Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My trip back east made for a good week. I managed to reconnect with 3 old friends who I hadn't seen since I'd been there last…7, 8 or 9 years ago. I can't even remember the exact time. With each of them, we picked up where we left off. It was natural. We've all changed and yet the reunions were fluid.

I met a couple new folks who I only knew online. It was a delight. There were many wonderful conversations that were healing in small ways. Most left me with a sense of wonder and awe.

Thank you.

The place I stayed was perfect. My room…delish. When I walked in, I noticed the two wing back chairs against the large window with a coffee table between them. And against the other wall was a king size bed that didn't even feel like it dominated the room. Behind the wall of the bed was another smaller room that held the dresser, desk, refrigerator, a closet and led into the bathroom.

I could sit in the chair, look out the window and had a perfect view of the water. Outside, on the hill overlooking the water there were 7 or 8 white Adirondack chairs. My favorite summer chairs.

Nothing felt cramped.

I did managed lobster for each meal except a couple breakfasts that consisted of Maine blueberry muffins.

There were two meals of lobster rolls where I enjoyed the chunky meat so much I peeled away the bread. One of those lobster roll meals came to the beach where I sat, ate, enjoyed the salt, sand, air and water. Other meals consisted of massive, jumbo shrimp stuffed with lobster, boiled lobster, lobster benedict and lobster bisque. In addition there were steamers and baked scallops where I asked them to cut back on the butter.

Seriously delicious.

It's the first vacation where I returned having lost a few pounds and it's not because of all the walking. I tend to walk a lot on vacation. But I was feeling internally satiated...and therefore even when eating, there wasn't a need to gorge or even crave desserts, although a couple times I'd have a bite or two of something sweet.

A little went a long way.

There is more to write but it needs to wait for another time.

Right now I need to dive into the puzzles and problems on my desk and then rush to the studio. This is the very first Art Walk where I do not have a new completed painting. There are 4 in various stages of progress but that's it. And surprisingly, I'm not troubled by that fact. I'm learning to relax into the process.

Have a good day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Today I return to work. It is strange because it really feels I've been in a different universe. And I have. It is going to be a very packed day. On top of it, I have an illustration to finish by tomorrow, and a couple paintings to push into better viewing stages because Thursday evening is the art walk. A full week ahead.


Last Tuesday I left Ogunquit...somewhat sad because my stay felt cut a little short. I'll write more on that later. I headed into Portsmouth for a few hours before I needed to return to Boston to catch my flight.

After meeting with J. in Portsmouth, catching up, laughing, wandering, we parted with hugs and then I headed for Prescott Park. I craved a little quiet and stillness before the full rest of the day that awaited me.

Strolling along the water and then through the gardens and the fountain area offered a fairly smooth transition between comforting beach time and the hustle of the city.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dunes are a wonderful thing. The dunes in Ogunquit are quite small, especially when you compare it to the amazing dunes in Provincetown or Martha's Vineyard down near South Beach. But I'm quite fond of them and always spend time in that special place.

They represent an isolation and wildness. Such a fragile environment...windswept. And yet life still flourishes.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Ogunquit photo. This one is from my hotel looking out during low tide.

And back to the studio yesterday for more of Inside-Outside...the bleeding vessels paintings. This painting began almost 3 weeks ago and this is the 4th or 5th working session. It's 30"x40". Much larger than the other still lifes I've been painting and so it's taking much longer to build up the paint before I can even cut loose. Although this is nowhere near complete, I'm excited about it and looking forward to seeing where it takes me. It's currently clumsy and awkward. Who knows what it'll look like once it's done.

I know I need to pull back on the color even more and loosen my mark making when the surface is richer.

High tide rushing in. My hotel was the 3 story building on the right.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In spring or summer of 1998 I went up to the top of the parking garage in Portsmouth, NH, set up my easel and painted. It was one of the few places I could paint outdoors in private.

This past Tuesday while in Portsmouth, I parked in that same parking garage and then remembered the painting. So before leaving, I walked up to the top level to shoot what I had painted from 11 years ago. The tree is definitely bigger and it looks as if the building on the left had some work done near the top. The biggest change is that the pole disappeared.

From Monday's walk on the big beach...

...there was a woman feeding the seagulls by placing a bit of food between her fingers and holding up her arm. The gulls would swoop down and grab the food from her fingers. These gulls were hanging around waiting because she had stopped feeding and they were still hoping.

I hadn't seen that in years, not since I was little when we'd make our annual jaunt to Martha's Vineyard. While on the ferry to the island we'd have corn chips and cheetos and hold our arms out over the edge of the boat so gulls could feed from our fingers.

I just returned from an early morning appointment with my shrink and am headed to the studio for the first time in over a week. I'm excited and honestly, a little anxious because I never know what will come up or happen in that special space.

