Saturday, September 22, 2012




So excited to have over two weeks to paint on Monhegan. Alex Tyng and I have two artists joining us, Phoebe Peterson from Virginia and Nancy Walton from Massachusetts. Tropical storm Lesley has been producing swells so we had our Dramamine ready, but it was a good ride out to Monhegan with artist, Phoebe Peterson. We are on Horn Hill again in the Ed Johnson house. Some nice improvements in the house with two new mattresses and internet!

Sunset View from Ed Johnson house


This year Alex and I have decided to do larger paintings.  We have normally done several smaller plein air paintings.  We are hoping to catch those special touches of light and be able to develop our paintings a little more fully while we are here.  The lighthouse was drawing us all to paint this morning.  Alex, Phoebe, and I painted at the back of the lighthouse with that early morning light.  I have had this view in mind and stretched a larger canvas 18 x 32 to take in the expanse of the museum/lightkeeper’s house and buildings including the base of the lighthouse.  I was just sketching in today. I plan to return for several mornings to catch the early light around 6:30 am. Just to mention it was freezing and windy at 6 am!!! Phoebe and Alex moved to the front of the lighthouse and began paintings of the other side as well.  It became cloudy so Alex just sketched in her view of the front of the lighthouse including the oil house and museum.

In the afternoon we all headed to Whitehead from Horn Hill.  We figured out a trail that would get us to Whitehead without going down Horn Hill and back up to the lighthouse and then on to the Whitehead trail. We took Trial #5 above Horn Hill and then took a left on an unmarked trail.  This trail was just a few minutes after you go over the little walkways made of branches that go through some wet areas.   This then passes and joins with the Adler Trail and dead ends into the Whitehead trail.  Take a right onto the Whitehead trail.

Phoebe and I stayed on top of Whitehead.  Phoebe painted a nice view of Gull Rock through the pine trees.  I began a view of Little Whitehead and Blackhead.  It really is daunting to try to capture such a panoramic and monumental scene.  Last year my painting of it was 11 x 14 and the canvas was way too small.  It just seems impossible to do justice to this view even with a bigger painting. I was originally inspired by Charles Ebert view done in 1909 called Monhegan Headlands.  

Alex painting the Monhegan Headlands
 Alex headed down the trail a bit to get a little different vantage point of Blackhead.  Everything was going well and the breeze did not seem brisk at all, but my whole easel blew over.  My silicoil jar and solvent did a quick roll to the edge.  I began to chase it and realized I would not win.  It crashed down the cliff, gave the seagulls a scare, and probably dropped to the sea.  Painting was over for the day!!!

We all painted at the lighthouse again and it was not as brutal.  Alex and I headed in the afternoon to paint Little Whitehead and Blackhead a little bit further down the trail from Whitehead.  Phoebe cooked  a gourmet meal and we had Judith Carducci and her painters from Ohio over for a massive array of desserts!  Judy had two artists with her who she mentored through the Cecilia Beaux forum of the Portrait Society of America. In 2005 the Portrait Society started the Cecilia Beaux forum "to address particular considerations faced by woman in the arts". What a rare privilege to have Judy as a mentor!
It was interesting to hear about their experience in the mentoring program.  It was also ironic as Alex had just found an article in our house in an American Heritage Horizon book dated September 1961 by Frank Getlein entitled "Come, Girls, Art Can Be Fun".

Alex and Judy are next to the windows 


The Ohio artist's with Judith Carducci were planning on painting the fog in the marsh below the lighthouse at 6am.  We decided to join them and then all have breakfast at the Monhegan House.   Phoebe worked on the sunrise of Manana which lasts just a few minutes. The marsh was absent the billowing fog which if we had only looked we would have known!  Alex did a light filled painting of a house, over tuned boat, and fence in the middle of town.

Early morning 

Phoebe painting the light on Manana from Swim beach
In the late morning Phoebe and I headed out past the school house and took a left instead of a right toward the light house.  We continued straight and after some traps and buoys in the woods we entered the Blackhead trail.  If you walk about one car length and look to your left you will see a sign for trials 1 and 14 and the Curator's Cottage.  Turn left and go up until their is a fork with a tiny sign that points an arrow to the left towards Calf Cove and an arrow to the right to Pebble Beach.  Take the left to Calf Cove.  There are some steep places and several trees you need to duck under.  When you get to the open follow the trail and keep right. You will eventually come out where there is a view back to Manana and the dock.  You can see the small passage between the two at this point.  We painted the view back of Manana and the dock.  In the afternoon we headed back to Whitehead to work on our larger paintings of the headlands.


