Notes from the Coast
What could be better than a week spent outdoors on the beautiful rocky coast of Maine with a group of people enthusiastic about exploring, sketching, and painting nature? Hmmm…. not much. Directing the Arts and Birding program at the Hog Island Audubon Camp near Damariscotta is a highlight of my year. Although I don’t have time to do much artwork myself, the time I spend teaching others and seeing what they produce is inspiring. I do manage a few sketches, or at least I manage to start them even if I need to finish them later. Here’s a peek inside my journal from the week with a few notes and observations.
I was excited to head to Maine in June instead of later in the summer so that I could see lupine in bloom. Alas, I was nearly too late (or the blooms came and went early), as most of the plants had already gone to seed. I searched these out in a large roadside meadow on my way to the island, before my hectic schedule kicked in.
Arts and Birding is not all about birds; the island provides a chance to explore deep spruce forests, rocky shores, mosquito-laden bogs, and salt marsh meadows. This page began as a very loose and sloppy mess of ink sketches made while standing over basins of collected creatures. Thankfully, I managed to pull it into a coherent whole while painting.
Northern Parula warblers are common on the island, but they are more often heard than seen. Their nests are equally well hidden. Veiled in beard lichen and hanging from a high branch, this pendulum nest was so well camouflaged that even when you knew where it was you could barely find it.
This was an exercise in observation and color mixing that I suggested as a sketching prompt: paint a page of watercolor swatches of the changing colors of the ocean throughout the day. You could easily do it with greens in a forest, colors in a garden, or almost any subject.
Bits and pieces. I sketched an immature bald eagle early one morning but then didn’t have a chance to return to the page. The daily schedule explains why.
COMING UP: I’m excited to share these two upcoming workshops…
IN WORDS AND ART: Sketching In Harriet’s Garden
Saturday, July 10, 3-5:30pm (in person)
The Stowe Center, Hartford, CT
TAPPING AUDUBON’S PASSION: Sketching Birds in Watercolor
Thursday, August 12, 2-5pm (via Zoom)
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH; REGISTER