|We’ll be holding our own ‘improving’ workshop again next August. This is the Dyce Head Lighthouse in Castine, ME, painted by me.|
“You wrote, ‘And as with so many things in 19th century America, the vacation was tied up with religious reform,’” an alert reader wrote me yesterday. “What does that mean?”
Ours is a country prone to religious revival. Historians call those periods our ‘Great Awakenings’. America experienced a Third Great Awakening from the middle of the 19th century until the early 20th century. This particular revival had a strong dose of social activism in its nature. The three greatest movements of the 19th century all sprang from this religious impulse: abolition, temperance, and women’s suffrage. So too did the early middle-class getaways, the Chautauqua movement.
The first Chautauqua was organized as a training camp for Methodist Sunday school teachers. This outdoor summer school format grew so popular that it was copied all over the country in the form of ‘daughter’ Chautauquas.
These were far more than religious tent revivals. They offered lecturers, theatrical readings, music, art, and more. When Theodore Roosevelt called them “the most American thing in America,” he was correct, for they enshrined the American do-it-yourself spirit of bringing learning to places that were too small, too remote, too new for established culture.
The Lyceum Magazine advised members to continue to challenge popular amusements with improving ones, even in time of war.
Having taught painting for a long time, I know that this love of learning is engrained in us. Speaking of which, I have fixed the year on my workshop brochure.
|Lunch break, Castine Maine, Carol L. Douglas|
The real dates are August 9-14, 2015. Dramatic, inspirational Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park will be our base. This is the quiet side of Acadia, far from the hustle of Bar Harbor, but with the same dramatic rock formations, pounding surf, and stunning mountain views that make Acadia a worldwide tourist destination.
Of course, all skill levels and media are welcome. From beginner to advanced, in watercolor, oils, acrylics, pastels — bring any or all with you. Because bringing family along was so popular in 2014, we’ve arranged to make it possible this year, too.
|Water Street View, Castine, ME, by Carol L. Douglas|