Forty minutes from my studio, Marshall Point Light is really too far to go for a day class. However, without the large islands that protect Penobscot Bay, bigger breakers form here. It makes for nice painting.
My off-the-cuff assessment is that tourism in mid-coast Maine is up this year. Marshall Point and Drift Inn Beach were both full of visitors yesterday. Perhaps it’s because a nice domestic vacation on the beach seems so safe in this world of dark violence. I feel some advertising slogans bubbling up. Maine: where nobody wants to cut your head off.
My personal goal right now is to stop correcting people. I am not everyone’s mother, nor do I always have to be right. I repeat this to myself like a mantra. It’s a special challenge in a tourist town, because being out of our own milieu sometimes makes us say really silly things. I’m no exception, and—worse—I occasionally say them in print.
Marshall Point has some astonishing geological features. Basalt dikes lace into light grey granite. Around them twist wildly-contorted bands of quartzite and schist. In some places, these materials have been remelted and formed into migmatite.
I only know this because I looked it up after I told someone those light bands were probably limestone.
You can see the whole dazzling rock array from the ramp up to the lighthouse. I tend to stall there until someone nudges me to move on. That’s how I happened to hear a visitor ask her husband, “Is that marble?” The new me didn’t correct her.
Along the edge of the rocks are burrows of the type dug by groundhogs or ground squirrels. A group of tween girls picked their way through this area as we painted nearby. One authoritatively told her peers, “Look at the beaver holes!”
“Beaver holes,” she confidently reasserted. For about fifteen seconds, she held absolute intellectual sway. Finally, I couldn’t help myself. I snorted in laughter. One of her mates ventured diffidently, “I think beavers live in freshwater lakes,” and the spell was broken.
Last week Poppy Balser floored me with a simple, obvious point. We were painting together and she scooped up saltwater for her brush tank. I’ve always thought that was a no-no. When I asked her why it would work, she pointed out that people regularly add table salt to granulate their watercolors. Why not just start with sea water?
After yesterday’s class, I tried it, quickly, in a small sketch in my field-book. I have to say that it worked very well. Sorry I ever doubted you, Poppy!