Monday, August 28, 2006

Once again

I forgot to edit the photo before I posted it, so here it is with color and contrast adjustments. It looks even better, and even farther from the original. Posted by Picasa

Change of Pace and a Rainy Day

I have been waiting to paint this picture ever since I spotted the subject weeks ago and photographed it. I was looking out the living room window and noticed the shadows of the lace on the table and lampshade. I had seen a pastel done by Daniel Greene of a lace table cloth and wanted to try to do something like it.

This photograph looks much more detailed than the actual painting. Reducing the size always makes my paintings look more realistic than the are. This is 16X 20 (because I have frames that size) and even though it looks as if I have rendered the lace very carefully, I really only suggested it. Most of my drawings are like that, though I don't really know why. I love the reduced version and wish I had really accomplished such a feat. I imagined that I would when I started out, but I don't have the temperament for the labor and time it would take. Before I had worked for a half hour I knew I wouldn't follow through with my plan. I do still like it, though.

Toni came over today and we planned to play the recorder. It turned out that we just talked, since Toni has been going through a lot of emotional stress lately. I'm looking forward to getting back to music, so I hope we can get going next time we meet. The day was damp and chilly enough so that I put the window in the kitchen down. Now it will probably stay that way until Spring. I am not one to open and close windows with changes in the weather, but consider it rather a seasonal ritual. Next will come the living room, most likely, and eventually the bedroom. Ah, well. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Another One

It's beginning to get a little harder to find a photograph of Epping Road that I want to paint. Now I want to get more photos in the Fall, when the fields turn red. I'm also looking forward to taking pictures in the winter and painting from them. I'd like to get a series of the place in all seasons done, and then exhibit them all together somewhere. I like each one, but when seen as a group they really make an impact. There's a sense of the place that doesn't come across as well in just one painting.

Today is definitely cooler than summer should be, so there's no denying the approach of Fall. We are having a meeting of the gallery tonight and one of the main topics of discussion will be Paint Eastport Day. If ever anything signaled the end of the season, that is it. Our final event of the year, we throw ourselves into the occasion with all our might with a day of painting, an auction, and a big party. The gallery season is pretty much over after that and we stay open only as long as there are warm bodies from far away places walking the streets. As the last tourist leaves town, so do we lock the door and crawl into our houses for the winter. There was never a place that changed with the seasons any more than Eastport. Posted by Picasa

Saturday's Painting

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Halie and Mathew

Tonight David, Thom, and I went down to the pier and onto the Halie and Mathew for a drink at the bar. The boat is open to the public now and several people were there to enjoy the evening from the deck. We watched the sun light up Campobello Island like a torch as it sank behind the opposite horizon, then headed back toward the sunset for our dinner. In advance celebration of the portrait I am going to paint of Thom's mother, they took me for a lobster roll and presented me with a card and a receipt for a very substantial payment on my fuel account for the coming winter. It was one of those wonderful happenings in life that make you realize how lucky you are. Trite as it sounds, I am blessed, sometimes to the point where I can't imagine how it all came to be. It seems unreal to me that I am here, living this life I have found at the edge of the continent, and that it is so much more than I ever expected. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Back to Work and Fall

After a short haitus I am back to the series on Epping Road. Lisa came over yesterday to work, since we missed Wednesday Art Day at Judy's. It was good for us both, since we had been busy with other things. I was very glad to have Lisa back. She has been out of reach for over two weeks because of company and then a trip to see relatives in California(lucky her!). Eastport does not seem quite right to me anymore if she is not here.
The days are getting cooler and there is a sense of Fall in the air. Time goes so quickly. Not only does it seem that summer was short, but that the winter before it was short as well. It could easily be last August. I could have just moved into this house. Only the other day I could have put up the first chicken pen in the yard. I could be settling in........and in fact I still am doing just that. Yet along comes Melissa, the WHCA representative who inspects the house for Section 8, telling me it has been a year and she must come again to renew my funding. The leaves on the trees will soon be turning and dying, and the barren winter landscape of Maine will return. This seems right to me. Summer and greenery strike me as an abberation, a mere respite from the monotony of bare trees and cold temperatures. It is like the short life of one flower that emerges out of the plant for a short time and flashes itself spectacularly for a brief moment, as if it were the whole reason the plant exists. We had better appreciate the plant for its greenery alone or we will miss the subtle, long-lasting beauty that is its mainstay.

