Wednesday, August 17, 2011

o canada

 Daisy shot this photo in an underpass on our way to a ferry in St. John, New Brunswick, as
we made a brisk loop in down east Canada to visit friends and family in early August.

Even on vacation, my radar was fixed on whales. I sketched this on the 3 hour trip across the Bay of Fundy.

I drew from a large poster of whales, awaiting a talk about the Bay of Fundy ecozone, in which humpbacks are the most common whale species. Brian, from the New Brunswick Museum, gave an informative talk, and passed around several samples of baleen, the brushy teeth-like parts that line a humpback's mouth.

We had hopes of spotting whales, but alas, did not. Back inside again, the cabin was filled with sleepy passengers lulled by the ocean. I drew this dreaming lady.

Once we landed in Digby, Nova Scotia, we headed up the picturesque French coast, past churches and lighthouses, coves and pastures. We landed at Nicole d'Entremont's, a part-time Peaks Islander whose ancestors founded the village of Pubnico. I did a quick sketch of her while she told stories.

She gave us a grand tour of the area, beginning with birthplaces of great great great grandfathers and then the startlingly modern Pubnico Point Wind Farm. We'd seen the turbines from a distance, but
standing beneath their immensity brought a certain elation.

We toured Le Village Historique Acadien, a preservation site of enormous beauty and folklore. 
The blacksmith's rhythmic pounding and sparks flying mesmerized us.

 In the house next door, I spotted some fisherman's mittens, a la Ice Harbor Mittens!

Quite natural, given that nearby is the largest fishing fleet in the Northeast, where tidy boats were idle at the end of the day.

We reluctantly left Middle East Pubnico for the drive north to Halifax. Stumbling upon a UFO Musuem in Shag Harbor, we wondered if the Doctor had been there. It was just the odd diversion that made the trip amusing as well as scenic.

Once in Halifax, we toured another historic landmark, the Citadel, which boasts panoramic views of the harbor, as well as regalia inside the fort.

While in reach of the internet, I did a bit of work, sketches for Maine Magazine. The hotel bed made a handy studio.

From there, we headed to Hogan turf, over in Young's Cove, where my great great grandfather, George Fox Hogan, was born in 1867. My cousins Peg and Tom Reinfuss are now the stewards of the cabin build by my grandfather, Roland Bell Hogan, in 1934. Good news: now there is electricity and running water inside. Outside, torrents of rain cascaded down Hogan Brook.

It all runs into the Bay of Fundy, the world's highest tides ecozone. Totally awesome view from the cabin.

The day's weather had kept us mostly inside, perfect for sketching Peg and Tom's gentle dog, Max.

During dinner with more cousins, Danny and Nathalie, we heard a bit of a story, Me and Hap, written by my grandfather, which details his boyhood adventures in the Maritimes. Some day we'll get this published, but for now, it's full of another time and place, along with his lovely illustrations.

As we journeyed home on a big ferry and then another small one, I felt deep satisfaction in touching the family legacy of place, with wonder and gratitude.

Daisy and I immediately busied ourselves with participating in the Fifth Maine's annual Art on the Porch. Any coincidence this was her newest piece?

Now it's back to the drawing table, along with a string of library visits. I'll be at the Thomas Memorial Library this Thursday (egads, tomorrow) and ferrying over to Long Island bright and early on Friday. 

It's the seafaring life for this salty illustrator.

Monday, August 1, 2011

moto Maine

I love Maine. The state, the sea, the magazine. Above is my illustration that appears in the August issue for a wellness column about surfing in Maine. Something I've always wanted to try, but meanwhile it's hard enough to squeeze in time for even one hobby, motorcycling.

We like to take moto trips to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and since moving here in '92 we've generally stayed right in Maine, exploring this big ole state. This year we didn't go far. After a detour to Street Cycles to get new helmets, we stopped back in town at the Blue Spoon for lunch, where I had this lovely backdrop for my sweet GB 500.

We rode down the coast past marshes and shorelines to the Cape Arundel Inn. Arriving a bit soaked by a late afternoon shower, we were nonetheless delighted by the gorgeous gardens and views.

Somebody made sure there was a bouquet of roses awaiting! The best part was having leisure time to draw them the next morning, with sunshine. Thank you, Marty!

Next on the agenda was some art viewing. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is an amazing destination, perched overlooking Narrow Cove, and surrounded by an unforgettable sculpture garden.

A striking installation by ceramicist Susan Schultz focused on a theme I've encountered a lot lately:
what washes up on the beach. In her series called Plastic Ocean, she collects flotsam, then creates porcelain pieces based on actual plastic shapes, and makes sculptures of them.

Here's a close-up:

Interesting when it's all one color, a la Nevelson, it captures an unlikely beauty that the real trash does not. As one who walks the beach daily, I find my share of flotsam. I pick it up and put it in the trash bin where it belongs. This artist has a whole different approach, painstaking, altering, and altogether dramatizing.

With whales on my brain, I walked out to the garden and spied this, by Cabot Lyford.

I'm just finishing "The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea" by Philip Hoare. It's a sobering read, about the centuries of whale hunting, and the current pollution of plastic and sonar that continues to threaten whales. Yet the unseen mystery of whales enthralls me.

The next day, we toured the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells. It's a mostly shaded walk along a salt marsh, educational and sublime.

I am mesmerized by the undulations of tidal creeks. This is a pastel I did a couple of years ago, titled "Sanctuary."

I think I need to do more, based on the vistas preserved in the name of Rachel Carson. But first,
back to the drawing board, and humpbacks.

Also, tomorrow I am reading Seven Days of Daisy for the final program of the Peaks Island Library's summer reading program. Jellyfish sandwiches, here we come!