Island Life – Not a Three Hour Tour

Life sometimes seems to be a whirlwind for me.  I am sure people with both jobs and kids my life might be a picnic but for me and mine,this past summer has been tough and I am having a hard time keeping up with my book reviewing.  

Our house remodel has been nearly done, but somehow it for over a month it has seemed always to be the same degree of “nearly done.”   It’s like that thing in calculus when the two objects are always getting closer together but still never meet.   We’ve been trying to move back into the “nearly done space the past couple of days.  And, it all snowballed over the summer. 

We moved out of our master bedroom and bathroom in mid-June.  In July my brother-in-law became ill and within a couple of weeks died. This devastated my entire family but especially my dearest sister who was made responsible for my care when she was just 10 years old. We drove immediately several hundred miles to be with my sister. 

After returning I had a post funeral cold (funerals breed colds – tears, snot and touching,…), and then chest pains became a major health issue unrelated to the pain.  But, finally an all clear.  In the meantime, I was supposed to travel to help my sister with some surgery she was having but I had to cancel.

We discovered a gas leak at the beach shack and a propane leak at home.  Then I found Nazi and Klan symbols spray-painted on our street which became a big issue in my town.

Finally, my husband and I were able to escape  to Monhegan Island for a painting workshop I registered for months ago. IThe workshop  I took was led by Maine Artist and teacher Marguerite Lawler through the Continuing Studies program at Maine College of Art. I had taken one on Monhegan with Marguerite in 2016 and fell in love with the views and atmosphere of this gem. Plus, she is a really good teacher.

Monhegan Island is a world-famous, but out of the way and rustic, island about an hour-and-a-half ferry ride from Port Clyde, Maine. At this time of the year we faced every kind if weather except snow and ice. I had more outerwear than underwear in my bag. It was misty and foggy MOST of the time — but layering was the name of the game.  Mist may be uncomfortable to sit in but it makes nice paintings!

This was the view from our room. Lovely in fog or sunshine.
Swim Beach (ha ha ha) Monhegan Island, Maine

I did not need my gloves.  I also carried my paint supplies, kindle, computer, phone, and gluten free bread.  The cell and wi-fi out there is sketchy.  At our hotel we could each hook-up one device to the wi-fi, and it is slower than a rowboat. After Thursday evening I did not even open my computer. I got a cell signal in the strangest places, a really remote part of the island, the bathroom,… weird. Speaking of the bathroom, our suite was one of the larger in the hotel, but when I bent over to pick up the soap my butt turned off the water.

The workshop ran from noon Friday to noon Sunday, I started using watercolor halfway through my trip here last year because it is convenient.  It’s not my favorite medium, but, though it is a small island, Monhegan is hilly, forested and has a plethora of rocky shores.  Last year, after carrying my oils for one day, I switched to watercolors at the little island art shop.

On Sunday, after we finished up painting, I returned to the inn, and my husband and I went on a fairly grueling hike on the northern side of the island. The rolling, huge, swells of waves, are majestic and terrifying. It made me a little seasick just to watch them.  This was the first hike I had ever taken that required me to hike up and over rocks.

Squeaker Cove is near the northeast corner of Monhegan. There’s nothing between this side of the island and Europe.

Monhegan is a place visited by artists and birders, hikers and honeymooners.  There are about four inns, ranging from traditional New England summer inns with rustic rooms and often shared baths,  to more rustic inns with oil lamps, to B&Bs. There are about six places to get food and the restaurants I’ve visited had very good food.  Other houses are rented out by the week.

There was a group of four women from Australia who had come all that way just to paint here with a company owned by one of the women .  This was really cool – if you have ever flown from the Eastern US to anywhere in theSouthern-Eastern hemisphere you know that trip has got to be something else! Gillian, the owner has a nice piece about it on her site.  They also take people from the US on art trips to Australia.

The weather was variable: by the day, the hour and the minute.  Islands pop in and out of view with the fog like Brigadoon.

Monhegan has been frequented by scads of artists: well-known (like Edward Hopper – see his work below)


Edward Hopper, Blackhead, Monhegan Island, Maine
Edward Hopper, Blackhead, Monhegan Island, Maine 1916-1919


and unknown (like me). I didn’t really paint anything I loved. Oh well, I may get something great in my studio.

It’s a magical place!