Night prowlers

The greatest obstacle to painting nocturnes is convincing yourself that you want to go back out after supper.

Linda DeLorey painting a nocturne at Rockefeller Hall. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson)

I’ve been teaching at Schoodic Institute for a long time. Every year, I check the moonrise schedule and determine whether we’ll get a full moon for a nocturne. It seldom seems to work. The last time our schedule aligned, the moonrise over Arey Cove was brilliant, but the mosquitoes were ferocious. We were driven off long before our canvases were covered.

(Before I taught Sea & Sky at Schoodic, I taught it in Rockland and then Belfast. This is before we all had cell phones with flashlights. One year, Sandy Quang got lost and fell over a bluff. Luckily there was beach below.)

A late-night critique session with Rebecca Bense and Jennifer Johnson.

We’ve always done this workshop in August, when the days are long. This year, it’s in October, because Maine’s COVID-19 regulations made it impossible for out-of-staters to come in without quarantine in August. That means it’s dark by 6:30. Walking back from the Commons in the dark, we realized that Rockefeller Hall would make for smashing nocturnes, with or without moonlight. It’s a very safe location, since the offices are closed at night.

The greatest obstacle to painting nocturnes is convincing yourself that you want to go back out after supper. It sounds like a brilliant plan at breakfast. After you’ve already painted for eight hours, and maybe had a glass of wine, the idea of dragging your stuff back out in the dark sounds awful. Of course, there are more opportunities for mishaps. Brushes drop into the grass and roll silently away. Nocturnes are unfair to watercolorists, who fight the night mist that keeps their paper saturated.

My students are used to starting with value studies, so painting at night isn’t such a shock to them.

For me, it’s easier to get up at 2 AM and paint. Even so, you then have the challenge of leaving your warm bed at an unnatural hour. Either way, if you persist through your own resistance, you’re in for a treat. The air is fresh and cool; the commonplace becomes beautiful and mysterious.

I’ve given up using a headlamp for nocturnes; I find they blind me as they flicker back and forth. Instead, I brought enough rechargeable book lights to share with my students. My students have been endlessly schooled in value studies, so they took to the limited color range of nocturne paintings immediately. In general, there’s no color in the night sky except inky blackness and the color of any lights. Under a door lamp or inside a window, you will sometimes see a short burst of color, but it’s passing and brief.

Most of my intrepid band of painters, less Jennifer Johnson, who took the photo. That’s Beth Car, me, Jean Cole, Ann Clowe, Rebecca Bense, Carrie O’Brien, and Linda DeLorey.

“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” my monitor Jennifer Johnson says. This year all my students are from the northeast, so they know what extensive array of clothing is suitable to October. It can be sunny and beautiful one day and sleeting (or worse) the next. I’m, as usual, far less judicious, since I don’t really believe in winter. I capitulated to the point where I brought long pants, but I haven’t needed them. I’m still in capris, sandals and a linen painting smock.

Me, demoing. (Photo courtesy of Ann Clowe)

October is always the most beautiful month in the northeast and the weather has been fine. It’s foggy in the morning, because the sea is warmer than the air. “I’d love a demonstration on painting fog,” Ann Clowe told me. I love painting fog, so I enthusiastically set up to comply. Unfortunately, the fog burned off too soon, and we had another pristine autumn morning, surrounded by the myriad colors of Autumn on every side. It’s cooler here than it is in August, but most importantly, the ever-present madding crowds are mostly absent.

I’m teaching my annual Sea & Sky workshop in Acadia National Park this week. After that, there’s Find Your Authentic Voice in Plein Air in Tallahassee, Florida, in early November, and a few more plein air classes in Rockport, ME. From there on in, it’s all Zoom, Zoom, Zoom until the snow stops flying.

