Last summer on Monhegan Island

I realized today that I never graced Red Bubble with what I wrote about my trip to Monhegan Island in Maine, USA from last year. I was remembering the views and decided to include it, so here it is. A friend of mine and I decided to go there because its so incredibly fabulous to paint everywhere you turn. The first day was spent traveling two hours (maybe 3?) by car and then an hour by boat. We hiked our suitcases to our hotel room. Mostly the first day was spent exploring the island. All the rest of what I wrote that week was on the back of my watercolors that I did each day. I also did a few (4?) acrylics on top of that. I will include the watercolors on my site.
MONHEGAN MOMENTS: Second Day on Monhegan. We got up at first light and ventured out the door into a steady rain. We went up a steep hill past this lighthouse and made a mental note to return on a drier hour. Kathy and I traversed rocky paths and ledges to reach the other side of the island. We were rewarded with sweet raspberries and glorious views over the black cliffs and rising surf. We were tempted to go closer to the water but remembered the stiff warning of rogue waves sucking sightseers out to sea. Finally the rain got heavier and we made our way back up and over the rocky footpath. The rain picked up and we were soaked to the skin. The trail we had been walking on turned into a small stream. All this before 8 am.

Later that day:
11 am Starting to cloud up a little now. I finished 2 acrylics and went into town. The residents were having a book sale at the little library. I decided to wait for Kathy at the lighthouse and work on my watercolors for a while. I have three going at once. She went over to White Head to paint the cliffs and the surf. Dragonflies are landing on my paintings. I am sitting in the grass looking up at the several buildings and rooftops that make up Monhegan Light. Crickets are chirping, black-eyed-susans dot the grasses and bees keep trying to grab my apple. I need to drink this place in before the day is out and my time here is up. I got four messages on my cell phone, but it died before I could check them. I miss my family and wonder what they are doing.

Day Three on Monhegan. 6am. I am back outside with all my gear. The wind has died down but its still cool, low 60’s. I think the sky is cloudy, but you can tell its going to be a nice day. Walking down the lane back to my perch on the rocks, seagulls are crying and a rooster crows (really!) in the distance. Things are beginning to wake up. Waves are crashing softly down below me and I feel glorious to be alive! Today as I continue to work on the four paintings I began, I notice a barge hauling refuse and recycling away from Monhegan. The boats still seem to have to deal with some swells from the wind. And so I begin a new day.

Walking down the steep hill from the Lighthouse, I was suddenly joined by small companions. Scores of Monarch butterflies flew near me and it seemed they followed me on my journey. I took a deep breath of salty, island air and smiled at the monarchs all the way back to Tribler Cottage where I grabbed another canvas, my easel and other gear and ran to the next painting destination: the wharf in front of the Island Inn. I stopped a little short when I noticed all the genteel guests lounging on the wide deck and the Adirondack chairs out front. I can just imagine what they must have thought of me bursting on the scene, hair wild and gear strapped to my body! Nonplussed, I planted myself in the best spot, but unfortunately that was directly in front of the stairwell to the front porch of the Inn. It seems like among other groups, a retirement center is staying here. I hear comments like: “Well! This is nice.” and “If I stayed home, we could be having clams right now.” “What time is it??” Not comments you would expect on a glorious sunny summer day with calm seas and the most incredible views of the ocean I’ve ever seen!

Oh, the wind from this spot! Kathy couldn’t set up at all. (She mostly stands when she paints and her easel is set on a tripod.) It was so windy, I felt like I was in Aruba again! Blue skies, but intense wind. I am grateful for it though. It blew away the rainstorm from the morning and now I can sit on a warm, sunny rock and paint my incredible views of the island. Perched from this spot I can see for miles and disturbed by few. Seagulls are hovering in the wind and the waves below me are choppy. I noticed no day trippers were brave enough to make the journey this afternoon on the ferry. As I look around me there are a plethora of grasses, green and yellow swaying in the salty breeze. Also many hardy, scrubby brush clinging to my rock and others nearby. The day is winding down. I’d better get back to my painting before the sun is gone entirely.

The Seagulls are really carrying on out here. Kathy said she fed one yesterday out on White Head. It became her friend for the next hour. She told it not to tell its friends. She said it “spoke” to her. I never really noticed it before, but they all seem to have their own unique voices and they also have quite a range of sounds to make. It does sound a little like language, even much like our own.

The last day, or the last few hours. The ferry comes at 10:15am and we leave the beauty of this place. I dragged Kathy out of her bed this morning and we went into town; another sunny, perfect day. I am sitting at a picnic table in front of some fishing shacks (or art studios, I can’t tell) on a pebbly beach. I can see Manana Island and the boat dock where the ferry will pick us up. There are several boats in the harbor. Most are fishing vessels but there are a few row boats and one large sailboat. A man walked onto the small “swimming beach” (the only possible spot for swimming on the island) and I watched him get into his row boat. He rowed it over to his small commercial fishing boat, fired up the engine and chugged slowly out to sea. I wondered what his life must be like as a fisherman, living full time on Monhegan. None of the boating here is for the weak willed or skilled. They don’t call it Dead Man’s Cove for nothing! Things are waking up so I better start in before the early morning light has gone and the ferry arrives.

Now take a look at the paintings again! :)

Deb Bretton Robinson

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