Saturday, December 9, 2017

Coastal Update

The forest floor looks very different here! 

Days here in my new environment are zooming along, although finding a place to settle is taking its sweet time. I told someone the other day I feel as though I'm still collecting "dots"... and that when I have enough to start connecting them I hope the picture will resolve...

Until then... well. I'm staying quite busy with other adventures (in addition to the home and studio search).

Long time Brush and Baren readers will know that one of the reasons I have shifted my home base to Maine is my connection with several National Audubon Society projects: Hog Island Audubon Camp, the Audubon Artist Residency, Project Puffin, and now Mad River Decoy.

My twin-sister-from-different-genetic-stock Sue is tangled up in all these things, too, and it was her idea that the life-size Least Tern decoys she produces for conservation projects would also make lovely tree toppers, if only they had the proper holiday garb.

Least Tern Tree Toppers available at the Project Puffin website

So of course we set about crafting costumes for terns. Because that's what one does.

I've also been to New York! The state, not the City, although that's not too far away, either. The purpose of the trip was two-fold: Firstly, the 70th birthday party of an Audubon colleague. (That's Pete in the pink and black boa at right, buddy Artie in the black hat.)

And it turns out that friend, colleague, and master oil painter Jim Coe lives just an hour-and-a-half north of the birthday boy! So I toddled on up to Jim's place to visit him for the first time in his home habitat.

It was an eye-opening moment! Everywhere I looked I felt as though I were standing in one of Jim's paintings, a testament both to his craft and to his relationship with his surroundings.

A view towards the Catskills and a barn that has featured in several Coe paintings

Back in Maine I continue to explore my own unfamiliar surroundings. Thanksgiving morning I put on my new blaze orange hat (a necessity for walking in the Maine woods in the autumn, apparently) and made my way down to the shore at the LaVerna Preserve, which is just a few minutes from where I'm staying. Nice, eh?

But of course it's not all sunshine and shorelines here. The weather has been getting increasingly colder and grayer... and today we're having our first real snow of the season.

First snow in Pemaquid

I did finally get out my journal and make a little drawing yesterday, and I'm planning to spend some quality time with my sketchbook this evening. It gets VERY dark VERY early here... Sunset today is at 4:03pm. Interestingly (to me), even though the darkness continues to lengthen for another 10 days or so, TODAY is the very earliest the sun will set. Sure, it will come up a bit later in the morning, but tomorrow's sunset is 4:04! Hey! We're already in the Improving Zone!

So... I'll continue to press on... and perhaps have some sketches to show you later this week! I ordered some paper and fresh lino, which arrived this past week, so maybe I'll get something small and manageable underway. Until then... it's time to make a hot cup of tea and watch my first Maine snow come down!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pecha Kucha Night Midcoast

Hey! I know that linocut! Photo by Michael O'Neill

Hard to believe it's already been a week since I launched my new Maine chapter by participating in the Pecha Kucha Night in Camden. The presentation videos went live yesterday, and I'm happy to share mine here for Brush and Baren fans far and wide. All the presenter videos are linked at Vimeo, if you'd like to get a feel for the entire event. Thanks to Ned Lightner of Belfast Community Media for video recording and production.