The romance of the sea

What makes a person buy a tapped-out wooden boat and then spend a lifetime restoring and operating it?
Breaking storm, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas. I used American Eagle for my model, but the sea and sky are imaginary. Owl’s Head light is not, though.
American Eagle is one of a dozen windjammers plying the Maine coast. These historic schooners have been retrofitted from cargo or fishing as a niche vacation experience. Around 6000 people take an overnight schooner trip in Maine each summer. To put that in perspective, 164,513 people visit some part of Walt Disney World Resort every day.
There are no crowds, screaming kids, or queues on a schooner. There are, however, lines, which are sometimes called sheets, painters, or even ropes. A boat is a linguistic treasure-trove, but I digress.
Schooner captains wear three hats: they’re master sailors, fine carpenters and they run hospitality businesses. To make this work, they must have a stubborn streak of romanticism. Without that, all of these big boats would have been left to rot. Running a schooner business is incredibly hard work.
More work than they bargained for, by Carol L. Douglas. That’s the former Isaac H. Evans, now Boyd N. Sheppard, after a Coast Guard inspection. 
Our annual watercolor sketching trip aboard American Eagle is from June 9-13. (The practical details are here.) Here are some questions that readers have asked me:
How much time do we spend painting? We have to squeeze our work in between eating delicious meals and exploring islands, but we usually get about six hours of painting in every day.
I’m dieting so this is the part of searching through photos I don’t like. That was fresh caught salmon, cooked immediately. Courtesy American Eagle.
Can I help sail the boat?Guests are encouraged to participate in running the ship, including hoisting sails, taking a turn at the wheel, or helping out in the galley. Or they can read or watch the world go by.
What do we eat? Our meals are prepared on a woodstove below deck. They’re terrific. The mess-mate, Sarah, lives off the grid in her other life. The cook, Matthew, has adapted admirably to his 19th century work space. What they turn out from that kitchen is nothing short of miraculous.
I’ve never been on a boat before. What if I get seasick?  Motion sickness is less of a problem on schooners because they move more gently through the water than smaller vessels. And our part of the coast is protected from weather by the many islands lying offshore.
What should I bring?All your painting supplies are provided, but you’re welcome to bring other water-based media. As for clothing, Shary will send you a list before you get here.
Big-Boned, by Carol L. Douglas. That’s schooner Heritage taking her turn on the slipway.
How well-maintained are these vessels? Right now, they’re coming in to the slipway at the NorthEnd Shipyard for their annual spring fit-out, where they are scraped and repaired and undergo a rigorous Coast Guard inspection. They all carry modern navigation, rescue and communication devices.
Tell me about the boat we’re sailing on. She was launched in 1930 at Gloucester as Andrew and Rosalie, named for her first captain’s children. She was the last auxiliary schooner (powered by both sail and engine) to be built in that port, and was one of Gloucester’s last sail-powered fishing vessels.
Andrew and Rosaliewas used for fishing by Patrick Murphy and family until 1941, when she was sold to the Empire Fish Company. They renamed her American Eagle and converted her for use as a trawler.
I was derailed yesterday leaving home to paint Mercantile on the slipway. I forgot a few things: sketchbook, brush tank, wipe-out tool, and to cap it, my paints. Had to do this with the dribs and drabs on my palette, which explains the, er, limited palette. When I ran out, I went home.
In 1984, she was purchased by Captain John Foss and restored for the tourist trade. American Eagle is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. She is the sole surviving representative of the transitional period between traditional sail-powered fishing vessels and more modern trawlers.
Boothbay Harbor’s Windjammer Days publishes a great list of the 16 boats that will visit their harbor for the 57th Annual Windjammer Days Festival this June. That includes Maine’s dozen and four interlopers from Massachusetts. It’s a fun event.