August is the month of birthdays for both of my children. There is always a moment of pause then as I consider the passing of time since their lives began. Actually, when I think of it, they joined me quite early in my own life. Not much of earth-shaking importance happened to me before their arrival on the least compared with what has happened since. It's not easy to remember when they didn't exist. Most of my life has included them, and at this point all of their life has included me. Eventually, they will go on without me, or I will go on without them, depending on how one looks at things. There is a rightness about this vast overlap, and a rightness that we spend some small time without each other. It is probably the best balance. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dinner with David and Thom

David and Thom have returned to Eastport after David's mad dash to Florida. Thom's mother was in the hospital in Pennsylvania, so David flew home in order to be with Thom and allow him to go to Oil City. David thought he might have to follow by car with the dog. It turned out that the mother recovered enough to leave the hospital, so all three of them(Thom, David, Duncan) drove up the East Coast, stopped for a visit in Pennsylvania, and then continued on to Eastport. So begins Thom's annual summer visit.

Last night I had dinner with them, although I had to leave part way through the festivities to attend an Art Center Board Meeting. I returned after the meeting and we feasted on Thom's signature meal of sauerkraut, which I don't know how to spell, and pork with apples. Dumplings, too, and salad. Fruit with whipped cream for desert. It was delicious and I have come to look forward to it's arrival along with Thom's. The evening was casual and fun, which is always the case when I get together with them. How does it turn out that my best and most comfortable friends are men? This is where I turn first for conversation, comfort, acceptance, and entertainment. I am more myself, feeling an emotional sigh of relief when I walk through their door that all pretenses are left behind as I cross the threshold.

David and I got off to a bad start years ago, a start of which I was not aware. Apparently it had something to do with my dogs, and my attitude, and he was prepared to never see me again. Thankfully I was not privy to this knowledge until our fledgling friendship had developed enough for me to ignore that first impression. Had I known about it, I would have put on a suit of armour when I was around him, watching steely-eyed from behind a cold, metal mask. Things would have been so very different. I would have missed it all, all that has come to be so important to my life. Then Thom entered the picture and there was danger that I would be shoved asside. I worried and held my emotional breath. But Thom landed open and ready to accept David's friends as his own without any reserve or judgment. He slid into our lives so easily that it was immediately impossible to remember when he hadn't been there. There was no getting acquainted time. He was just there and I had always known him. He was not to be feared but to be welcomed. He added another demention, and rather than diminish the quality of our lives, he augmented it.

And, certainly not to be underestimated, Thom turned David into a dog lover, albeit a rather selective one. Because he now has his own four-footed darling, he can now at least tolerate the trait in others.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Below the Surface

The new show at the gallery is called "Below the Surface." I thought I wouldn't do anything for it, but hit apon the idea of copying the skeleton from an anatomy book I have. I had to work hard and the drawing looks it, but still it was fun, and is fun to look at, especially in a frame. I'll put it in the show, even though it is far from my best work.

Tonight there was another gallery opening, which are very common this summer. This one was for Judith Caden, a woman I don't know even though she has been a member for quite some time. I liked her work, which were mostly prints, and she had quite an elegant reception, which was catered. I stayed only briefly because I was anxious to get back to some electrical work I was doing after the ceiling light fell down yesterday. I was unable to replace the light because the wires were so rotten they turned to dust in my fingers. This worries me about the rest of the electrical system in the house. If I remember to be worried long enough to mention it to Will, I will.

There is a program on TV now that I want to watch about the history of man. I don't know why, since it is an old story I have seen so many times. It begins with grunting naked people with bushy long hair and ends with us as we are today. I am tempted to think that our evolution is pretty much complete. We continue to change in minute ways, but I doubt that we will survive the thousands of years it takes to make any dramatic change from what we are now. I think the biology of the human being is trying to keep up with the changes in the environment, but the changes are taking place too rapidly. Sometimes I feel that nature is struggling to even the playing field, but our downfall will be what caused us to survive in the first place--our superior brain. Natural disasters and disease would keep our numbers suited to our environment if we had not grown so clever, if we had not come to prioritize individual life. There is no room for individuals in the survival of a species. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Change of Pace

I decided to try doing this nude composition just to make sure that I'm not a one-trick pony with pastels. I bought a couple of pieces of mat board on the way through Machias Tuesday so I could try a different surface. I wanted to do figures in case I eventually switched to a subject matter that demanded them.

