Paint Schoodic

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Back in Paradise

Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park welcomes us back with its solitude and beauty.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson.
I love Schoodic Point and the Schoodic Institute, but sometimes I toy with the idea of teaching somewhere closer to civilization. Then I drive around Frenchman’s Bay, sensing, rather than seeing, the depth and intensity of it. I stop at Frazer Point, and feel the familiar springy turf under my feet. Then I remember: this is the best place to paint that I know of. And I’ve been in 49 of our fifty states and a majority of our national parks.

I drove up to Corea yesterday to see a man who lets us paint in his backyard. “Any time,” he assures me, but I won’t do it without checking in first. Last year, he surprised me by being out of town. I learned his neighbors are as fiercely protective as geese.

His mother was the mystery writer Virginia Rich. She pioneered a kind of cozy mystery that features recipes. My friend now lives in his mom’s old writing studio, behind a beautiful old general store.

“It’s untouched Maine!” my monitor, Jennifer Johnson exclaimed when we arrived. It’s not much more than a fleet of fishing boats surrounded by old houses and wharves. An old slip next to the store remains from the Down East schooner days, when fish left from these docks and sundries from Boston arrived.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson.
An artist was working along the road near Schoodic Institute. I only knew three of my students, so decided to take a chance. “Are you here for my workshop?” I asked. Turns out she wasn’t; she is a painter from Massachusetts named Victoria Templeton, and she was working on a lovely gouache.

We have the luxury of fine weather ahead. I saw no need to rush into a nocturne before we’d had at least one class. Many of my students had traveled long distances to get here. They were glad to call it an early night after dinner.

Jennifer and I tucked them in and headed out to reconnoiter. It’s always possible that the park service might have an area closed for restoration or construction. It was no trouble; there was a glorious sunset and an equally beautiful moonrise.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnson.
I normally do this earlier in the day, but I was delayed. I’d invited one of my workshop students to come to church with me in Rockport. She enthusiastically accepted. It was then that I remembered that I’d signed up to be baptized. “That might be weird,” I thought.

I was baptized as a young woman in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. This means having Holy Water sprinkled over your head with a liturgical implement called an aspergillum. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to think this wasn’t what the Bible had in mind. I’m not implying that any other person’s baptism isn’t valid. I believe that the Holy Spirit directs us in these matters.

By the time I’d changed my clothes and thrown Jennifer’s stuff into my trusty Prius, it was 1:30 PM. That cut it a little fine.

Apple Tree Swing, by Carol L. Douglas, courtesy Kelpie Gallery.
Even that wasn’t the beginning of my day. Before church, I drove to South Thomaston to deliver Apple Tree Swing to the Kelpie Gallery. What a difference a frame makes! This one was built from chops from Omega Moulding; it was wicked expensive and worth every penny.

Of course, I was there long before the gallery opened for the day. What do gallerists do when they’re not talking art? They weed the crabgrass out from around their signs. Art—like every other career path—has its moments of glamour and its moments of hard slog.


Unknown said...

The apple tree is so perfectly composed. Reminds me of the cherry tree and swing set with lake view in Piseco. PS Frame is perfect.

Carol Douglas said...

Thank you!