So you want to paint in Maine

Tell me what you want to paint and I’ll tell you where to go.
Cliff below Owls Head, by Carol L. Douglas, courtesy The Kelpie Gallery.
This afternoon, I’ll show Poppy Balser around my few miles of Maine coastline. It’s the best fun two artists can have.
Belfast lies at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River. It is a city only in the organizational sense—it has about 6700 people this time of year. Its boom was in the early 19th century, and its mansions and brick-fronted commercial streets reflect that.
Belfast’s real charm to the painter lies in its exceptional harbor access via Harborwalk, which runs along a working boatyard out to the Armistice footbridge. From there, you can see its iconic red tugboats and look back on the harbor from the water side (courtesy of the footbridge).
The Three Graces, by Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery.
Just south of Belfast is Bayside, founded as the Northport Wesleyan Grove Camp Meeting in 1848. At one time, it drew thousands of the faithful to its 30 acres of oceanfront. Today, it’s a sleepy hamlet of historic beachfront cottages, most built between 1870 and 1920. There are no services, no stores, and no stoplights.
Lincolnvilleis low to the ground, a beach fronting its main street, so it has the whiff of more southerly climes. My favorite place to paint here is the mouth of the Ducktrap River, which snakes into Penobscot Bay around a gravel bar.
Poppy will have seen Camden, one of the great summer colonies along the coast. It’s famous for its schooners and pleasure boats. Many of these will be wrapped for the season. But there’s always something to paint in this harbor.
Rockport Autumn Day, by Carol L. Douglas (private collection)
I don’t even need to go that far. Rockport’s fishing fleet is clustered in the mouth of our harbor, bounded by beautiful old buildings and a working boatyard. It’s one of the prettiest villages on the Maine coast.
But if Poppy wants to paint trawlers, she’ll have to go south to Rockland’s Municipal Fish Pier. We could paint at the North End Shipyard or the city’s famous lighthouse. Below the Apprentice Shop, there’s a great view of the working harbor. It’s a city famous for its art, from the Farnsworth Art Museumand Center for Maine Contemporary Art to its innumerable commercial galleries. Like Belfast, it has a beautiful downtown.
American Eagle in Drydock, by Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Camden Falls Gallery.
The St. George Peninsula, however, is my favorite place to paint in this area. We can start at Owls Head, with its lighthouse and beautiful waterscapes in every direction. There’s a good angle on its fishing fleet from Lighthouse Road. Down the road is South Thomaston. The Weskeag River passes through it, changing character with the tide. From Spruce Head to Port Clyde, this peninsula has some of the best rocky shoreline south of Acadia. We might slip down to Clark Island, or over to Long Cove. 
Tenant’s Harbor is a place I haven’t painted enough. It has a lobster pound, a fishing fleet, an inlet and beautiful architecture. Mosquito Harboris lined with low marshes. Then there’s Drift Inn beach, and the Marshall Point Lighthousebefore we get to Port Clyde. This is another famous beauty spot, with a great fishing harbor visible from many angles. It’s also where we catch the ferry to Monhegan.
Lobster Pound at Tenants Harbor, by Carol L. Douglas, courtesy The Kelpie Gallery.
That represents slightly more than 40 miles of driving, but it’s enough to keep a painter busy for a lifetime. Consider, then, that the Maine coast is about 5000 miles long. All the landscape painters in America could come here and we’d never fully capture its infinite variety.

SRSLY time to watch us paint

Three opportunities to watch well known plein air painters at work on Maine’s rugged coast.
Rachel Carson Sunset, Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, was painted at Ocean Park.

I had so much fun with Bobbi Heath’s Gloucester easel in Cape Elizabeth that I dragged my old one out of the garage. (It’s such junk compared to hers!) I won’t go as big as I did last week, but I do plan on doing some larger works over the next two weeks.

I’m also packing my super-lightweight pochade box because I’ll be painting on the beach as well. I can’t haul that Gloucester easel over sand. We’re entering the gladdest, maddest weeks of summer and it’s good to be prepared.
Anthony, Russ and Ed painting on the beach at Ocean Park.
Art in the Park starts on Sunday, July 15 at Ocean Park, ME. This is as much a band of happy brothers as it is a paint-out. Ed Buonvecchio, Russel Whitten, Christine Tullson Mathieu, Mary Byrom, Anthony Watkins and I have done it as an ensemble for several years now. There’s no jurying and no awards—just excellent painting in an historic seaside community.
As relaxed as Art in the Park is, I’ve painted some very good things there, because Ocean Park has sand, rocks, marshes, architecture and, above all, ice cream. There are lots of hotels, motels and B&Bs in the area, so if you’ve ever wanted to come see a plein air event in action, this would be a good one to catch.
Jonathan submarining, Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, was painted at Castine Plein Air. This remains one of my all-time favorite paintings.
Anthony and I then drive straight to Castine for the sixth annual Castine Plein Air Festival. It opens on the village green on Thursday at the absurd hour of 6 AM. I’ve done this event since its inception, and it’s attracting top-flight artists. This year my old pal Laura Martinez-Bianco of New York and my new pal Alison Menke of Maryland will be there for the first time. Alison just earned first place/artist choice at Telluride, so she’s definitely a force to reckon with. And, of course, I’ll see many of my old friends there as well.
Castine is the home of Maine Maritime Academy, which is why the Arctic schooner Bowdoin hangs out in its harbor. It’s out on a neck on the far side of Penobscot Bay, making it a kind of Brigadoon, forgotten by time. Main Street slopes down towards the sea, with just enough shops and restaurants to make it fun to visit, but not so many as to distract from its white-picket-fence charm.
The plein airfestival wraps up with an open reception on Saturday July 21, from 4 to 6 pm. Wandering around and watching the artists is a great way to get to know this postcard-perfect town. If you can’t get a room in the village, Bucksport is not far away.
Before the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, Carol L. Douglas, oil on canvasboard, was painted at Camden harbor.
The next week, I’ll be painting in Camden Harbor during the Camden Classics Cup. This event brings about 70 sailboats into Camden Harbor to race for the weekend, right before the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. Camden Falls Gallery is the sponsor, and the event will feature their represented artists. I can’t tell you which ones will show up, but Ken DeWaard, Dan Corey, Renee Lammers, Olena Babekand Peter Yesis are all local, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them—and others.
Camden is accustomed to visitors, so you’ll have no trouble finding a room.
Since I live just down the road and love to paint wooden boats, I’ve blocked out my schedule from Wednesday, July 26 through the weekend. Boat lovers are welcome to walk out on the floating docks to see the boats in harbor, but if I’m lucky, I’ll have found someone to take me out to a float.

