|My painting of the Dyce Head Light from last year.|
Because I can count on my fingers, I was distressed to read that artist Bobbi Heath is going to be on crutches for the next eight weeks. That brings us perilously close to Castine Plein Air, where she and 40 other fantastic artists (including me) will be painting from July 23 to 25.
This is the third annual Castine Plein Air Festival, and in that short time, it’s shot to the top of my favorites list, right up there with the Rye Art Center’s Painters on Location. It’s not just because my friends are going to be there, although that’s certainly part of it.
|Me, painting at Oakum Bay (Courtesy of Castine Arts Association)|
Castine sits at a commanding position at the mouth of the Penobscot River estuary. In the age of the fur trade, it controlled about 8000 square miles of prime hunting land. It was occupied by the Penobscot people, and its age of exploration opened with a visit by the Portuguese explorer Estêvão Gomes in 1524. He was followed by our old friend Samuel de Champlain in 1605. In 1669, the Mohawk raided.
|Mary Byrom, painting at Wadsworth Cove. Life’s a beach. (Courtesy of Castine Arts Association)|
No town with that kind of reach was going to be allowed to sit unmolested, and at some point, the French, Dutch, English and Americans all had their hands in.
I mention this because the town is absolutely full of historic sites. The town itself is graciously old New England, with clapboard houses skirting down to the water, the Maine Maritime Academy, the Dyce Head Light, and beautiful waterfront views everywhere. There’s even a little beach.
|I did this painting of a reenactor’s tent at the Castine Historical Society last year.|
Very few people wander across Castine by accident. It is unspoiled, but the downside of that is that accommodations are limited. So if this paint-out in an unspoiled landscape appeals to you, you should make reservationsnow.