Land of a thousand unfinished dances

The Mercantile ready to head back out. (Unfinished.)

The Mercantile ready to head back out. (Unfinished.)

“What do you think the temperature is?” I asked Renee Lammers as we struggled up Sand Beach on Deer Isle in the last rays of the sun.

Thirty, she thought. Close enough, since it was 45° with a stiff onshore breeze by the time we made it to the car. It’s April and the sun tells us to paint, but it’s been a delayed spring and it’s cold.

The one that got away.

The one that got away. It was too late to start a fourth painting.

“New York,” my friend V. told me, “is a grass-fed cow.” Pretty but domesticated. “Maine is some wild creature running through the woods.”

My normal routine is to make paintings while the sun shines and then come into the studio to revise them when it’s overcast and dull. In a lifetime spent in western New York I’ve had way too many overcast days for finishing paintings. That curtain of grey sucks the enthusiasm out of you.

Here, it’s been so uniformly lovely that unfinished paintings are stacking up in my studio. It’s difficult to stay inside and work when the beast is on the prowl.

A good start in Stonington. Pray for rain and it might get finished.

A good start in Stonington.

I’ve been struggling with a bulging disk in my back all week. Nobody who doesn’t have back troubles will understand this, but it ranks up there with labor and an abscessed tooth for discomfort. Sadly, it’s unlikely to kill you, so there is no real point in staying home.

Sand Beach (unfinished). I couldn't even see it while I was painting it.

Sand Beach (unfinished). I couldn’t even see it while I was painting it.

Certain motions are impossible; it’s as if no connection exists between your brain and your muscles. That includes bending forward. We painters normally scamper around boulders like Billy goats. As we scoped out scenes in Stonington, I discovered I could get up but couldn’t climb down. A true gentleman, Peter Yesis spent the rest of his day giving me his arm like I was his granny.

The Stephen Taber being painted. (Unfinished.)

The Stephen Taber being painted. (Unfinished.)

I’d brought cod and salad for supper, but when Renee and I stopped at the Harbor Café to use their bathroom, I realized I was too famished for that. I supplemented my dinner with a muffin and French fries. For once, the inner scold who monitors my diet had nothing to say.

The boat whisperer.

The boat whisperer, Renee Lammers.

Stonington is the central ruby on a coastline studded with jewels, but it’s also two hours from Rockport. I got home shortly after 10. A sensible woman would lay low today and get some studio work done. Me? I’m heading to Brunswick to paint with Mary Byrom.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.