We have now entered what I call the quiet season on the Maine coast. I know everyone else is gearing up for a holiday season of celebrations and festivities but out in the marshes things have quieted down. I will be out painting for the afternoon and only a handful of cars will pass by. Usually they are the fishermen or boat builders going to or from work. An occasional walker will pass as it begins to get dark. The birds are quieter too. They still cluster in the shrubs and trees along the roadway and I can see a few out in the marsh but the bulk of the migration is over. Every now and then I hear or see Canadian geese heading south. But most of the time its me by myself out there witnessing some of the most beautiful sunsets of the year and breathing that fresh clear air from the arctic. Heaven.
The last light of day is often the best light show there is. I love painting after sunset when the light is bouncing all over the clouds and the atmosphere is glowing. One of my favorite painting locations is in York Harbor, Maine on the banks of the York River just west of where it flows into the ocean. The sunsets are glorious. The lights on the docks and in the houses all start to come on along the shore line as it get dark.
Last Blaze of Glory, 8×10, oil. “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
There is a small private beach community in southern Maine where it is still 1950. The place is amazing, it is a step back in time where kids can ride there bikes around with their friends at dusk and at night everyone lines up for ice cream at the village ice cream parlor. The sidewalk rolls up at 9pm. The beach does not. There are benches and street lights so you can find your way down a path to the beach for a night time stroll. It is in an area that used to have lots of religious camps and communities. Over the years many of these have disappeared and only a few are left. This is a rare gem. I love painting here!
Clouds at Dusk, 6×8, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
Last summer I spent an evening on Ossipee Lake in New Hampshire painting the scene on the water in front of me while a bunch of happy people sang songs around a campfire nearby. It was a perfect summer evening, quiet, and cool after a sunny warm day. Everyone was putting on sweatshirts as the air cooled down. The little kids were snuggling up to their parents and grandparents as they roasted marshmallows. The teens were hanging out off in shadows on the beach and near the boat launch doing their boy girl summer vacation hang out thing. I was set up next to a picnic table with my easel and painting gear wearing my headlamp trying to see what I was painting in the increasing darkness as lights came on in the cottages nearby and across the lake. Heaven.
Starry Summer Night, 6×8, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
When the end of the day has arrived on the small family farms in my neighborhood and the chores are almost done, everyone heads back to the house for dinner, to relax and to get ready for the next day. The house becomes a hub of activity. I’ve noticed that early in the evening the lights are often on all over the house and in out buildings. Then a few hours after dinner the shades are pulled down or the lights turned off in certain rooms. Sometimes I can see the TV glow light from one window, but often by 9 pm I’ve noticed all the lights are out. Everyone is in bed! These guys have to get up early for milking or milk truck pick ups. A farmers life is seven days a week.
In for the Night, 5×7, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
I remember I first started to look at the lights in the windows of farm houses was when I was little. We would be driving home from an autumn walk in the country and at dusk all the lights would be on in the houses and barns along the road. You could see the farmers in the barns with light coming out the open doors. The back porch lights would be on and the kitchens would be ablaze with light. Sometimes I would see a light on in a second story window. When I was in college I would drive home through the country side after classes . I remember the farms would have the same lights on every evening when I drove by. The farmers would be doing chores in the barns every day at the same time as I went home. There was a repetition and harmony to the day and the chores on a farm. I loved it. It was so connected to the earth and the seasons.
Night Light and Stars, 6×12, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
I used to always drive by this farm on the hill and think about how beautiful it was. One day when I was passing by the owner was out mowing his lawn. I stopped and told him how much I loved his place and how I would always look at it. I asked if I could come by and paint it sometime. He said yes and took me on a tour of the barn that was built in the 1600’s and moved to this field by oxen from another location miles away. The beams in this barn are huge and amazing. It is 400 years old now and will last for hundreds of more years. The big old trees they cut to make these beams do not grow around here any more. I’d love to come home to this farm.
Almost Bedtime, 6×12, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
In autumn when the air is cold and crisp the nighttime moon shadows are sharp and clear and everything seems so bright. Out on the back roads of my country town there are many old farm houses dating from the late 1800’s. The owners have lovingly restored them and kept them in great shape. I often wish my house was of this vintage, but for now I’m content to go out and paint the ones that catch my eye. These old farm houses are some of our cherished architecture that gives New England its Yankee character and make it look as wonderful as it does.
Dinnertime, 6×12, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
The lights in the cottage on the edge of the cove went on shortly after dark and I immediately knew the owners had arrived home for dinner. With these gorgeous autumn sunsets and twilight setting in so early dinner time and preparing for dinner is almost at the onset of darkness. In summer, which was just such a short time ago we’d be having supper in the sunshine, unless I was painting a summer moonrise which wouldn’t happen till 9 pm. Then dinner was at 10pm.
Night Lake, 5×7, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH
As night moved in the warm lights in the lakeside cottage windows glowed in the growing darkness. The moon grew brighter and brighter as the sky turned a deep blue. It was quiet. The temperature started to drop and the cool night air made me reach for a sweater while a slight breeze moved the surface of the water in the cove.
Quiet Night, 6×12, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH.