This site has been very, very good to me. . .something about the stacked layers of rocks and water going straight out to the horizon that is visually compelling. Right now in late June and just past the longest day it’s like a desert down there on the rocks, but I took a long hike along the shore on Mother’s Day when the snow still extended down to the water’s edge and made the start to this painting.
By popular request, here are some details. . . the far reaches are under water at high tide and are covered in rockweed and barnacles, turning them a lovely warm sepia color even in the dead of winter.
Detail of the rotten snow along the tide line:
And finally, the drawing stage from the site. This is Ivory Black oil on a tinted board.
Days 3 and 4: hiking trails that end at a 100′ drop, weird characters on the library keyboard, lemon cream blue berry pie, seals, Hole in the Wall, herring weirs, Fish Head, hiking trails that end abruptly at a 200′ drop, having Eel Brook Beach all to ourselves and the constant hum of the ferry, just off shore.
My friend Susan and I gathered seaweed today. The weather was bright and cool, not too warm for hard work, and we’re still pre-mosquito season. We arrived at 1:00 p.m., dead low tide, for the best picking – wet seaweed is incredibly heavy while the stuff that’s had half a day to dry is just like paper. The tide here runs about 12′, from the dark wet rocks on the right to dry weed on the left of the photo. The channel runs deep and fast by this beach and alternates between leaving huge bunkers of seaweed behind and scrubbing it all away, even taking the rosa rugosa that divide the sand from the freshwater swamp just inland, that today was filled with bright green skunk cabbages.
Most of what we gathered today is Dulse, palmaria palmata, loaded with sand and brine shrimp (which the robins will eat for the first few days). The fronds will decay quickly in the garden and add minerals and nutrients. And it gives us a great excuse to go to the beach.
Finally off the easel: pastel, 18″ x 24″, a view down one of the many roads to the working waterfront in Southwest Harbor.
Road to the Harbor
There are still many small houses here, even with the water so close at hand. It was a quiet Saturday afternoon, and along with a couple walking their dogs and distant flocks of gulls I saw a winter hare, a fox and a racoon.
Stonington Dock, July
We have 10″ of new snow, heavy and wet and bending the spruce tree branches to the ground. This drawing is from a hot late summer afternoon in Stonington harbor that smelled like seaweed and motor oil and gave me a sunburn right through my SPF50 and a straw hat. Welcome to Maine. . .