Wednesday, September 15, 2010

MONHEGAN Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Winter winds almost seem to be whipping across the island. They have continued through the night with our doors rattling. I put a pillow in my door at 4:30am. The whistling wind blew through the window frames last night. We were up at 6:00am and painting by 7:00am. I had two sweaters, a windbreaker, gloves, and a fleece head bead and I needed every bit of it. Mary and I painted the cluster of houses just to the side of ours just as light was coming on the buildings. Alex did the view of Mannana and the shoreline just as light broke on the island. By nine the light had changed so we all headed in various directions for our next paintings of the lighthouse, the back porch, and marsh.

Wash in the Wind -This dog is everywhere!!

This is not really for the faint-hearted painter as we take advantage of the early morning light and late daylight when the shadows are long and the light golden. A blustery day can present many problems besides the cold. Easels get blown over and paintings sail away. Eleven to three seems to be our down time as the sun is directly above and does not tend to make interesting light. You have to be flexible when doing this as light, weather, and conditions change often. You have to have good light equipment as most times we are doing a hike before we paint.

Alex and Nancy Bea windblown from the Lighthouse

Speaking of conditions, when renting on an off island be careful where you go! This year our house is very nice, but not without surprises. We apparently share a bathroom with the owner!! He has not been here yet, but that could be interesting. You can’t flush toilet paper and we must either take our trash to the mainland or pay a fee. We were told we should not paint inside the house. This last request is a problem as many of us tone and block in the night before we paint. When renting be sure and ask many questions.

View from our Bathtub

Our Royal Blue Baby Tub

We do have a sweet, royal blue, baby claw foot tub that makes washing hair interesting. The water is the color of tea, but hot! This house is well stocked with spices, flour, sugar, and other condiments, but other years there was nothing. Wine and Beer are easy to find, but not spirits. This has become a problem and we are only day three! As far as shopping on Monhegan, there is a fine selection of cheeses, wine, fish, and vegetables. For the uninitiated, you should know that one must shop early in the day because quantities are limited.

Island life obviously has its drawbacks. One young man has posted a sign that he will only answer island questions at one dollar a pop. He is readying himself for the upcoming lobster season. It is nearing Trap Day when the islanders are free to begin lobstering off Monhegan. Many of the lobstermen are repairing their traps for the season. Boats named “Barbara Jean”, “Pandora”, and the “Alice B” are painting their traps, checking, and coiling up the lines. This celebration, which happens October 1st, is when everyone helps load and prepare the traps for the upcoming season. Apparently, if one lobsterman cannot attend then it is postponed until all can attend. Monhegan has a protected area where only Monhegan lobstermen may fish. It extends two miles from the shores of Monhegan to the north, east, and west. To the south they may fish three miles out to sea. Talk about having an interesting workplace!

Mary made a very fresh dinner of haddock tacos with salsa. We all feel exhausted from fighting the wind. I thought I had it under control and my painting and hat flew away today!! I tried to capture the wind in these to painting which still need much work!

These are the beginnings of my first two paintings


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