Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lupine and Lilacs

I was so thrilled to see the Lupine on Dog Island on my walk that I went back to the house and got my camera.  I left Patrick home for this second walk, but Willy had plenty of energy left.  His head is just visible at the bottom of the second picture.  He loves his special walks when he's the only one, racing wildly around me with his eyes sparkling and tongue hanging out.

When I first visited Eastport years ago there were no houses in that area like there are now.  The whole world looked purple, white, and pink.  I have seen the the gigantic seasonal homes spring up, one or two a year. Gravel driveways lead through formal gardens to huge, expensive houses.  They have decks and gazebos, with many huge windows on the side of the house that faces the water.  Many of the yards are decorated with marine paraphernalia, and they all fly flags from tall poles.  For them it is always summer.  Nevertheless, the area is very large and they are not yet particularly
intrusive, at least not yet.  We are the last outpost of shorefront in Maine.  To go further east is to go to Canada.  So our summer people are of a sturdier nature.  They are willing to travel far in search of a more simple place, where the entertainment is church suppers and concerts by the local orchestra.  They like fish and chips at a picnic table.  They know the grocery store closes at eight (7 in the winter).

Slowly, though, they are changing things.  Gift shops have sprung up.  Even some cruise ships are beginning to stop here.  People who came here originally to find a quaint, small town full of poor fishermen and unemployed workers with little ambition or work ethic, are now seeing the town as a place that needs their help.  They are working hard to turn the town into the kind of place they left to come here.  Well, there is still more Lupine on Dog Island than there are formal gardens.  Deer still  roam the woods (and the streets), though their days are numbered, I think.  They seem to be getting in the way of people.  There is talk of "culling" the herd.  The deer don't know that cultivated gardens are to be left alone or that they may cause some of us to get Lyme Disease.  They believe that the earth belongs to them and sometimes cross streets in front of cars.  Sometimes a person's car needs to be repaired after it has killed a deer. 

Don't get me started.............anyway, I think Eastport will still be a place I want to live for long enough.  I recently applied for a rental in my old home town.  Eastport, I thought, was no longer where I wanted to be.  I have lost everything that brought me here in the first place.  Seeing Bangor again as I went to finish my application for housing there, I realized that Bangor isn't my home anymore, either.  When I returned from my trip there, Eastport looked like paradise. 

Then there is my own garden, and this is the lilac I brought from Wilson St when I moved here.  It was a shoot coming up near the huge lilac that grew in that yard.  I didn't even think it would survive, but look at it now.  So lupine and lilacs seem to have put me in the right place.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Watercolor Attempt and Anticipating the New Car

I haven't painted as much as I might have due to my recent doll obsession, but yesterday I finally put myself to the task.  I like this painting even though it lacks the spontaneity I'm trying to regain.  It's pretty hard to just let go when you are so focused on technique.  To relax when you are working to relax is pretty much asking the impossible.

My "new" car ought to be ready today after weeks in the garage.  It evidently hid a lot of flaws behind its (to me) pretty face, and needed several repairs.  Also, the mechanic has missed a lot of work lately because of a sick wife, which extended its stay considerably.  Dennis is the only mechanic in town, and the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, so there was no question that I would wait for him.

Tomorrow I am going to Bangor and I hope to be driving my van.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Painting and new Doll

 This is the first painting I have done outside for a long time.  I sat in the driveway and painted the front of the house with the garden in front.  I keep thinking I can do watercolor again if I just find the right combination of factors.  I decided that being out in the environment might help.  Certainly my best watercolors were done on location.  I am pleased with this one, not because it's a good painting, because it isn't, but because it is at least acceptable watercolor technique.  It gives me hope that I am on the right track.  Going outside has rarely been possible because of the weather...........cold and rainy most days.  We have had some beautiful days, too, though, and all that snow is just a remote memory now.  June in Eastport is the best of all possible worlds.  I have spoken of it every year, I know, but I can't help but be surprised again at the overwhelming scent of Lilacs, the purple Lupine, the intense green of the world.  Memories and pictures don't do it justice.

A faint desire to make another doll crept into my consciousness about a week ago.  Yesterday it had grown to the point that I couldn't ignore it.  I found a pink T-shirt that was expendable and went to work.  It was a short-lived obsession and I finished this doll in record time..........all in all no more than four or five hours over two days.  I don't think I will need to make another one now, but I can't be sure.  This one is cute.........yes, cute.  I guess there is room in my psyche for producing cute.  It may be a genetic variation inherited from my mother, who made many beautiful dolls.  They were very different from mine..........small, perfect ladies with clay heads, arms and legs she made herself.  The bodies were made of cloth, and she dressed them in authentic period clothing made on her treadle sewing machine.  She created their hair using embroidery thread which she would around toothpicks to make specific hairstyles.  They usually carried baskets filled with flowers of fruit and vegetables made out of clay and painted.  An apple would be only slightly larger than the head of a pin.  Once there was a spot on TV about her and the dolls..........I remember her showing off their underwear, complete with lace trim and ties, saying "Ladies always need beautiful underwear."
My dolls are another species altogether.  At times a fleeting idea crosses my mind to make a doll like hers, but I don't have the temperament for it.   And I have the good sense to know I don't have the temperament for it.  My work is sloppy and makeshift, with thoughts like "that's close enough" and "that won't show anyway" guiding my technique.  This doll's shirt is the top of a dirty sock I got out of the hamper.  Her pants are made from my own old pants that I was getting ready to through away. Her skin is, as I said, a T-shirt with "First Light Farm" printed across the chest.  I never would have sacrificed it, except that I have 8 or 10 more in many different colors.

So, aside from planting a vegetable garden and building a new door for the chicken house, that is the extent of my activity since my last post...........although I think I failed to post a picture of the car I bought with the money I made from my art show.  It was cheap, and is now spending a lot of time at the garage waiting for parts.  I'm happy though.  I'll put its picture in a new post.