Girl lighthouse keeper

At an age when modern kids are munching on Tide Pods, Abbie Burgess ran a lighthouse on a rock in the sea.
A 19th century engraving of the girl lighthouse keeper. Courtesy Elinor DeWire Collection. 
Matinicus Rock is a treeless, windswept outcropping of about 30 acres. It’s about twenty miles off the mainland, but it’s on the approach to Penobscot Bay.
Its first keeper lasted four years before going ashore to die. The second keeper also died after a short tenure. A tremendous storm in January 1839 forced a total reconstruction. Keeper Samuel Abbott was forced to take refuge in the attic with his family during the storm of February, 1842. He thought they were all going to die.
Samuel Burgess, was appointed the light’s keeper in 1853. He moved to the lighthouse with his wife Thankful and four of their children. Abbie was the oldest girl there.
Courtesy Elinor DeWire Collection.
She ran the light, freeing her father and brother to fish for lobster. The lamps used lard oil. “[T]hey were more difficult to tend than these lamps are, and sometimes they would not burn so well when first lighted, especially in cold weather when the oil got cold,” she wrote.
Abbe worried that, in the case of a great storm, she would be unable to move her invalid mother to safety. In December, 1855, she moved her mother’s bedroom to the lighthouse itself.
The cutter that was supposed to have supplied them in September had never shown up. By January, food and lamp oil were running low. Samuel Burgess sailed to Rockland for supplies. Shortly thereafter, a Nor’easter blew up.
Matinicus Light House. Designed by Alexander Parris, drawn by Brown and Hastings, engineers, March 28, 1848.
“…Father was away. Early in the day, as the tide arose, the sea made a complete breach over the rock, washing every movable thing away, and of the old dwelling not one stone was left upon another. The new dwelling was flooded, and the windows had to be secured to prevent the violence of the spray from breaking them in. As the tide came, the sea rose higher and higher, till the only endurable places were the lighttowers. If they stood we were saved, otherwise our fate was only too certain.
“But for some reason, I know not why, I had no misgivings, and went on with my work as usual. For four weeks, owing to rough weather, no landing could be effected on the rock. During this time we were without the assistance of any male members of our family. Though at times greatly exhausted with my labors, not once did the lights fail. Under God I was able to perform all my accustomed duties as well as my father’s.
“You know the hens were our only companions… I said to mother: ‘I must try to save them.’ She advised me not to attempt it. The thought, however, of parting with them without an effort was not to be endured, so seizing a basket, I ran out a few yards after the rollers had passed and the sea fell off a little, with the water knee deep, to the coop, and rescued all but one. It was the work of a moment, and I was back in the house with the door fastened, but I was none too quick, for at that instant my little sister, standing at the window, exclaimed: “Oh, look! look there! the worst sea is coming.”
That wave swept the old house off the rock. 
The chickens proved their salvation. The Burgesses survived on a daily ration of a cup of cornmeal and an egg for the next three weeks.
Abbie Burgess Grant
Samuel Burgess lost his job after the election of 1860. He was replaced by Capt. John Grant. Abbie stayed on to train Grant and ended up marrying his youngest son, Isaac. They tended the Matinicus Rock Light for fourteen years, having four sons while there. They then moved to Whitehead Light off St. George.
Abbie Burgess Grant died in 1892 at the age of 53. “Sometimes I think the time is not far distant when I shall climb these lighthouse stairs no more,” she wrote. “I wonder if the care of the lighthouse will follow my soul after it has left this worn out body!”