Before that, here's a quick photo from Monday. It was early afternoon and the tide was rushing into the little river behind the main beach. Powerful enough that I spent a happy hour watching this guy surfing. With a paddle. At first he'd fall quite a bit but came to the point where he could actually surf in all the way without using it. He was persistent.

My Lumix TZ-1 camera is 3 years old and I still love it. It was the first generation, having come out in winter of 2006. I was surprised that the camera actually caught the guy in focus, especially while zooming in to the max and so was dealing with motion and massive light.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This is the direction I was headed yesterday morning when I began walking to the rocks. The fog was beginning to lift but it was still beautiful. And the tide was very low.

I feel pulled away from that special place a little too soon...a few days early. There's a bit of culture shock happening.

Last night in Boston I attended a wonderful evening hosted by Mr. Don in his home. The food was delicious and the company, spectacular. Exhaustion overtook me and although I really wanted to capture the moment on film, I was fried. Then I had about 3 hours of sleep before waking at 3:30 am Boston time to catch an early morning flight. Today is pretty much a wasted day. I'll try to stay up until about 9pm and then crash.

I'm still sorting through photos and will post a few more.

Tomorrow...back to the studio and Monday back to the office.

These flowers are from yesterday's walk in Portsmouth near the Moran tugboats and Poco's deck with my painting pal. When I lived in the area that deck was the place of many, many, oh so many afternoons of marguerita grandes and nachos.

And the tugs have always been a source of great fascination. They are needed and work so hard.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Since I've stopped being a beach bunny with the constant laying in the sun about 12 years ago, I really don't need sun at the ocean. I love the shore in the fog. My time in Ogunquit has been filled with what many would consider perfect days...mid seventies, blue skies, no clouds. This morning, my last morning, I once again woke to a glorious sunrise. While watching it, I noticed a layer of fog hugging the sand. Within a half hour the shore was blanketed in fog. Excitement filled me as I went out and romped on the rocks.

It's been a busy day, including hooking up with my best old painting buddy from '96. We shared a couple wonderful hours in Portsmouth before I headed back to Boston.

And now, I'm parked at Diesel Coffee in Davis Square, grabbing some alone time before dinner this evening with some Boston folks. Tomorrow it's a 6 am flight back to Seattle.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunrise on the big beach about 6:30 this morning. I went to find a cup of coffee and ended up on the beach walking and enjoying the light. The morning sun almost feels painted on the sand.

It was a beautiful, lazy Sunday. Lewis and Todd met me at the hotel and after a glorious breakfast at Bintliff's which serves a vast quantity of various benedicts and french toasts, we spent the afternoon playing and resting on the rocks.

Todd ordered the creme brulee french toast which had a french vanilla custard and carmelized sugar on top. It looked like the ultimate french toast and so we all had to document it.

I became enamoured with the little pot.

The light was extremely bright and harsh which wasn't conducive to good water photos. Much too contrasty. I had to trash most of them. When shooting, I prefer cloudy skies or early morning/late afternoon hours.

Happily perched on a rock watching the water, I looked over and noticed the guys were comfortable across the way.

Lewis...I met him last year on my day trip to Boston, and we hit it off. Really great guy.

Todd...I met for the first time yesterday and yeah...we too hit it off. They are both amazing humans and a joy to spend time with. It was relaxed. Conversation flowed deep and light and silly and sexy. At times, blushing occurred. The energy emanating from both of them was soothing and comfortable. Perfect.

We saw little rock towers and so Todd went off to create one. While watching him build it I noticed the woman in the back posing for some guy who was standing behind me.

Todd's creation~

And the tide rolled in...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Last night dinner~

We shared scallops, and...


Now this is my kind of Sunday morning service...

...stepping off my deck with a cup of coffee and immersing myself in the quiet, beauty and openness of this...

When the tide rolls in, all this sand will disappear.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I arrived at the motel in Ogunquit about 45 minutes ago. It is all so very perfect. Here's a quick photo before I head out to dinner with one of my oldest friends. This is some of what I see from right outside my door. Those stairs are from our walkway and lead right down to the beach. It's low tide.

My heart really needed this little vacation. Tears fell as I drove past the tidal marshes in Kittery and York. Yeah, it all still feels like home.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I've been keeping it simple, including many salads. My favorite thus far was in Somerville the night I landed. Arugula, figs, killer blue cheese and spicy pecans with a balsamic dressing. Simple and brilliant. This isn't a photo of that.

Right now, these three days with my family are pretty much an immersion in family. It's been very wonderful spending time with them although saddened to see how age is affecting my parents. Tomorrow I head for the beach and it will be great to have much alone time on the water. And needed. There is much on my mind, and in my heart.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's been a very busy couple days, between a full travel day into Boston, great time with Matt and Pete and then more travel before arriving at my parents' home.

Last night, my sister, her husband and I went into Northampton for dinner. Afterward we walked the streets and heard music filtering out into the night air. Heading toward the music we came upon a pizza shop that opened up right onto the sidewalk where three guys were playing sweet, hot jazz.

