Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thoughts of Spring

Even though there is still plenty of snow on the ground and drifts as high as six feet on the north side of the house, there is a wonderful feeling of spring in the air. The sun is now higher in the sky and gives a warmth that is long overdue. The birds are happy at the feeder and there is the cheerful dripping sound of icicles melting from the eaves. But on gray days, when the sun hides in the clouds, the bone chilling cold returns and the birds and the icicles are quiet again. This is the game March plays in Maine.

Another sign of spring is the arrival of the seed catalogs. Today, while looking at one of the catalogs, I was reminded of another spring when our art gallery was located on Front Street in Belfast. My studio was in the back, overlooking the harbor. 

I was determined to paint as many of the spring flowers as I could from life.  Each morning I would gather them from my garden and bring them into the gallery with me. After opening the gallery, I would set up my studio and begin to paint. 

I was successful for awhile, starting with the early forsythia and pansies, but it wasn't long before there were so many flowers that I was overwhelmed. My biggest challenge was my favorite – the peony. I was never able to capture the beauty of those gorgeous flowers. I needed at least two days of painting but the flowers wouldn't wait for me. They moved by the hour, opening their petals and shifting their position in the vase. By the second day the bouquet was completely different from what I had on the canvas.

Lilacs are another favorite of mine and I have painted them many times. 

Lilacs and Lace, oil, 20x16
Lilacs and Brass, oil, 14x18

Because my studio was part of the gallery, many customers would join me while I painted. Some came back the next day to see if my painting was successful. And some came back to purchase the finished wet painting. It was all great fun. I have met so many wonderful people over the years. We had an interesting mix of customers - "the summer people" who returned each year, "the locals" and "the new visitors to Belfast". Friendships were formed and treasured. 

One elderly couple will always remain in my memory. They were visiting Belfast and looking forward to visiting their son in California. They were to fly out in two days, Sept. 11, 2001. Later I saw their pictures in the newspaper. They had been on one of the planes. I wasn't going to add this part to my story, but I can never think of the customers on Front Street without thinking about them.

Thank you for visiting with me. I have more stories to share. I hope you will join me.

These paintings are available on my website.


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