Paint Schoodic

Join us in Acadia National Park in August. Click here for more information.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Schoodic puts on a show


Acadia was shouting to us: remember to come back, please.
Sunset off Schoodic Point.
One of the things I love about teaching in Acadia National Park is that the weather is generally excellent. The mean August temperature is 67.3° F., with an average 2.9 inches of rain. That’s as close to perfect as one can get for plein air painting.

I’ve come to expect one day of rain during this week in the park, and we got it yesterday. It dawned foggy and dreary with rolling thunder in the distance. I usually save my lecture on color theory for this one rainy day, so we gathered in the pavilion and did a green-mixing exercise across three media. That’s good, useful, technical information, but I’m the first to admit it’s not as much fun as scampering on the rocks next to blowing surf.

Diane Leifheit focused on the fog at Wonsqueak.
The rain cleared off after lunch. We went to tiny Wonsqueak Harbor. This is just an outlet of a brook. It used to have a single disreputable fishing boat in it, but now is just a few empty moorings collecting seaweed. It’s anything but boring. The channel is lined with rosy-pink granite rocks and deep spruces. Spruce Point and myriad ledges play peekaboo in the mist.

Trees at Frazer Point by Linda Delorey.
Across the channel, a man in wellies collected mussels for his dinner. I watched him working, musing on a small coda I might add to the story of Creation. God created the Continents using a rolling pin. As he got to the edges, the crust inevitably began to crumble, as pie crusts do. He put deep piles of top-soil on his creation, and it tapered off at the edge, as can happen with toppings in baking. The North Atlantic coast was kind of an afterthought, filled with detritus—tumbles of rock, lousy topsoil, spruce trees.

God created Man, and he put him in the most gardenlike spot on the Continent in order that Man might have a life of ease and pleasure. Instead, Man immediately wandered off to the coast.

“Why?” asked God. “I gave you everything you need in Des Moines, Iowa.”

“But it’s beautiful here on the edges!” exclaimed Man, “plus the fishing is awesome.” 

Wonsqueak rocks by Becky Bense.
Three of my students painted the exact same view of rocks across the channel. I’ve included them here, because their paintings are a lesson in how differently each person sees. We worked fast, because soon enough it was time for our lobster bake, followed by blueberry cobbler with fresh whipped cream. In August, Maine is a foodie paradise.
Wonsqueak rocks by Claudia Schellenberg.
As we left our feast, the clouds were piling in the sky to the west. We were headed for our final critique when two students disappeared. “Come to the Point, now!” they frantically texted. It took a bit of convincing, but we careened down to Schoodic Point in our cars. 

Wonsqueak rocks by Jennifer Johnson.
There, on the lee side of the storm, was the most fantastic sky ever. We stood there in awe until a last smattering of raindrops urged us on our way. Schoodic was shouting to us: remember to come back, please.

I teach this workshop every August. If you’re interested in the 2019 program, email me.

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