Playing scales

"Twilight on my stone wall," by Carol L. Douglas

“Twilight on my stone wall,” by Carol L. Douglas

I was in Hannaford yesterday when I realized I wanted to drive hot needles into my skull. No, there is no medical evidence that this actually works, but it is the first symptom that I’m getting a cold.

I’d like to blame someone, but that isn’t how viruses function. We wade through a miasma of bugs every day. It isn’t until our reserves are depleted that we succumb.

My friend read yesterday’s post and suggested that, “with all the stuff you’re unpacking, there have to be lots of choices for quick still lives.” I’ve done that many times before, but I’m not interested now. She’s known me a quarter of a century. She should know that I’m happiest when flailing around in a mess.

"Path," by Carol L. Douglas

“Path,” by Carol L. Douglas

This is really the first chance I’ve had to paint my own property. I was here all summer. However, I was on the road most of that time.

I’ve lived most of my life in Buffalo and Rochester which, along with Syracuse, have the distinction of having the highest snowfall of major American cities. The snow is fun and I love it. However, in winter, clouds tarry over the Great Lakes. The skies are far more overcast than here in Maine.

Midwinter cloud cover in Rochester.

Midwinter cloud cover in Rochester.

In November, 2014, a friend visited Rochester from Edinburgh, famous for its dark skies. “It’s worse here than in Scotland,” she grumbled. That means indirect light. In winter, one ends up making a tone poem of greys punctuated by the subtle coloration of sere and desiccated foliage.

The contrast between warm and cool in mid-coast Maine, about midday.

At this time of the year, the sun never gets high enough in the sky for the light to be cool. This was midday.

So I’ve been enjoying the interaction of light and shadow on the snow in my backyard. As we know, light has a color, and shadow is usually the absence (or complement) of that color. But this doesn’t mean the snow in Maine is the same color as elsewhere. Nor is the color pattern the same hour-to-hour.

I’m studying the treeline outside my window while I practice my scales, loosen up my batting arm, or whatever else you want to call this. Occasionally I let the dog in and out. This is not a bad life.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.