Our summer is not complete without a visit to the coast. And so, we drove many miles to Maine where we scooped up god-children we see only once a year and whisked them out to sea for a few days on mystical, magical Monhegan Island. We drew boats and coast lines and hiked miles of trails.
We seemed to blend in well with the others who were drawing and observing on the island.
Sometimes artists stand on the rocks for so long that they become like stone themselves.
But not all of Monhegan is wild…
We stayed quite comfortably in an inn called the Monhegan House.
As was the case on my last visit to the island, the veil between here and there is quite thin. It was necessary to pay our regards.
But there is always time for more sketching in the sketchbook. Because that is what I do. In the desert. And at the sea.
After partaking of oceanside adventure and cuisine for a number of days, we were called inland to the Land of the Lakes.
The rolling hills of the Kennebec highlands are home to a relaxed pace and sweet berry-pie-laden atmosphere and so we settled in for a week of catching up with our far-flung soul family members.
I spent much time observing the lake.
Watching the skies.
And watching the skies.
Sadly, it was eventually time to return even further inland. Back to Ohio where the kids, ever growing, had their more modern, fast-paced lives to attend to. Maddie is back to her third year of high school, busy with AP classes and digging through the thigh-high pile of collegiate options she is faced with in the coming year. And college, that is where Jack is. Across town but a world away, living his life and pursuing his dream of making a life in music. If this past weekend’s performance of Verdi’s opera Don Carlos is any indication, he has found his place.
And I fill my well where I can, such as sneaking off with my Hub to our own land-locked inland seas for our annual trip to Kelley’s Island on Lake Erie. There was much kayaking to be had with perfect conditions all around. And of course, I also sat and drew as much as I could.
All of this time around big water has only strengthened my fascination with the folklore surrounding the seas.
Specifically, the legend of the Selkie. And so, once back at my drawing table at home, I set about creating a watery world for a Golden Child of the seas…..
“I think of mythology as a function of biology, a statement of the impulse system of the body and the organs. Not something that’s made up in the head. What’s made up in the head is a fiction. What comes out of the heart is a myth.”
Joseph Campbell The Hero’s Journey
In this painting, our selchie heads to her sea cave, far beneath the surface above. There are wonders to behold in the depths, if we but seek them. I’ve thought a lot about myths and stories lately and how traveling into ‘the depths’ can challenge us to discover our very own story in this world, while also seeing how our story sits among the other stories. It’s the weaving together of story, both personal and folkloric, that create the culture we lean upon as human beings.
Some of us are lucky to have friends who will accompany us when we dive deep, and make sure we come back up for air.
And what might a sea cave sound like, you ask?
We have come to the end of my summer’s travels. I was inspired by the duality of my desert/sea experiences and created these little paintings for a small works show called Small Glimpse, now showing at Red Tree Gallery. I am fortunate to be able to find myself so far flung in the summer months with my heart’s work each June for the Illuminated Travel Journaling Course and then family time in Maine with music in between for the rest of the time. All of this beauty brings a magic to my day to day back here at home in Ohio for which I am deeply grateful.