Blue Hill from Sculpin Point
oil on canvas, 10" x 14", 2011
CHASING EDEN DOWNEAST
After spending weeks preparing paintings for a number of exhibits, Beth and I finally had the opportunity of visiting a part of the world we were very familiar with, Downeast Maine. We were invited to visit our friends Bob & Sylvia for a week.
Some say that Downeast begins after Camden, while others say you must go beyond Naskeag, and still others claim that the true Downeast doesn't begin until you reach Schoodic Point.
But I'll tell you , after five hours driving east, our Downeast begins in the beautiful coastal town of Blue Hill, Maine.
We used to live near here. We owned a summer house overlooking Eggemoggin Reach and Penobscot Bay, so we know the lay of the land ( or ocean).
Fitz Henry Lane
Blue Hill, Maine, 1850
oil on canvas, 20" x30"
Blue Hill sits about half way between the Camden Hills and Mount Desert Island and has always attracted artists and writers. Fitz Henry Lane painted extensively in the area just prior to the Civil War. It has always been an interest of mine to visit the sites where painters of the past have made famous. In New Hampshire the White Mountains attracted painters such as Thomas Cole and John Kensett, but Maine is the painter's paradise.
My painting originated back in the 1990's with a small sketch I did of a dock off Sculpin Point at the mouth of Blue Hill harbor. I was there to paint a portrait but I could not resist sketching what has to be one of the best views of the mountain.
The sketch has been sitting in the studio so I decided to bring a canvas and do a little "plein-air" painting ( something that I do not like to do).
View of Blue Hill, Maine, 2005
oil on canvas, 36" x48"
This painting is included in the book, Paintings of Maine, by Carl Little
Back in 2005 I returned to Blue Hill to paint this canvas from Parker Point. Last week we walked past this scene while a blanket of fog lay over the bay, it was fantastic. I hope to return soon to paint it. There is usually ample fog.
The Harbor Great Sprucehead, 1974
oil on canvas, 20" x 36"
While Blue Hill is beautiful it was still "the city", we lived "in the sticks." Beth and I loved Eggemoggin Reach and the Islands of Penobscot Bay. While our daughter attended summer camp a few miles down the road, we would explore the area. Believe me, there were no shortage of boats and people eager to have you aboard.
Just past Butter Island and the Barred Islands is Great Sprucehead, the former summer home of Fairfield Porter, a great painter and critic. His painting gives you the feeling of the sun washed bay and broad expansive views.
I still have one more painting to do of Blue Hill then it is off to the grandaddy of them all,
Mount Desert Island and beyond.
If what we seem to say
mostly concerns the weather
we can expect Downeast
where tide and undertow
and variable winds work endlessly together,
it is because our stay
at least depends
on how opinions mix
in talk that has to do
far more, we've grown to think,
with love than politics.
Samuel French Morse
For more on our trip to Blue Hill click on:
Aponovich paintings copyright 2011 James Aponovich