Phoebe and I headed down Trail 5 toward Gull Rock.  Trail 5 will end up in Gull Cove and if you go right you will see Gull Rock.  Just as you reach the beginning of Gull Rock there is a small steep path.  If you follow it you will see the cove below where Phoebe posed with this great angular rock.
Alex came and did dead trees at Gull Rock.

Phoebe near Gull Rock

Front of Gull Rock 


If you continue on you will find another path which goes to a passage at the center of Gull Rock which has a view of Whitehead.  
The End of Gull Rock with artist Sandy Rossignol Nault painting with her husband!

This outcropping is just beyond Gull Rock and we did a rock study there in the afternoon
As you can see this was a little precarious, but it seemed like the right spot at the time!
Diana on her perch
Rock Study 14 x 18
Phoebe painting me painting the outcropping!

Diana and Nancy at Island Inn for dinner

Alex had to head back to Washington, DC to a talk at the Portrait Gallery focusing on the memorial for  Four Freedoms Park built on Roosevelt island in NYC to honor FDR.  The park was designed by Alex's father, Louis Kahn.  They were also showcasing her painting of her father which is now owned by the Portrait Gallery!  We bid farewell and headed out to Squeaker Cove. 

To get to Squeaker Cove head out of town up by the school house and take a left instead of a right towards the Lighthouse.  Continue on that road and don't turn at Ice Pond.  This heads you out to the Cathedral Woods Trail which is a little tricky if you are not paying attention.  It is the second trail on the right.  The first trail is the Red Ribbon and if you look carefully in the air there is an old red ribbon hanging from a tree.  The Cathedral Woods Trail #11 is the next right.  Just remember on any trial  where there is an opening in the woods there is most likely to be a convergence of trails.  We missed the left hand turn which continues the Cathedral Woods trial #11.  There is a large rock with moss and roots to the left and one tree at the left turn.  If you take a left at the large rock you will be on the Cathedral Woods trail #11, if you miss it you will be on #12 to Little Whitehead!  We ended up above Squeaker Cove and tracked through so difficult trails with all our painting equipment to get to Squeaker Cove. Bad Idea!  If you actually read the descriptions of the trails you would be fine, but we like adventure.

Squeaker Cove and Black Head
Nancy Walton scoping out a painting site
Phoebe doing a little gouache in Squeaker Cove
Nancy doing a watercolor and Phoebe sketching
 Coming home cut back up to Trail #1 behind Squeaker Cove and go to the right and you will connect to (where we should have been) #11 the Cathedral Woods trail.  There were some very interesting Fairy Houses this year.  Some were very architectural and had several outbuilding, pathways and one even had a pen or corral.
The Ponderosa
The Tree House
The Wooden Cave
Two Story Root Dwelling
The Pathway to

The Pen or Corral
 In the afternoon Phoebe headed out to Pebble Beach for a hike and some painting.


Phoebe headed back home today.  Nancy and I are solo.  I began a view of the field below and Nancy did a nice view from the middle of the road up horn hill. Clouds came in and we painted views of the back of horn hill.  Dinner with Nancy at the Monhegan House!

View looking back toward the back of Horn Hill
Diana's painting and setup
Horn Hill 11 x 14 in progress!


First week with my artist friends is ending.  Nancy headed off and I will have a quiet house until my next group arrives.  I was painting the field below when I had some visitors.  

 One year a seagull pecked at my tube of paint and somewhere there is a seagull with a cobolt blue beak. So I kept my eye on this one a he was perched just above my easel.  The clouds were so rich today with deep dark colors contrasted with puffy cumulus clouds.

This is the scene I am painting just between 4:30 and 6:00pm when there is that glow with long shadows at the end of the day

 The outcropping of houses in the distance which first drew me to this scene.


Tricia missed the ferry yesterday so I had the house to myself and it was great to get organized.  Tricia arrived today and several people were gathering the last harvest of the season.

