Monday, June 25, 2012

Are you a Rusticator?

Late in the afternoon after painting at Grimes Cove in Boothbay, I arrived at Sprucewold Lodge located on the quiet side of Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  I had no interest in staying on the heavily commercial side of Boothbay.  My only lodging pleasure was to be deep in the spruce woods.  Besides, I was only a few minutes' drive from the wharfs and harbor for painting pleasure.  But if material needs arose, there was access to the bustling town via a sturdy pedestrian bridge which offers great views of the scenic and lobster boat packed harbor.

While staying at Sprucewold for two nights, I had experienced a Rusticator's get away.  Rusticator is a word which defines the summer urban tourist from Boston and NYC who between 1840 and 1920's traveled by train, boarded steamboats to sample a few weeks of rustic country life and a whiff of fresh air along coastal Maine.  The lodge, Sprucewold, built in the early 1920's is one of the last remaining Rusticator lodges east of the Mississippi.  Think of western US lodges built by the Great National Railroad in the early 1900's to entice tourists to the Rocky Mountains and away from traveling abroad to see the Great Alps of Europe.  Although Sprucewold is much, much smaller in scale of concept and design, it is alluring and relevant enough to want to re-live a bit of Maine's coastal history with a lodging reservation.

Many 19th century Victorians obtained their first sampling of the area's scenic beauty from attending the big cities exhibitions of paintings by the likes of Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, Fritz Henry Lane and other famed Hudson River Painters who painted along the Maine's coast especially Mt Desert, Cranberry Island, and Monhegan Island. 

Just as the Victorians brought along their butlers, maids, nannies to support their accustom urban way of life while at the same time enjoying the benefits of the ''rustic' life, I too was treated to a pot of coffee served on the porch each morning, a delicious cooked breakfast of my choosing (blueberry pancakes, yum!) as well as the availability of Wi-Fi, cell phone coverage, and 70" wide, hi-def television for watching the Red Sox battle the Miami Marlins in the evenings.  I also enjoyed being surrounded by rustic architectural features of hand-hewed beams and logs, white birch chandeliers, bent wood furnishings and a vast collection of antique games and other household bric-brac.

...and while sipping my morning coffee on the open porch each morning, I delighted in the sightings of a flock of wild turkeys foraging in the under-brush nearby.

CLYDE FARRIN'S HOUSE,corner of Lobster Cove Road and Atlantic
With the beautiful weather and scenic Boothbay at my call, I painted outdoors during the day and dined in the evening at the wharf eating freshly shucked oysters and boiled lobsters while enjoying the sun setting over the harbor from the quiet side of Boothbay.
HARBOR SUNSET from Boothbay Lobster Wharf for info regardng Sprucewold Lodge

A must read:
The Lobster Coast, Rusticators and the Struggle for a Forgotten Coast by Colin Woodard

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cripple Cove, Gloucester

Yesterday, I traveled to Rocky Neck, Gloucester to do some painting.  I found an ideal spot called Cripple Cove along 127A well before Rocky Neck Art Colony.  I guess what attracted me first was PARKING!  I pulled in and took in the harbor views.  This public landing has a fenced in playground, free parking and beautiful views of the Gloucester Inner Harbor with docked fishing vessels and stacked lobster traps.

First I sketched very quickly three drawings in marker and soon found a composition I wanted to paint. I then snapped a few photos for future references. The chosen composition has strong verticals in the foreground representing the pilings (I liked how the pilings diminished in size as they moved from the shoreline); a strong diagonal line of the dock leading into the picture plane with two boats located on a horizontal band in center of panel with lots of 'noise' in the background represented by the groupings of work sheds and trees.

Because of the clear skies and bright sunshine, there was an abundance of color, color, color.
I couldn't help but paint those loud fluorescent  reds and orange buoys... oh, and throw in some cad yellow for the lobster traps.

A gal from Manchester stopped by and painted  with watercolors the same scene but without the pilings and dock in foreground.  Everyone who stopped by remarked on what a gorgeous day it was to be out and about.   Amen.