Years ago I bought a magazine on drawing with this image in it. I've saved it all this time, knowing I would some day try it. This was finally that day. I am very happy with the results. I hesitate to make such a statement, but I think I have found the medium I like best. I always thought it would be good for me, since it is a combination of painting and drawing. I've always felt that drawing was my strong point, rather than painting, and now I feel my instincts were right. Time will tell. Posted by Picasa

Goldenrod Pastel

Art Day at Judy's produced this addition to the series. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Next Installment

Here's the latest. Who says you can't paint every blade of grass? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thunderstorm and the Inevitable Pastel

I spent the afternoon with Diana doing another pastel. It doesn't seem possible that I could love each one better than the last, but I guess I do. Before going over to Diana's I picked up my studio, which had become so cluttered I couldn't find anything. The day started out quite cool, so I also dug some holes in the "garden" out front. Sydney offered to give me some plants from her prolific garden, and I wanted to get ready for them before I dug them up. Soon the cool air brought clouds and then a thunderstorm. I had to abandon my outdoor project and go inside. The dogs were very uneasy and follwed me around until I finally sat down on the couch with them. Lytton was very happy to have some comfort, and rounded up most of his toys to join him in the safety of my lap.

This was not a particularly good day as far as the dogs' neighborhood reputation goes. Wuile I was working outside, a woman with two dogs went by and stopped to talk. I had closed only the outside door, and when the dogs heard the other dogs they flew through the door. Benny attacked the dogs, and then Patrick and Lytton joined in. Even though he didn't know quite what was going on, Patrick did a good job of barking and looking macho. I grabbed Benny from the fray, but couldn't handle anything else until I put him in the house. Meanwhile the poor woman was trying to get her little dogs away. After I threw Benny in the house and got Lytton's leash, I ran back outside and found the man across the street (Max's owner, I think) running toward the scene and yelling at the dogs. I managed to get Lytton on the leash and the woman relaxed, since Patrick was just trying to figure out what to do to join in the fun. The man made a quiet but irritable exit. I was too embarrassed to say anything, and the woman was heading away as fast as she could anyway. I slunk into the house with Lytton, followed by the exuberant Patrick who still seemed to think it was all a big game.
So much for my setting an example as a responsible dog owner. "Let he who is without sin....etc."

Lytton got out again at the end of the afternoon and returned with spahgetti sauce all over his face. He was whining a little, and I was paranoid enough to think that perhaps Max's owner had put poison out for him. He seems okay now, though, so I guess the spaghetti sauce was just too spicey for him. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

Apology with Recorder

I forgot to mention that I wrote an apology to the woman I chastised in an email. I have not heard from her, though I contacted her on Wednesday. Apparently she is going to hold a grudge. Meanwhile I have learned that I had more support for my actions than I thought. That makes me feel better, but I do not regret the apology. I feel that I did the right thing.

Speaking of apologies, or at least personal rifts, I called Toni the other day to suggest that we play the recorder together again. I didn't mention our argument and neither did she. I think that was tactful of both of us. She seemed happy to start playing again and we set a date for next week. I am looking forward to taking up music again. I have missed it. Especially now that I have no piano I really want to get back to the recorder--and I have to say that as a solo instrument the soprano recorder is hard to take unless you are a lot better than I am. It does not inspire me to play alone. It makes my ears hurt and ruins my image of myself as a musucian.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Yet Another Painting and Neighborhood Dogs

I am certainly obsessed with the work I'm song with pastels. Having done the seascape, though, I realize that it isn't just the pastels, but the place. I think I did a competent job on the seascape, but a lot of the joy I experience when I do the blueberry barrens was missing. Yesterday I went back to Epping road and took another fifty pictures. There is just something about the place that is absolutely wondrous to me. I did this painting today at Sydney's, and it came from one of the photos I took yesterday. I hadn't finished it by the end of the afternoon, so I set myself up in the living room at home and worked some more. Being in the living room somehow seems more appropriate in the evening, with the TV going. After I finished it, I actually felt like doing another one, but stopped myself. Enough is enough.

I walked the dogs after they ate their supper, which has become our habit. It makes me feel good to give them that time. They love it so much. When I went out, I heard a dog barking across the street. When I got back, it was still barking. I put my boys in the house and then went to investigate. I found a German Shepherd tied in the yard of the yellow house opposite mine. I went to speak to the dog, hoping the owner would see me and appear. A woman came to the door and I told her I was concerned about the dog. She told me it was her husband's dog and that she would put him in the shed if he continued to bark because he was "driving me crazy." Obviously she did not like the dog, whose name is Max. She said he was "hyper" and out of control.

The conversaton we had was cordial, though I'm sure she got the idea that I did not approve of her treatment of the dog. I told her I was worried and had come to check on the situation. The dog did not bark after I left, so I assume she put him away. I almost asked if the dog ever came into the house, but I decided to let well enough alone. My hope is that she will realize that her care of Max is being noticed and it will inspire her to take some positive action. I also mentioned the black dog that lives behind her and is always left outside. She is friends with the people in that house, so may say something to them.

I suppose I will earn the hatred of my neighbors by butting into their business, but my hope is that my concern will inspire the owners to take better care of their dogs, if only to keep me quiet and away from them. There are three very lonely dogs on this street. I wish I could make life better for them. Animals deserve better than what they have. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 07, 2006

New Subject Matter

It was time to try a different subject. Here it is. This is 16X20.

It's not that I haven't done anything but paint, but my attention is mostly there. I must say that all the colors I'm using are an interesting experiment. I am used to using nothing but primaries, and now I have over a hundred different colors at my disposal. They produce hundreds more when they are layered in different ways. The simplicity of red, yellow, and blue has given way to an incredible complexity that I think is manageable only because of my years of sticking to the basics. Posted by Picasa

And one more time..........

I didn't like the image without the telephone pole. so put it back in a less assertive way. Now there seems to be the right balance of pastoral beauty and modern technology. It puts the scene in the right time frame. Now I'm happy. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 06, 2006


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While I sat at the gallery today I worked on this pastel. I see that it needs a little more work, but not much. I may take out the telephone wires, too, even though I usually like to include them. Somehow they seem to intrude on this landscape rather than add to it. I think the sense of the place is too quiet. The wires imply noise and conversation. Posted by Picasa

Mike Bowden

This is the little dog I came apon at the animal shelter a couple of years ago and convinced Lynn Bowden to adopt. What a happy story it has turned out to be. Mike is little celebrity in the town. He goes everywhere with his doting "mother," and wins hearts wherever he is. He was a ragged little street urchin picked up by the animal control officer in Calais, and now he is a pampered little prince who wears a coat and boots in bad weather. I feel good every time I see him(which is often since he and Lynn walk miles every day), and Lynn calls me his godmother. Even though he would probably have been adopted anyway, I feel that I was responsible for making a match that turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him and to Lynn.

He is absolutely adorable. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mid-Season Gallery Reception

Our mid-season reception at the gallery was a big success, as are all our parties. This one seemed to have even more people than usual, probably because the theme show was open to participants who aren't members. I enjoyed the gala as much as I could considering I was feeling out of sorts over an incident earlier in the day. One of our new members resigned because of an email I had sent to her, accusing me of being harsh and unprofessional. The email reprimanded her for ignoring customers and treating people rudely. There had been complaints, and I had witnessed both of these things myself.

In retrospect, I probably should have let it go. Just because I am president doesn't mean I need to supervise the behavior of sitters and censure them. I'm quite sure none of my predecessors would have done such a thing. I think I have often taken small roles of authority too seriously, sometimes overstepping my bounds.

Well, it is too late to do anything about what has already happened, but perhaps I can learn from the experience. My future motto should be "lighten up."

Orchid Cactus

I've had this plant for so long I don't remember where it came from. It hung in the hall on Parkview Avenue all during my married life and beyond, and it bloomed faithfully there. After I moved out of that house, it never bloomed again until now. I put it outside on the deck early in the spring. It has sat there practically unnoticed until I saw this blossom about a week ago. It's the only one, but at least I know the old plant still has what it takes. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Two more pastels

This is the picture I did today at Judy's, and the pile of rocks were done a few days ag0. Both are from the series of pictures I took off route 1. I am only getting more and more excited about what I'm doing. The one of the house and barn is bigger than what I've done before--16x20. I painted the paper a darker red than what I used before and like it for the fact that it allows me to get darker greens with less effort.

There's no doubt that I am getting to be quite proficient at painting weeds. Posted by Picasa