 Tricia relaxing while I was painting at Gull Rock


Painted at the Lighthouse 6 am.  Worked on shadows.  It is amazing to see how the light changes between six and nine.  Headed out to work on my morning painting from Calf Cove of Manana and the dock.  The light was completely different so it was challenging.  A young man came seemingly out of nowhere walking along the shore in bare feet. Mind you I am quite a way from the little town.  He was walking over the rocks along the shore, bare-chested in short cut off jeans, and with something hanging out his rear pocket.  He had an earring in one ear and a white feather tucked behind the other. He was a vision and worthy of painting on the spot! Tricia came to meet me and carried some of my gear.  All the harvested pumpkins and gourds were displayed on a tarp in front of the field. Storm is coming and bad weather is moving in so we are enjoying the house and are off to the Island Inn for dinner.

Monhegan Lighthouse 18 x 32 in early stages!

Tricia lending a hand!
Goodies for the Harvest Festival

Manana and Dock 16 x 20 unfinished!
Sara bought some lovely greens and gourds at the Harvest Festival.

This is the first bad weather we have had…not to complain, but we seriously need a rest.  Thought we would have it, but sunshine by nine!!  Painted on my meadow painting and then went to Whitehead to work on a painting of Little White Head and Black Head.  Huge surf today with incredible waves in Gull cove.  

The Monhegan Headlands: Little Whitehead and Blackhead
Diana Painting
Monhegan Headlands 16 x 21 in progress!


The view from Horn Hill of dawn coming to the Lighthouse has been haunting me. It is hard to sleep on Monhegan everything moves, inspires, or starts you thinking of your next painting.  The view from my window perfectly frames the big dipper at night.  I just keep waking and watching the dipper move across the sky.  It starts near the Island Inn and by four in the morning it is just near the lighthouse.  When the first hints of dawn come on the horizon two stars that form part of the handle of the big dipper can still be seen by the lighthouse.  The beam of the lighthouse is visible.  It is that moment when the stars and lighthouse beam can still be seen and the horizon is starting to lighten and show the first signs of dawn that I want to capture.  So at five I began painting to block in this magical scene. We had a great breakfast at the Monhegan House. It is great when someone knows how to make eggs and bacon perfectly!   Walked our dear friend Tricia to ferry and began another painting behind the schoolhouse.  There was a gorgeous sunset tonight. 

View from Horn Hill to the Lighthouse at dawn



We are all exhausted and need this gray day to recharge.  Dinner at the Monhegan house was great as usual.  Highly recommend their hangar steak and pasta too.  Nancy came for a quick night and graced us with Lobster stew and haddock.  We took this time to visit Allison Hill's studio and Frances Kornbluth.  Nancy bought a Hill painting of  Lighthouse hill and Sara bought a sweet print from Frances Kornbluth.

Nancy on our deck
Nancy in the Johnson kitchen

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We woke up to deep fog and it has been a relief to have some time.  Sara had a lovely quiet day!

Sara Reading about Watercolors
Artists and friends have headed off and my husband has come for our 34th wedding anniversary!  I have been waiting two weeks for the sunrise we had this morning.  Up at 6:30 to catch it.

We headed out today to Calf Cove so I could work on my painting. 

Sunlight through the woods on the road out of town
Painting Calf Cove
My newest inovation for hiking after painting!!! Just watch the wind.
We headed off toward Green Point hoping to see Pulpit Rock and end up on Black Head.  We passed pebble beach.

Gary at Pebble Beach

 We had a wild day...we got off the trail somehow. We followed the coast. We kept going and the sky was getting darker with huge billowy clouds.
I should no better what this sky means!!!
We hiked to way beyond the point in the distance

We tried to get up several inclines to find the trail, but the brambles, blackberry bushes, and underbrush were too thick.  We hiked up and down the cliffs until it was impassable. We backtracked. There was zero chance of rain today. Then it started raining hard and we were sliding all over the rocks and we were not sure if the tide would be where we crossed earlier.  Finally, we found an old house and followed a rough trail to #1 and took a right and connected to the Evergreen trail.  

Moss in the Evergreen Trail

Oh...and then there was hail. Just out of curiosity, I googled Green Point to see if anyone else had trouble finding the trail. There was a website called Geocaching.  It is game people play all over the world.  You are given coordinates and with a GPS device you find a site and look for a cache.  When you find it you must leave something for the next game player.  One Geocacher said they almost died looking for the cache on Green Point! 

Spectacular sunset tonight fueled by the passing storm today!