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Foggy Day Kittery Point Harbor

Kittery Point Harbor is in a great spot. Its on the southern border of Maine, near the mouth of the Piscatisqua River across from the small island of New Castle, NH. The harbor is located in the curve of the land so all the big ship traffic is way out in the river a distance away. 

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Two Boats

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Most of the docks are empty in early spring at York Harbor. A working lobster boat and a covered sail boat are the only boats at the dock.

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Sunny Harbor, 6×8 watercolor

When I am visiting family in Florida during the winter I find it hard to believe the sun and warm water are real. Sarasota bay is a gorgeous green color and the water is so clear.

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Boat in the Channel: Cape Porpoise

In the Channel, 6×8 watercolor

The channel in the harbor at Cape Porpoise is so narrow the lobster boats have to moor in a line. Its only deep enough in one area to moor a boat at low tide. 
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Moored: Cape Porpoise Harbor

Boats and Traps, 6×8, watercolor

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In Cape Porpoise harbor there are all these floating docks with lobster traps stacked on them. Some of the docks  have little houses on them.

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Maine : Lobster Boats Waiting

 Cape Porpoise Lobster Boat 6×8 watercolor 98 lb aquarelle

There is a narrow deep channel in the harbor at Cape Porpoise. All the boats line up in channel. Sunset is a beautiful time there.
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Maine: Sturdy Workers

Two Tugs 4×6 oil on canvas panel

Huge ships are guided up the river in Portsmouth Harbor to the numerous docks to unload their important cargo. These sturdy work horses do the job.
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Friendship, Maine in December

It was a cold and gray Monday morning, a chilly 14 degrees as we headed up the coast of Maine.

When we arrived in Camden there was ice on the harbor and the schooners were wearing their winter coats. 
In the summer you can’t see the water in Camden harbor because it’s so full of pleasure boats…not true in winter.
The docks were quiet and the sky, land and water colors were muted and silvery.
I stopped by Camden Falls Gallery for a visit.  My paintings will be shown there this summer. Its namesake is a crashing waterfall at the head of this picturesque harbor.  
On our way down the peninsula to Friendship, Maine the road twisted and turned as we passed farms and rolling fields covered with fresh snow.  

In Cushing, Maine I spotted this incredible old farm. It looked like no one had touched it since the 1950’s. It is in the neighborhood of the famous Olsen farm from Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World.”

Even on a gray winter day there is nothing as beautiful as a midcoast Maine pennisula.

Friendship has a great harbor with lots of large and small islands. 

All along the edge of the harbor are docks and buildings for lobstering.

A change was coming in the weather. After an overnight snow storm and frigid morning, a warm wind started blowing off the water. 

The bright colored lobster traps glowed in the muted light.  

I walked around sketching different views.

Whitecaps appeared in the harbor. The wind really started gusting.

I knew I couldn’t set up on the docks to paint. 

The dock community in Friendship is amazing. There are all kinds of buildings on the docks out over the water.  

I parked my car near the town landing. I found a perfect spot to set up my easel out of the wind.  

Some of the fishing shacks on the docks are brand new and well kept. 

I did several sketches from the view in front of me . 

I wanted to paint the soft colors of the small islands in the harbor.

The clouds were breaking up and the sky was getting brighter.

I kept it small and simple.

There were stacks of traps everywhere with their colorful floats tied up in bunches near them.

The floats were very interesting to look at. Their colors were eye popping…

…compared to the muted blues and grays of their surroundings.

To my eyes It felt like their colors were lit up from within especially after looking at all the subtle grays of the landscape.
Even the traps which are very colorful, looked slightly grayed next to the psychedelic float colors.
The afternoon started getting brighter with spots of blue sky holes in the clouds.

The wind was still totally wild. But I didn’t care.

It was warming up. I kept painting.
There are many scenes waiting to be painted in this neighborhood. 
 A fishing shack had rows of floats hanging from the ceiling.
The docks reach out into the harbor one after the other all the way down the point. 
It looked warm and cozy inside the small lit buildings. 
Some of the shacks were heated like little houses.
Others were simpler, more like storage sheds.
It really feels like a little fishing village out there, though no one lives on the docks.

The sun set just after four.  The best and brightest light of the day came right before twilight.
As we left Friendship the Christmas lights were coming on in the village.
Someone had taken two of their boats out of the water, parked them next to their house…

…and dressed them in holiday finery !
It’s time to celebrate Christmas in Friendship, Maine.

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Weekend Warriors at Fort McClary

A battle of the The French and Indian War was reenacted at Fort McClary on Kittery Point, Maine this past weekend. 

