may even have time for two paintings, or a painting and several sketches. It's supposed to rain tomorrow afternoon so I have to keep an eye on that. People of prayer, pray for no rain tomorrow and the rest of this week!

Ocean Path.
Each overlook had a stunning view.
Otter Cliffs.
See what I mean about the rocks?
Sketch of Otter Cliffs.
The spot I came back to paint.
Angular rocks.
Not a bad hiking path...!
I could watch the surf all day I think.
Thunder Hole...I liked the twisty rock.
Selfie with Otter Cliffs aka My Everest



1 comment:

  1. Thanks for another great blog entry! Your sketch/painting really does reflect the beauty of the land!
    And thanks Barb and Vic for searching Emily out for a surprise visit! (And thanks Molly F for telling them where Emily was!)
    Love, mom