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Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 9: Porcupine Islands and Bar Harbor Sunset

I slept in a little this morning since I was exhausted from my big day yesterday. Thought it was supposed to rain too...either it did while I was sleeping or it missed Acadia. I drove to Northeast Harbor to get a package my mom sent me (replacement credit card and artist business cards! Woo!). I wrote my blog post from yesterday too since I fell asleep before I could write it.

I still don't really have a set schedule of what I'm doing - I'm somewhere in between totally winging it and hour by hour scheduling it. But it's working and every day I feel like I have a little crisis of what I'm doing and then things work out different and better than I could have planned them on my own. Today, for example, I decided to paint Newport Mountain from Dorr Point. Talking with the Rangers the other day, we guessed that it is now Champlian mountain (which by total chance I found out is correct when I was looking up some paintings today - go Acadia Park Rangers!). I hiked out to Dorr Point anxious to get started for the day and cou,d absolutely not see the mountain, only Sols Cliff. So then I had the dilemma do I leave and spend an hour or more trying to get this particular view, I'm here and there's a great view of porcupine islands, which Church did a painting and multiple sketches...I sat down to sketch the islands and realized a few minutes in that I should stay and paint the scene. It was a gorgeous spot and view of three islands - to the best of my cartography skills they were Bald Porcupine Island in front, Sheep Porcupine Island in back, and Bar Island to the left. Church did the other painting of Newport/Champlain Mountain from a sketch anyway, so I'll try to find the view and take notes. (See how that just worked out perfectly?!) I went back to my car, grabbed a longer, horizontal canvas, and sat down to work in the beautiful sun. Warm for the first time ever in Maine!!!

Church did several sketches of the Porcupine islands from Mount Desert and from the actual islands. He took a small boat around the Bay and I believe he executed Cliffs on One of the Porcupine Islands from that boat. He also did a painting of the islands in moonlight. It was so nice to be in the warmth that the painting took me longer than it maybe should have. Beautiful clouds rolled in and had a light pint tint where the light hit, and then faded into the rest of the sky. I sat back and just closed my eyes a couple times because again, warmth! The tide rose as I worked and the little rock pathway in my painting disappeared (those tides at it again).

It is just so evident to me how skilled Church was beyond his technical craft - he had an understanding of clouds, trees, he had to have been an avid hiker...beyond an artist he was "an ardent traveler, an assiduous devotee and student of religion, history, literature, music, architecture, science in all its specialities, and agriculture; a crafty entrepreneur and an eager consumer of the finer things of life - including family relationships, excellent food and drink, and trout fishing - Church matched his friendships to his many interests." (From the preface of Frederic Church). I am learning more and more that the secret to being an artist is to have many interests and passions. Art is not a singular entity. To be an artist I believe you must have insatiable curiosity of the world around you and be a lifelong learner of many subjects. You must also have time - it is so striking to me how much time Church devoted to his craft, both plein air and in the studio. Maybe this is obvious, but I am discovering more of what is possible when art is your "day job."

I spent some time at the ruins of George B. Dorr's farmhouse. He is said to be the father of Acadia and donated lots of property to the park. Pretty epic place to live in my opinion, but it was eerie to walk up the granite steps to the remains of a house with no one home. I caught up on my fellow fellows' blogs (they ar all rock stars) and Amanda wrote some amazing insights on traveling alone - will quote those more on another day because this is getting lengthy and I have landscapes to go paint!

Finally, I wanted to share a note from my dad about the sunset sketch I gave to the family last night: "You will likely never know the outcome of the seed you planted today when you gave that sketch to that young girl. But if you plant enough seeds in your life, you will begin to see good things happen around you."

The good life on Dorr Point. Until I realized my back was getting fried and not the lovely tan I had hoped for.
Today's studio.
The studio.
Porcupine Islands from Dorr Point.
"Sols Cliff and the Porcupine Islands, Mount Desert Island" by Frederic Edwin Church, 1850.
"Mount Desert Island from Bald Porcupine Island" by Frderic Edwin Church, 1850.
"Cliffs on One of the Porcupine Islands" by FEC, 1850.
"Prow of Rock, Porcupine Island" by FEC, 1850.
"Moon Rising over Porcupine Islands, Bar Harbor" by FEC, 1860.
Granite Staircase to ruins of George Dorr's old farm estate.
George Dorr's old farm estate.
George Dorr's old farm estate.
George Dorr's old farm estate. And my paint pack.
Bar Harbor sunset.
Bar Harbor sunset.
Evening studio.
Flash gives a little better estimate of the colors.
Bar Harbor sunset. Colors aren't true to this picture - crazy thing about sunsets is it gets dark afterwards. :)
"Sunset, Bar Harbor" by Frederic Edwin Church, 1854.
"Sunset, Bar Harbor" by FEC, 1854. You can really see all his notes on color and light. I am trying to take notes like this in my sketches.



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  2. Thanks for sharing your 'studio' photos! It's so amazing how ANYWHERE can be your studio. I love both paintings....especially Porcupine Islands. Any chance you would ever put some ships on the water? I like them in the sunset photo....or a bicycle? JK (as Jeremy would say...)
    Love, mom

  3. Came across this quote today and immediately thought of you!! Also the pictures you are taking are making me want to hike everywhere! "The great book, always open and which we should make an effort to read, is that of nature." Antoni Gaud