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Spring Comes to Perkins Cove

It was a typical spring day on the coast.  A  huge fog bank drifted in over the land then moved out to sea along with the tide.
Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine is shifting gears from its quiet winter season…

…to the popular summer hot spot it has become.

Everywhere, boats were getting ready for the season.


I  was so busy sketching I didn’t notice the name on this sail boat until Marcus pointed it out…”Quick Draw”.  
This tiny protected harbor has a fleet of lobstermen who are active all year.

The boats were returning from their morning run. 


Traps were piled on the docks. Lobstermen were loading new traps onto their boats.

Freshly loaded and ready to go for tomorrow morning!


Perkins Cove was created by connecting a man-made trench from the Josias River to the sea.

I sat on a bench sketching on Fish Cove, the original harbor the fishermen used. 

Fishermen liked Perkins Cove, and so did artists. In the 1890’s Charles Woodbury founded a popular summer art colony in Ogunquit. His great grand children still live near the cove. 

Perkins Cove used to be busy with fishermen and artists working and selling their art to summer visitors.  Now the former fish houses are little tourists shops.
Marginal Way. 6×6 watercolor, Rives BFK

This is my watercolor kit for the day. Two small color sets and a tiny water jar. I can carry everything in one hand and my pocket.

There are so many tourists in the summer that artists can only easily paint in the cove off season… the town limits the amount of time you can park here during the summer. 

Using my water-filled brush makes quick sketching easier.
Rocks, Perkins Cove. Lobstermen Parking
6×6 watercolor, Rives BFK.  

The S.S. Crusher is the town’s ice breaker. What a face! It is used on cold winter mornings to open the harbor so the boats can go out. In winter the cove freezes overnight because there is so much fresh water flowing into it from the river.
The landing above the docks offered a great view of the cove.

Fred, the harbor master, built his own boat last winter. 
I quickly sketched a few boats. 

The cove has a pedestrian draw bridge. It is the only user operated drawbridge of its type in the US.

The sun came out for a couple of hours drying the watercolors nicely !

Moored in a row. 4×6 watercolor, Rives BFK 
Michelle V. 6×6 watercolor, Rives BFK.
Baby Jess. 6×6 watercolor, Rives BFK.

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The Weather Outside is Frightful…

 Who cares?  I’ve had way too many times when I questioned my judgement while heading out to paint on one of those gray, moody days with all kinds of things threatening … then I saw the most amazing things!  So we packed lunch and headed out on a dark day to paint…

Parsons Beach treated us to some great frothy surf and big wind!

On the other side of the dunes the colors of the grasses and old drift wood were lucious.

Jane stopped right in the road and started to sketch.  

The tide was rolling in filling all the marshes around us. 

The wind picked up and the temperature really started to drop.  Jane’s water colors froze …BUT… the artist is the master of invention.. Jane put her paper and paint on the hood of her warm car and viola nice workable paints and a nice dryer to boot!   

With four hours of daylight left we went to a favorite spot on Pine Point. 

Nice, with summer over ….everyone is gone except the occasional painter and a few fishermen.

The harbormaster’s office looked very quiet. 


The rain and the fog rolled in making for even a nicer mood. I was painting with my easel inside my car with the tailgate open.  Jane found a nice over hang on the deck of the Rising Tide that kept her out of the rain.  

The tide was now going out, fog was rolling over the marshes and the boats which were floating in the water when we arrived now rested on firm sand.

The wind changed direction. The rain started to blow. Jane moved into her car to paint…

…a cluster of boats moored off the dock.

Our last stop before we left was at the Pine Point Fisherman’s Coop. They packed up a nice box of lobsters for Jane to take back home for all those family members longing for a taste of Maine… 

I love my neighborhood ! I can always count on the seacoast to offer color, mood and fast changing weather. Paintings from this trip to be posted soon on PAINT, EAT, SLEEP.
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Big Wind on Bailey’s Island

My friend Jane Ramsey arrived a few days ago for her first visit to Maine.  Where do you take someone who has never been to Maine?   We had only 4 days. I tried my best. 
 Everyday we painted at 2 different locations.  Every night we returned to base camp at my house on the southern seacoast. We headed out early and painted till dark. We painted marshes, harbors, fish shacks, historic neighborhoods, rocky coastline and big weather.  Mackerel Cove on Bailey’s Island is a favorite spot of mine. There’s this little tiny house on the edge of the cove that is a perfect summer getaway.

Its right on the the beach. The full moon high tide left seaweed tracks up on the front lawn. 

The fishermen pull their boats out of the water and park them on the edge of the beach  at this time of the year.  The weather is getting too rough for the small boats. 

The wind was so strong this day the lobster boats hadn’t gone out.  If you got behind a pile of traps you could paint, there was no wind!   Strange… you could hear the wind whistle through them.