This...this is one of my favorite pleasures. I could have sat at a little table outside and listened to them for hours.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A b&w of a new painting not yet complete.

It began with very saturated deeper colors, including a lush red background. But, I've been in a place where I'm exploring whites and neutrals and so slowly, I've been transforming the work into something lighter. I still need to push the whites more...make it lighter. There's an emotional component because I figure if I can dive into the complex waters of whites then all that light will seep into my heart.

John Singer Sargent was a master with whites. Currently at the SAM there's a wonderful compare and contrast in the permanent collection on the second floor. There's a portrait by Sargent. Two paintings over to the left there's a portrait by Robert Henri. I love Henri's faces. But if you check out the white collars on each painting, the Henri is lifeless. It's white. Boring, plain white. Look at Sargent's and you get caught up in the variations...your eyes dance over each mark and the white offers up an abundance of color. Back in '96 during a painting fellowship I had Sargent's works strewn all over the studio. I'd make a mark on canvas and then bend over and study one of his paintings, to then return to my piece. Continually studying and painting.

I want massive color in my whites. I want them to glow and glisten and become luminescent.

Exploring whites lends itself well to these paintings...paintings of relationships, with ourselves and others, expressed thru rectangles and bottles - our interior life and what we show the world.

Yesterday while at Utrecht picking up a couple supplies for my trip, I noticed a few tubes of white in a locked case at the register. One was a flake white in a large tube for $75.00. My eyes opened and I wondered what I could do with that white. I imagined the texture to be exquisitely buttery and tried to see how it would mix with other colors. How was that flake white different than others I've used in the past?

Maybe one day I'll find out.

Today I popped into the studio to pick up some drawing pencils. Longingly, I stared at this canvas and another new very large one...aching to work on them but couldn't. They need to wait until after my trip.


I just finished laundry. Made up a very anal packing list, dividing everything by categories. Later I'll walk to the drugstore to pick up my Imitrex. I don't expect to use it but it's better to have migraine pills on hand for just in case.

For the last week I've been checking the 10 day forecast for western MA and for the southern Maine coast. Everything looked great until yesterday when it listed showers for my 3 days in Ogunquit. Today, it's back to being fine and sunny. I'll bring my rain jacket just in case.

I bought a small tube of black watercolor and a new sketchbook in case I'm inspired to do some small ptgs. Otherwise I'm definitely working a few drawings. I also have to complete the first illustration for a book by the end of September and plan on finishing that while I'm away.

Very early tomorrow I hop a plane for Boston and will be spending the night at Pete and Matt's. Wednesday I grab my rental car and hit my folks place. And Saturday, I'll be at my beach.

I am bringing the laptop so as long as I'm feeling up to blogging, I will post.

Now I should begin packing. 3:30 am is going to come quickly.

I've needed to take a break and be quiet for a while. Thinking much. Feeling more.

Last Saturday morning a good friend gave me, unbeknownst to him, a very timely gift...a beautiful recognition of the very thing that others have thrown away and turned from. It arrived no more than an hour after I was in tears, beating myself up for who I am. His gift was a perfect reminder that there are a handful who, not only seek but are also turned on by depth. It's not empty words. Thank you again C.

Prepping for my trip to the east coast.

There are more photos to post from last Monday's shoot. Soon.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

As well as being very spontaneous, Monday's shoot began innocently enough...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A few more from yesterday's shoot...

Monday, September 07, 2009

A wonderful day with good friends. After brunch near the water we ended up in my studio.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A little synchronicity.

I shot this on Sunday, while at brunch with a couple friends, before heading into the studio to paint and for the open house.

Later that afternoon, Daniel came into the studio and after everyone left we shared an amazing conversation about art and writing. This morning, I had decided to post this image and then went to my friends blogs where I found some beautiful new writing by Daniel.

And...here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Sunday was one of those ideal Sundays.

It began with brunch and a few bloody mary's before heading over to the studio to work. In addition to working, I was holding an "open studio and art clearing closet sale" with over 40 little paintings selling for $25.

What remains will be also up for sale at the Art Walk this Thursday, but my art email list received first dibs. (I send out a monthly email announcing art walk or a show and there will be a jpeg attached of one of the paintings. If you want to be on it, just email me at gagnon60 at gmail...)

Although the studio was open, I was still planning on painting...which I did...beginning a new piece. A bunch of the guys came by in dribs and drabs. There was a nice group that pulled chairs up near the couch and hung out...with some good conversation while I painted.

It was like a lazy, Sunday afternoon at grandma's and it gave me a thought of bringing in a crockpot of stew some Sundays in the winter for an easy gathering...folks eating and chatting...being.

And the cherry was that I sold enough to pay one month's rent on the extra space. It was perfect considering I was making this extra move based on faith. A big risk, giving more working room which also allows more breathing room. A greater expansiveness.

Yesterday was a full work day. It's going to be quite busy these next two weeks before I head for vacation.