When we stopped at the Kittery Point town dock a very strange looking vessel was pulling away from the wharf.  It was a replica of a “Jolly boat”. It had four rowers and a sail!  Its was flying a plain white flag…the flag of the naval ensign of France in 1754. 

They were sailing to Fort McClary over on the right side of the harbor where a small encampment of white tents could be seen on the grass above the rocky shingle beach…
3×4 watercolor Rives BFK

The fog was rolling in off the open ocean, obscuring the forest behind the fort’s block house. On the water visibility was fine for the invaders.  The boat landed on the shingle beach. Cannons blazed away. The harbor was filled with a volley of “booms”! It was quite exciting.

By the time we arrived at the fort the battle was almost over.  Maybe that was OK as the cannons are really loud !  As we walked down from the fort a very official looking commander was lining up the troops for the audience to inspect. 

He was an impressive looking colonial officer with an elegant uniform, a huge sword and polished knee high leather boots…

He invited the ladies in the audience to come in closer to inspect the troops; announcing loudly that some of these fine looking men were single…
These officers and soldiers were wonderful models! When they weren’t in a battle of some sort they were sitting around their encampments, relaxing or preparing meals. They were reenacting what live was like in the 1700’s …life then was very slow. 
Colonist. 8×11 watercolor on Rives BFK

Sketching these actors in their period costumes was great! Several of the French sailors had their wives traveling with them. This delightful French colonial woman explained everything she was doing as she set about preparing dinner, a stew cooked in a dutch oven over an open fire.

The sailors had a nice dinning tent with wooden furniture, hand carved wooden dishes, goblets and utensils. Everything they used was a custom made replica from the 1700s.

A new recruit was learning how to present arms. These rifles are working replicas of guns used during the French and Indian War. 

I found a wonderful sketching spot with excellent views of the fort and the sailors’ camp. 

I did a quick sketch of the block house and put in some color notes.
6×12 watercolor on Rives BFK

The weather changed rapidly. Sunny blue sky one minute and low clouds of cold, damp fog a few minutes later….

After sketching for a while my models wanted to see what I was doing…

Their costumes are custom made, historically accurate, colorful and very interesting.
French Sailor. 6×12 watercolor on Rives BFK

The conversation was fascinating.  I learned a lot about colonial life in the 1700’s, the nature of the Seven Years’ War and why these participants love doing these historical reenactments. 

Enactors camp out over night in beautiful locations and live like colonists did in the 1700’s, with no electricity, no TV, no internet. Evenings are spent with interesting people, wonderful conversation, great food, and stories of other historic encampments. Slow living! What fun! 
6×7 French Sailor. watercolor on Rives BFK

The block house at Ft McClary.
6×12 watercolor on Rives BFK

As we walked to another French and Indian camp on the other side of the fort we passed an old cannon sitting above the harbor on the ramparts. 

The French soldiers were cleaning their firearms. Everything must be ready for the next battle. They have to prepare all the gun powder packets by hand. 

The view of the harbor was intermittently obscured by fog.

Fort William and Mary in New Castle, New Hampshire sits across the mouth of the Piscataqua River from Fort McClary. These two forts were active in colonial times.  

The French sailors gathered for dinner as the tide rolled in and the fog came with it. 
Kittery Point harbor as the fog rolls in.  
3×7 watercolor on Rives BFK
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A Taste of Portsmouth & Sagamore Creek

Sagamore Creek is a great area for painting tidal water, islands, marshes, lobster boats, and historic houses…
Jane & I went for a walk around Creek Farm then headed next door to the Wentworth Cooldige  mansion where we set up… 
The house built in 1696 was the home for the first Royal governor of New Hampshire , Benning Wentworth. Its very odd looking as pieces were added on to the original structure.
The sun was warm… Jane set up on a bench on the lawn…
…with a  big view of the creek looking across to Newcastle.
Portsmouth harbor is tucked around the corner behind a piece of Newcastle that juts out into the creek.
I painted the island behind me…
….and had to set up facing the sun to keep the glare off my painting and palette or else when I get back inside the colors will be wrong…
I didn’t notice it but this ship’s anchor was huge!  Jane said “Look at the size of that anchor next to you !” I was busy painting (and keeping warm).
Since we had some daylight left we went promptly over to Prescott Park and the Portsmouth docks for another painting session.
There was loads to sketch and paint. The lobster boats were coming in for the day. 
The sun was setting behind the Strawberry Banke neighborhood.
Before it got too dark I started my sketch of the houses back lit by the yellow sky and Jane hurried to finish her sketch of the buildings on Marcy Street.  As the sun went down the temps started to drop really fast. We were happy to call it a day and head home to a nice hot dinner.