The 2 sides of the house away from the water still had paint on the shingles.  If you live on the water you have to paint the ocean side of the house often, the weather just wears it out. 

The wind got stronger. This was Marcus’ first time out painting in high wind conditions.  He had to set up and sketch behind the open the car door the wind was so strong.   

The owner of these dories came by and told me how he used them to fish for herring in the coves.  These boats are huge. The look like the dories in Winslow Homer’s paintings ! A company in Rockland Maine makes them out of fiberglass.  

Jane and I were set up behind our cars.  The wind was blowing at least 30 – 40 mph. We were fine if we stayed in our 4 ft wind free area. 

The weathered shingles….

The temperature started to drop after lunch.  Jane was working in watercolors, I was painting with oils. Her paints began to freeze. She took out hand warmers and placed them under her palette to thaw them out… it worked. 

I’m laying in my sketch of the house. I have ear warmers on under my sun hat…I’m warm and cozy… 

The rough sketch in burnt sienna…  

The wind started changing direction.  I was laying in color, the light was changing fast and I was not about to stop.  I had to grab my easel when a gust hit it. 
Marcus went out on the beach to sketch a good view of the dories.

The front came plowing through, we finished our paintings and headed over to lands end for sunset sketches. So much to paint and so little time!
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Painting the Perfect Maine Island

The ferry ride from Rockland, Maine to the island of Vinalhaven is about an hour and 15 minutes long. When you get there you feel like you’ve traveled back in time about 30 years.
You can’t figure out why. Its a funny feeling you can’t quite put your finger on.  First of all there are only about 1300 people on the whole island…. the town is full of old New England houses and the views are quintessential coast of Maine. 
 
I went here to paint as a friend recommended it as “untouched”, “the real Maine”.  I’ve been to Monhegan painting … this is the real deal…a Maine plein air  paradise!
  There was so much to paint.  It was a visual overload.  Every view had that wonderful Maine flavor.  Old granite docks, fish shacks, houses clustered against the rocky hillside, a multitude of  tiny islands strewn across the bay and those spiky pine trees everywhere.  
When we arrived on a Monday afternoon- the Main Street was quiet & empty…  No people, no cars.   The ferry terminal gave us a map so we could find our way around.  Good thing as there was no one to ask if we were lost…
The town dock and the harbor were the only places that showed signs of life.  Boats were coming in with the day’s catch and  pickup trucks were all lined up at the dock waiting for their owners.  

I headed off immediately to scout out painting locations.  The island is sprinkled with old granite quarries. It’s famous for its granite. The Washington Monument, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine are built of Vinalhaven granite.
It has this wonderful variety of islands of all shapes and sizes. 
Pointy dark green pines grow on any bit of earth on top of all this rock. 
Docks and wharves are built of solid granite making you think you are walking on land then you realize its a man made peninsula…
Every jagged edge of coast line around the southern protected harbor is full of fish shacks and busy docks. 
Big round boulders of granite sit on ledges and are scattered across islands.
Every paved road turns into a dirt road that becomes a dead end with a gorgeous view of a harbor, another island or the mainland.  
At low tide Carvers Pond empties into Carvers Harbor and makes a sound like the rapids of a big river. 
When evening comes the town is dark and quiet, only one third of the houses light up.  That’s when you see how few people there really are here…  
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Real Lobstermen like Art

My friend Libby told me I had to go and paint up in Friendship, Maine.  Well, she is right.  Its a gorgeous place, a busy working year round harbor and the people you find there are gems.

These are photos from my scouting trip up there this spring.  The harbor is awesome. The bay is sprinkled with islands. I’m heading back up there to paint next week. I’ll post what it looks like in summer!


I invited my sister Marcia with me on this trip so she could see a bit of Maine off the beaten track.   Lib took us to all her favorite places.  We started with Martins Point. This worn out house with its freshly painted boat was a Maine classic.

This is the town dock. The gray building has a workshop in the back of it where someone is painting lobster buoys .  They hang from the rafters like icicles.

Meet Derek and Vincent.  They are lobstermen out of Friendship.  Derek owns a nice big lobster boat and offered to take me out for a trip to the islands for a 12 pack of beer.  These guys work very hard.


The place was packed with dories.
The wharves were lined up one after the other as far as you could see. The harbor was packed with working boats. A lot of people fish out of this port.
 Derek & Vincent liked my sketches.  They had an eye for art.  They jumped out of the truck to get a closer look at my sketchbook. They both knew Andrew Wyeth.They went to parties at his house and Derek took care of an island for him. They know everyone around there and on all the islands.  Derek informed us that Vincent in his younger years was famous for being a champion athlete – best in the State. Derek lives simply, he doesn’t have a computer or phone at his house.  He does have electricity, an alarm clock and a cell phone though.

I set up and sketched like mad before the sun set.  I loved this  lobster trap table I found – it was the perfect  height for me! I am looking forward to next week.