I woke on Saturday, anxious to get back to painting. Allen's motorcycle was pointed home and I was headed in the opposite direction - Lubec, Maine. I had been told that the best Maine lighthouse was at Quoddy Head State Park, facing the islands of Canada and just ten minutes from one of my dearest friends and relatives, cousin Steph.
I got to the park by eleven, expecting the place to be deserted, as I'd taken the only road north, turned on the only road east and stopped at the end of a long peninsula. But it was "open lighthouse day" and there was already a line of people waiting to climb to the top.
No wonder - the lighthouse is a beautiful, old, brick structure, built in 1898 (replacing the original 1808 building). It is on the easternmost point of land in the US, stretching into the Bay of Fundy. I made the wise decision to go inside the house and look at art by some of the best known Maine painters. Edward Hopper's reproduction caught my eye as a good way to solve the compositional problems of capturing such a monolithic form.
I was nervous. I hadn't painted for six days and I was a bit tired after the week's vacation and a two hour drive (the Honda felt like a luxury mansion compared to the motorcycle, though I missed the bite of wind and the rush of fear that riding it engenders).
I walked partway down the hill, found the closest spot that was out of the cool breeze and unfolded my easel. Putting colors on the palette made me feel more confident. I began to draw with thinned paint. I ran the tower's spire off the top of the canvas, right of center, and let just a portion of the attached house show. (Thank you, Hopper!) Drawing took a lot of focus, as there is no faking a lighthouse. But, once it was done, I could relax and fill in color.
Throughout this process, people stopped to talk in a nice, easy-mannered way. Most began by asking if they could take a look. Some wanted to speak of their own endeavors and others were genuinely curious about my motivation and methods. I went from feeling like a performing monkey to enjoying the flow of humanity.
The whole thing went pretty well, given its challenging nature. I stayed three hours. I used a big paintbrush and once the canvas was covered, I packed up. No good can come of overworking a wet painting! I think the values are accurate and I hope I can retain the freshness once I clean it up a bit and throw in a tad more detail.