Friday, September 25

Short but Sweet

Painting Like the Wind

I was on Monhegan Island painting a few days annual week-long trip with a group of painter friends. We rent a cottage together, share meals and crits: it's a wonderful thing. However this year one of the group fell ill, and there is no medical care on island (unless you count the sparse rack of Benadryl and Tylenol at the Monhegan Store!) After a few days with no improvement it became obvious that some of us were going to have to take her all the way back home. I, with one other friend, performed that service. It's a very long trip involving packing, walking, taking a ferry and then capped by a ten hour drive...too far to turn right around and go back for the sake of just one more day (although I certainly thought about it!)

Anyway, yesterday I was slowly and glumly unpacking my gear, glad to have done the right thing by my friend but also wishing at the same time that I was still back on Monhegan. I felt a little disoriented, along the lines of "What am I doing here?" I had been so set, so ready, so primed, to be on my favorite island and now I was back home, a little too abruptly for my inner sense of balance. But my sick friend was grateful, my family thrilled to have me home early, and it's not the end of the world. The afternoon sun was brilliant and hot and so I decided to let the wet paintings from the trip catch a few rays (this helps them dry faster.) When I unpacked them and laid them out I was absolutely stunned to find that in the few short days on Monhegan I'd painted nine panels en plein air!

On Monhegan one of my friends commented that I was painting like I was on fire, and apparently she was right. The sense of urgency was so all-encompassing that I had not even realized how many I pieces I'd begun. Of course, they are small pieces, and unfinished, but nonetheless a happy surprise. I'll complete some of the more finished ones up from photos and memory and save the rest for next year's Monhegan trip and finish them up then (if the fates allow!)

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