Friday, January 20, 2017

Persistence - Houghton Maine

What follows is a poem I penned years after our trip to Houghton, Maine.  One of the things I savor about painting on location is the peace it brings at the time and its lasting impact on me. When I looking at a painting or sketch comlpeted on location (however it might pale compared to the actual scene) literally brings me back to the time of place of its creation.  I remember the sights, sounds, temperature, smells, and so many other details of that moment in time.  

I developed love of writing in High School (thank you Mr Hughes, Mrs Rich, and  Mrs Hamilton) that was nurtured in college  by Constance Hunting, Marjorie Wilson,  and other members of the English Department at UMO who allowed and encourageda  Psychology Major to enroll in advanced writing classes.  I'd like to think that I was aware of the help and gifts that you shared with me in my teens and early twenties - but I'm sure I wasn't.  I cannot thank you enough for your time and encouragement.


Watercolor completed on location
Houghton Maine


A slight turn off the paved road

The grass quickly rises above the bumper, gently pushing us along
The road constricts, tree tops block out the sun
Branches tap the roof
Gently at first, then with more urgent groans, warning us to stop

How far the road will let us go?

A birch sapling stretches across the road
A warning
A long steep drop hidden around the corner

The road sprints downhill
Ending in a small clearing
Hidden by the last drop in the road
Surrounded by thickly wooded hills
Guarding their secrets

Bear scat and moose track tell me that we are not alone
I grab my paints and slip into the woods
Heading for high ground
The trees refuse to surrender the view I hope to find

A fine line

Invisible to a casual glance
A small scar, a remnant of past storms,
Offers an opportunity
To see above and beyond the trees
To see the entire valley

Pine, Birch, and spruce claw their way skyward
Pushing rocks aside
The scar was already fading

Hours spent painting, the memory is set
My back is aching, paying the price for hours of concentration elsewhere
It was worth it
I don’t need to return here to know - this view is no more

The moose and bear travel as the mist, fleeting yet present,
Unwilling to be seen
They persist

Oil painting completed on location
Looking up from the campsite

Interrupted by swarms of black flies

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