Friday, September 17, 2010

"I am working. Go thou and do likewise"

copyright Hannah Phelps
Study of Hurricane Earl's waves on Monhegan Island
3.75" x 7.75", oil on canvas

American artist Jay Connaway posted the title of this post on his Monhegan studio door when he was off painting. Connaway lived on Monhegan Island, which is about 11 miles off the Maine coast, year round from 1931- 1947. In those 16 years, he became a master at painting surf. Last fall, the Portland Museum of Art held an exhibit of some of his paintings that, I am not ashamed to say, moved me to tears with their power.

I was recently on Monhegan Island for a much shorter time, but I spent most of it painting. So no blogging, no email, no get the picture. Instead, I have a studio full of studies like the one posted above. I feel I have benefited from the temporary trade-off.

Artists have been inspired by Monhegan for decades. The ruggedness of the landscape, the accessibility of the surf for direct observation, the spectacular light and the dramatic loneliness of the place all contribute to its appeal. What I enjoyed most was having absolutely nothing to do but paint the whole time I was there!

I am happy to be home with my dogs and husband, but I am also delighted to report that I am leaving for another painting trip to Down East Maine tomorrow! So I can take all the momentum of my last outing and put it straight into more paintings.

Soon, I will share some more of the new work here. In the meantime, I'm "gone paintin'"!