This week I've just returned from our annual trip to the North Carolina Outer Banks. After a hectic start to the summer both my husband and I dearly needed some family vacation time to deflate, so we mostly swam, sunned, slept in, and ate a lot of seafood! Needless to say I didn't get a lot of painting done, but I did sneak out early one morning for some plein air sketching beneath the Avalon Fishing Pier:
Paintings of France, Italy, and Beyond ©Jennifer E Young
A month has passed since I spent a magical two weeks in Maine doing my artist's residency. It was truly breathtaking and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity. I came home to all of the responsibilities and duties of home life, but with a renewed spirit that I think will carry me through as I continue to explore this incredible landscape in the studio. It has been a long time since I have been able to dedicate an entire two uninterrupted weeks solely to landscape painting, and it's hard to think of any more inspiring place to do it than Maine. I've put together this little slideshow of the works I came home with on my trip. If you click directly on one of the images it will take you to the Maine gallery page and you can read more about my experiences on the island and the creation of each piece.
It's been a little soggy here the last day or so, but good things come to those who wait. This afternoon I was able to get out and about, and I decided to check out the Basin Preserve, recommended to me by the good folks at the Vinalhaven Land Trust. The day had gone from soggy to foggy, and the location did not disappoint. I tried to keep this loose and dreamy, like the fog:
I feel fortunate to have received an artist residency in Maine, where I have been for a little under a week. I have never been to Maine, though it has honestly been a "bucket list" goal of mine to one day visit and paint its rocky coasts. I am out on the island of Vinalhaven, which sits across the mainland town of Rockland.
If you are an art buff you may have heard of the artists' colony on Monhegan Island. I haven't had the opportunity to visit there yet, but from what I have been told it is very beautiful. Vinalhaven is also, in fact, quite magical and beautiful. It is different from Monhegan in that it has an active lobster fishing community, with about 1200 year-round residents on the island.
There is no very direct way to get here, so my options were to fly and rent a car and then ferry over from the mainland, or drive the whole way up. Given all of the art gear I would be taking with me, I opted to drive, which took me 13-14 hours from Virginia split over 2 days. I had many raised eyebrows from people when I said I was driving up, but it did save me some money, plus the hassle of shuffling and shipping all of my gear around. The down side of this option was that it will shave off a few days from my stay on the island, which I am already starting to regret, since it is so, so enchanting here. I stayed in Rockland for a day and a half, and got in a visit to the Farnsworth Museum, which was celebrating Andrew Wyeth's 100th birthday and had a great show of his masterful drawings and watercolors.
I am now in Vinalhaven, and having been here for only 2 1/2 days I am realizing that 2 weeks is a really short time for a residency. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity, and in fact, it would be hard to be away from my family for much longer than this. There is just so much to explore here; the harbors and boat yards, the nature preserves and hikes, and takes a few days just to get one's bearings.
It also takes me time to familiarize myself with new terrain, especially since the sun rises at 4:30 in the morning. Oi! But I'm getting there. The first day I had a couple of wipers, but finally painted something that started to make me feel like I was developing a better understanding of this landscape. This is not the greatest shot of the painting but since I'm on the road it will have to do. I will probably do a little clean up to this piece as well:
The above was my first view at this site, but the next morning I took a hike along the trails higher on the rocky cliffs and came upon this magnificent panorama :
It's raining today so I haven't been able to get a good photo of just the painting, and this pic is a little bit dark, but this gives you an idea of my work in situ. I will try and post again before I leave, but I have just a week left to go. Maybe on the next rainy day....
Yesterday on social media I posted the video of my long-awaited studio completion. If you weren't tuned in to that, I'm including it below. Today I'm also sharing a few more photos and some details because I'm really excited to finally have a permanent home to create my work.
Yes, the garage-to-studio is complete! Hurrah! 😄 I feel as if I have been moving for nearly two years, because, well, I have. So just the very thought of not having to shuffle my supplies and equipment from one place to the other is a most delicious concept to me.
It doesn't have the cottage charm of my former studio, but it's open and airy and has North light and storage, so I feel like I'm in luxury any way. Here are the bins we had built:
We built them "up" to keep the work off of the floor, even making use of the space over the water heater.
I'm using the same hanging system for hanging art as I did in the last studio, using picture rail and a hook and rod system from Walker Display. But my favorite feature is the shelving that runs along the perimeter of the space.
This came about because I had a strange cinder block bump-out that ran along the walls of the garage, and the carpenter suggested capping this off with some shelving where I could perch works-in-progress, wet paintings, or other unframed art. He also ran this same shelving over the doors and windows I had framed in, in place of the the old garage doors.
This space is just slightly east of due north studio lighting. But as you can see, when the sun goes down I still need supplemental lighting. For that I have installed Daylight LED tube lights and tracks. At some point I may install a couple of additional short tracks over my framing and auxiliary painting area, but I have enough to get me up and running.
In keeping with tradition, I maintain my usual impeccable timing, and have completed the studio just in time to leave for two weeks on a plein air painting trip to Maine for an artist's residency. So, as excited as I am for my new space, it will have to wait to get junked up until I return! 😉 Meanwhile, God and internet willing, I hope to blog from the road during my travels.