Making pictures while the sun don’t shine

"Cadet," 8X6, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas

“Cadet,” 8X6, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas
My friends taught me to cook scallops a few years ago. Of course, to cook them, you have to have them. Last year and this, they’ve gotten me a gallon of the beautiful bivalves from their own fisherman source up in Castine.
Berna and Harry are cooking connoisseurs, but I’m usually a deeply insecure cook. Something snapped during the Christmas holiday, though. Over coffee, I confessed to Berna that I’d spent a good deal of the week in front of a stove. I’d run up a few batches of Christmas cookies, made sauce and meatballs, fried some cod, made a chicken pot pie and then schnitzel and red cabbage. As I have been known to not cook for years at a time, this greatly surprised my family.
My "Christmas Angel," was a 4H project. I trot it out every year on Facebook to amuse my childhood chums.

My “Christmas Angel,” (the real thing, not the painting) was a 4H project. I trot it out every year to amuse my childhood chums.
A childhood chum recently told me that my mother, who was our 4H cooking leader, had fostered his love of cooking. I didn’t seem to catch that from her, but it’s true that most of my foundational knowledge about cooking, baking, and sewing came from 4H. That group, an outgrowth of the Cooperative Extension, shows up in the most surprising places. Berna, it turns out, was also a 4H-er. We talked about the County Fair, baking sponges, and other joys of our youth.
I sure did enough canning as a kid. Putting up scallops reminds me of that (although it’s a lot easier). How, I wonder, did Mainers put up seafood before the invention of little plastic freezer bags?
Preparing luxurious pet food for Max.

Preparing luxurious pet food for Max.

I know that I could do something thrifty with all those bivalve feet—like make stock—but my 19-year-old Jack Russell terrier really loves them. Since he won’t be around next scallop season, I gave them to him. The ‘foot’ seems to be just a muscle attached to a bigger muscle. It’s tough, but it’s not like the toothless old guy chews his food anyway.
I frittered away my lunch hour chattering with Berna, so I had to work past dark. For my readers in more southerly climes, that means 4 PM in Maine in January. I finished my little painting of the Cadet under artificial light.
Years ago, I studied with Cornelia Foss. She would never turn the studio lights on at dusk, insisting that dim light was actually good for color management—it caused your paintings to be brighter and lighter than you expected. In general, I’ve found that to be true, but you have to wait until dawn to see the results.
I’m generally early to bed and early to rise so my dimly-lit studio is usually not a problem, but it does mean I have to make pictures while the sun shines.

Please don’t just phone it in

“Midday Barren,” 1983, by Neil Welliver

“Midday Barren,” 1983, by Neil Welliver
All rocks are not the same. The same brushstrokes that suggest the sandstone and shale ledges of Kaaterskill Falls in New York are inappropriate for the Maine Coast. Nor are all rocks uniformly brown. In fact, rocks in Maine generally aren’t brown at all.

To the artist, nothing is more distinctive about Maine than the cradle of grey and pink granite in which it lies. Having meandered around fringes of the North Atlantic quite a bit this year (the Hebrides, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick), I am struck by how similar the coastline is in all of these places. The fingers of granite cutting into the ocean at Iona reach out as if to interlace with those at Eastport.
“Road in Maine,” 1914, by Edward Hopper

“Road in Maine,” 1914, by Edward Hopper
As part of the ongoing celebration of the National Park System’s centenary,Munsell has released a series of publications showcasing the soil colors of the national parks. It’s cute, and it includes Acadia.
Artists know that soil color is different in different places, but we seldom consider why. The underlying rocks, weathering, rainfall and tide play their parts. So too does organic matter, as we know from murder mysteries where the corpse is found in a shallow grave.
“Island Village, Coast of Maine,” Rockwell Kent, 1909

“Island Village, Coast of Maine,” Rockwell Kent, 1909
Maine is full of a soil formation called spodosol. This is infertile, acidic, and found mostly in boreal forests. It’s good for trees, blueberries and potatoes, and not much else. It’s part of the reason that spruces topple in winter gales here, and it’s actually pretty rare, making up less than 4% of soils worldwide. The observant artist notes the ways in which it influences the landscape: blueberry barrens, bogs, and fallen trees.
Schoodic Point in Acadia, where I teach my annual workshop, has some of the most beautiful rock formations in Maine. Black basalt dikes cut through pale pink granite in long lines running out to sea. These were formed by magma forcing its way into cracks in the older stone. Since they fracture faster than granite, they’re in control of the current pattern of erosion. The honest painter thinks about their color and fracture patterns, and doesn’t just throw in a generic rock face in the general area it’s needed.
Granite near Thunder Hole in Acadia. The rock is pink, not brown.

