Painting in Maine

I feel like this is becoming more of a travel blog than a painting one...it's both, I guess.

Since coming north from my Florida winter, I've been back and forth from Vermont to Maine several times. I've had very little internet access in Maine. Until recently, I did not have a camera. Cameras certainly help painting blogs. These are my poor excuses for not writing a blogpost since April!

Three paintings scanned on a certain July event are on my flashdrive and I will share them with you, dear readers. If I have any readers left, that is!

So, back in June of 2012, I signed up for something called "Paint the Peninsula" at a local library. We were instructed to paint until noon on a July date, then bring our work, unframed, to the library by 1 PM. A silent auction was held from 4:30-6:30. 50% of what sold was given to support the library.

What a great idea.

I'd been working in acrylic for a few months and wasn't sure I could still paint a watercolor, so I went out the night before the actual date, to attempt a small plein air work. In case there were weather issues or a painting failure on the actual day, I figured I'd have a back-up painting plan.

My aunt, Helen, dropped me off at the end of a road, by the sea. I'd seen a great place to paint there a couple weeks earlier. However, on this day, the lighting was completely different and the scene appeared quite flat and uninteresting. I looked around a bit by the dockside and rocky beach, then walked up the road a piece, looking into the woods for a good composition. I saw a few likely places but continued on walking. Something nagged at me, and I turned around to view it again, settling down on the ground next to the roadway with my gear.

After an hour of somewhat frantic painting, amid a constant stream of mosquitos buzzing around and biting me, I painted a piece I was quite happy with, which I call, "Forest Wonders":



The next morning, bright and early, I settled down at the dockside at 6:30 AM, to begin a different scene. After carefully drawing and then painting around 2-1/2 hours, two men came down onto the dock. They sounded foreign, I thought they were speaking German. When I asked where they were from I learned I was correct, they were from Germany, father and son, here in America to take a boat-building course. We had a good conversation, then I told them I must return to my work because the lighting was changing rapidly and the tide would also be changing soon.

I painted a few more minutes and then two more visitors came down the wooden dock walkway. This time there were two women. One was explaining to the other how she had come every summer since she was a baby, 48 years. Her grandfather had built the white farmhouse along the shoreline in 1865.

Around the corner they came, where I was sitting, painting. One of the women exclaimed, "You're painting my house!" Then, "I want that painting!" After explaining it was for a library benefit that evening, she asked me if I would paint her another...I quickly figured that re-painting this scene would not be very possible, as the tide, fog and lighting are always quite differnt. I agreed to sell it to them the next day and then headed home with my new work, "Center Harbor":



"Helen, I've sold a painting!" I said, bursting into her livingroom. The event rules were that you could enter as many works as could be painted in the morning time-frame. It was only 10:30 AM and perhaps I could paint a third work before we needed to leave for the library around 12:30.  I debated, tired. but it seemed a good idea to try something else. And so, I again went outside to find another likely spot to paint. I had a pretty cottage in mind, up the road.

I found a large rock to sit on, at the right angle, across the road from the cottage behind a row of landscaped daylilies. Once seated amidst the neighbor's landscaping, a car came into the driveway, and I sheepishly apologized for my rudeness. They said they didn't mind. I was painting feverishly.

Another car then came by and stopped, a man stepped out. He walked up to me and I asked if this was his house. "No, I'm a local newspaper reporter, doing a story on Paint the Peninsula." "Can I interview you?"

"Sure," I said, continuing to paint. He asked me a bunch of questions, and took some photos. I told him I would have paid more attention to what I looked like if I had known I'd be photographed for a newspaper! He left and I finished my little painting, "The Gingerbread Cottage":



The library took the two paintings and I sort of collapsed, exhausted from so much concentration.

Later that day, the silent auction began. Helen and I enjoyed the reception fare and the people and watched to see if my work would sell. We were told that the bidding is fierce just before the 6:30 end-time. This proved true. Not much happened until about fifteen minutes before the bidding closed. I was sitting in a chair, listening to someone play the piano, while Helen rushed from room to room - they had separated my two works - and back to me, to report that the bids on the cottage were rising!

The library had given the artists the ability to place a minimum bid amount on each work. Because I liked the emotion caught in the forest scene, it was set relatively high. The cottage painting minimum bid was set much lower.

At the close of an exciting day, both works sold! A woman bid once for the forest scene just at 6:30.

Two other ladies had contested for the Gingerbread Cottage, raising the price $10 each time they bid. The final price it sold for was well above the minimum bid, just shy of the forest scene amount.

In one 26-hour period I had painted and sold three little watercolors. A very happy day.

A week or so later, Helen bought a copy of the local newspaper and we were shocked and pleased to see a photo of my cottage painting on the cover of the Arts and Entertainment section. The reporter also quoted me quite accurately in the positive article.

An exciting artistic event, to be sure. Silent auctions are wonderful. I hope to participate next year.

Warm wishes to each of those who read this. Special thanks to my dear aunt, Helen, who has given me a very special summer by the sea. I hope to invest a winter there too, painting and teaching.

May you be blessed with a very happy giving of thanks, for all of our Father in Heaven's Providence and Wisdom,

Elise

The truth (faithfulness, firmness, reliability) of the LORD endureth continually ~ Psalm 117:2

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