Maine: Day Trip North


"Red Boat", by Robert Leedy, 2008, watercolor on Arches 140 lb. Cold Press paper

"Red Boat", by Robert Leedy, 2008, watercolor on Arches 140 lb. Cold Press paper, 10.5" x 14.5" (unfinished)


 Friday was the last day of the first week of the workshop. Barbara Sroka & I decided to take a painting trip Saturday up to Mount Desert Island which is about an hour-and-a-half north of Rockland. Barbara is a friend and fellow student of David Dewey. She is a long-time attendee of David’s Maine workshops and is usually here every time I’m up here.

We left around 5 a.m. hoping to catch early sunlight though contrary to good forecasts, the fog never really fully broke until well into the afternoon. We stopped in Bar Harbor and ate a breakfast of blueberry pancakes.

The fog was still hanging in so we drove west across the island to Southwest Harbor. An art show was going on downtown and we killed some more time waiting for the weather to clear. After an hour, we found the harbor and scouted out a good painting spot. We made some polite permissions and were granted free run of the dock and marina.

We were both interested in a small brilliant green boathouse on a floating dock. Barbara chose to paint it with emphasis on complementary reds while I changed my attention to a small boat with a bright red hull that had some amazing color influences on the objects around it (see above painting). The fog was still there but we both dealt with it. We were up pretty high on a dock and we had an excellent vantage point of the harbor and passing boats. We kept our cameras busy and we saw all sorts of potential subject matter.

We also did a smart thing: we set challenges and stuck to them. First it was a time limit then it was to pull off multiple paintings. It was an interesting way to work and maximize our time there.

Serious painting makes you hungry. We then set off for more painting locations but stopped in Bass Harbor for a quick look and then on to Bernard for a lobster roll at Thurston’s. I was surprised to run into a guy wearing a Florida Gators baseball cap and we talked about – well, what else: the Gators.


"Fishing Lesson", by Robert Leedy, 2008, watercolor on Arches Hot Press paper

"Fishing Lesson", by Robert Leedy, 2008, watercolor on Arches Hot Press paper, 15" x 11.25"

 By now the sun was fully burning. Barbara and I set off for a drive up the west side of the island and found a nice location at Bartlett’s Landing. There were some small, colorful prams which Barbara painted and I tackled the task of figures. Two or three people were fishing and were silhouetted by the afternoon sun. I began painting and made the mistake of telling them. One of the guys was a little bothered by it and eventually left. Another man and his son arrived and the man was coaching his young son on the art of fishing. It was a father & son bonding time and kind of neat to hear dad pointing out the finer skills of casting and baiting hooks. The boy caught a small fish and it was an exciting moment for the two of them. I listened to the dialogue and enjoyed my painting with the lapping of waves and the sound of seagulls in the background.


Robert painting "Fishing Lesson" at Bartlett's Landing, Maine, August 2008, photo by Barbara Sroka.

Robert painting "Fishing Lesson" at Bartlett's Landing, Maine, July 2008, photo by Barbara Sroka.

We left for our journey back home and stopped along the way to photograph things that caught our eyes.

We made it to Camden and had a late dinner around 9:30 p.m.  I dropped off Barbara who had an early flight back to New York the next morning. I made it back to the Craignair and collapsed in exhaustion. I awoke in the middle of the night and a cool sea breeze was drafting through my room.

What a great way to sleep in late July!

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