The remains of the day

"Island school," 6X8, by Carol L. Douglas

“Island school,” 6X8, by Carol L. Douglas

The fourth floor of Monhegan House is more of an old-fashioned rooming house than a hotel. But while the rooms are tiny and the bathrooms are on the next floor down, it’s immaculate, the bed is luxuriously comfortable, and the sea-breezes and views are spectacular.

It is this kind of place—as far away in temperament from a chain hotel as Los Vegas is from Shangri La—that is one of the reasons that Maine is not like other places. The only occupants on this floor are Bobbi HeathMary Sheehan Winn  and me. We have slipped back into a world of Edward Hopper solitude. It isn’t yet the high season, although there are two painting workshops running elsewhere on the island.

Mary's Easter Egg toned canvases.

Mary’s Easter Egg toned canvases.

I have paperwork to do, and I tried my best to force myself to do it on the ferry. But I was tired from rising early to pack before my Tuesday class. I chatted with an islander instead. It was most interesting to watch him watching the sea. “Almost home,” he smiled as he saw a buoy in what appeared to me to be unremarkable open water.

When I arrived, Bobbi told me that the weather had been expectedly unpredictable. This is a truism of Maine, that when weather is on the turn, there is no knowing what will happen. This is a place where having an old-timer’s weather sense would be helpful, because every island and inlet seems to have its own micro-climate.

It had rained and cleared, and then rained and cleared. Finally, Bobbi and Mary capitulated and went inside to wait out the weather. While there, they decided to make similar Easter egg colored boards to those I made yesterday. It will be interesting to see where they go with them.

This was what the light was like when we started.

This was what the light was like when we started.

Bobbi and I were determined to seize the remains of the day, so we returned to a place where she’d started painting earlier. For a while, it was delightfully bright. She worked on a view of water sparkling next to Manana Island; I painted the island school. Of course—this being Maine—the weather waited until we were irrevocably committed to a lighting structure and then sucker-punched us. By the time we wound up, we were in a swirl of fog, utterly no color showing whatsoever.

And this was the sucker-punch at the end.

And this was the sucker-punch at the end.

She converted her painting into a twilight scene, and I stubbornly insisted the day was gay and bright.

I painted on my lavender Easter egg, and I felt that I was constantly fighting to warm up the painting. On the other hand, there was no struggle to tidy up the edges. One painting on an different-colored panel doesn’t give much information, but the sun’s up again, so I’ll try again in a few minutes.

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.