Granite near Thunder Hole in Acadia. The rock is pink, not brown.
I’ve included examples by three Maine painters who cared more about observation than current conventions in mark-making. Their work is now universally included in the canon of masters. There’s a hint in there: to succeed in the long run, you have to be serious about seeing.

Painting along the Marginal Way

Workers built a retaining wall to stabilize a seriously damaged section of the Marginal Way after the Patriots Day Storm of 2007. Private donors contributed $100,000. Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.

Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.
When my kids were small, we would alternate vacations between the western National Parks one year and Ogunquit, ME, the following. I have many lovely memories of frolicking on the beach with them, ice cream, those peculiar red hot dogs, sandy bedtimes at my friend Jan’s cottage, and treks along the Marginal Way.
The Marginal Way was the brain-child of conservationist Josiah Chase (1840-1928). On his retirement, he moved to York, ME and bought a 20-acre strip of land extending from Perkins Cove to Israel Head. In 1925, he ceded the land for the Marginal Way to the town. Since then, other landowners have donated parcels that extended the Way.
Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.

Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.
In Scotland, I had the luxury of rambling where I wanted without worrying about trespassing. That was also the case in much of Australia. But in the United States we are often blocked from access to these places because our notion of property rights is different.

The men and women like Josiah Chase who gave land into the public trust during the last century were great visionaries. They recognized that the coast would eventually be built up. The common man would need access to it. But the process of preservation is on-going. The same properties need maintenance, particularly where they get heavy use by the public.
Workers built a retaining wall to stabilize a seriously damaged section of the Marginal Way after the Patriots Day Storm of 2007. Private donors contributed $100,000. Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.

Workers built a retaining wall to stabilize a seriously damaged section of the Marginal Way after the Patriots Day Storm of 2007. Private donors contributed $100,000. Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.
I think of the Marginal Way as perfectly groomed, but it has taken some beatings over the years. Fierce storms in 1991 and 2007 destroyed large sections. In 2010, a group of concerned citizens formed an endowment fund to protect and preserve the coastal path. This is the Marginal Way Preservation Fund.
The Marginal Way has two focal points: the ocean breaking against its great granite bowl, and the lovely homes and gardens behind it. I have the same curiosity you do about these gardens, and I’m finally able to satisfy it.
Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.

Photo courtesy Marginal Way Preservation Fund.
This weekend I will be joining Mary ByromFrank Costantino and other invited artists at By the Sea, By the Sea, a plein air paint-out and private garden tour. We start painting on Saturday at noon. The reception and sale will be Sunday, August 28, under a tent at the Beachmere Inn. Click here for more information.

Hidden gems

A vintage photo of the Tidal Falls from August 1954, by Ellis Holt.
Yesterday I was packing art books when I came across a forgotten little volume, The Plein Air Artist Guide to Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island, by Gail Ribas. Leafing through it, I realized that students driving to my workshop at Schoodic Point will drive right past the Tidal Falls at Hancock.
The Tidal Falls is about halfway between Ellsworth and the turnoff to Winter Harbor.
Reversing falls are caused when tides force water up against a prevailing current. They dot the coast: in Blue Hill and Lincoln, ME, at Cobscook Bay down east, and on the St. John River in New Brunswick. And there’s one right along our motor route to Schoodic.
Corea Heath is also managed by the Frenchman Bay Conservancy (photo by Bob DeForrest)
The farther north you wander in Maine, the bigger the tidal range gets. In fact, the highest tidal range in the world is not far away, at Burntcoat Head in Nova Scotia. Its mean spring range is 47.5 feet and its extreme range is 53.5 feet. The bigger the tide, the more noticeable the reversing falls phenomenon is. (I suppose that’s why nobody notices them in the Great Lakes.)
It’s amazing what you find when you start packing.
The Frenchman Bay Conservancy owns 4.2 acres overlooking the Tidal Falls at Hancock. There are a pavilion, picnic tables and grills—in short, the perfect set-up for a break from driving.
Beautiful Corea, ME.
I love a good boreal bog, so I’m excited about another property owned by the Conservancy: Corea Heath. This is on my workshop itinerary for the week, so you don’t need to hunt it out on your own. It’s a 600-acre habitat for inland and coastal waterfowl and wading birds, migrating land birds, and rare plants.
Rising from the edge of the wetland complex is a mixed forest of hardwoods, spruce, fir and pine, including a beautiful stand of the fire-dependent jack pine.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in 2015 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.