The last day of a plein air festival always ends in a kerfuffle. “There’s always drama in framing,” said Ted Lameyer of Castine, who went on to tell me how he didn’t have the right mats and had to swap some from other framed paintings. For me, the drama was simpler: a cracked frame. But I still used every second of the four hours I’d allotted myself to frame my six paintings. (The others can be seen here.)
Two things were different about Castine Plein Air this year. The first was that we were limited to six works. That shifted the focus to quality instead of quantity, and the paintings were deeper. We artists greeted each other with, “how many do you have finished?” or, “I’ve got four; how about you?” There are fast painters and slow painters, and I’m among the latter. I didn’t finish my sixth until the morning of the show.
The second difference was the number of people strolling around the village for the express purpose of meeting and watching the artists. I met a couple from Oklahoma, a woman from Ottawa, and a lovely couple from Frederick, MD. They had all come for this event and were passionately interested in the process of art-making, rather than just the final result.
My hosts have a lovely pile of rocks in their front garden. It was too idiosyncratic to paint for the show, but I wanted to paint it just for myself. After I handed in my paintings, Berna and I sat at the end of her driveway and had a glass of wine while I painted. Various neighbors and friends stopped to chat. Michael Chesley Johnson, who was staying next door, drove past.
“Where are you going?” I asked, after the usual badinage.
“To the presentation of awards. It’s at 3:30,” he responded.
Whoops! I was filthy, my kit needed to be packed up, and it was already 3:03. It took me exactly 16 minutes to shower and change, although I did forget a few things, like my business cards and makeup.
After the sale, I learned how to make baked scallops. Two friends got their recipe from the same native Mainer. Depending on which you ask, you dip them in either milk or melted butter, roll them in crumbled Ritz crackers, do or do not drizzle butter on top, and then bake at either 350° or 400°. They were absolutely delicious, and that recipe has enough latitude for even me to follow.
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in August 2015. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.