Category Archives: Maine


I just returned from 10 days in Maine where I spent a week at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle taking a printmaking workshop and then went on to visit friends in Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Isle. I could not have had better weather – every day was sunny with blue skies except for one morning when there were showers and a five minute downpour. The weather was important to me because I was tent camping while on Deer Isle!

I crossed one bridge and two causeways to get to Haystack which is located overlooking the ocean. The site is secluded. And my campsite was less than a quarter of a mile away.

The campground was small, clean, wooded, and well maintained. And it had free hot showers!

Home for a week.
Poster on the door of the ladies’ restroom at the campsite.

Before the workshop began I spent a day exploring Deer Isle enjoying the scenic views of the coastline.

Stonington Harbor
Coastline of Deer Isle

On my way to Bar Harbor I spent several hours in Blue Hill, ME visiting galleries and watching gulls.

When I arrived in Bar Harbor, I had hoped to visit galleries, but the town was packed with tourists, so much so, that there were no parking spots, and there were throngs of people on sidewalks and crosswalks. Traffic was bumper to bumper, if moving at all. I got out of there as fast as I could! On the way out of town, I discovered two HUGE cruise ships in the bay, which I am sure helps the local economy, but to me, spoils the charm of the small Maine town.

I spent the night with Andy and Susan, former neighbors from Pawtucket, before returning home. They recommended a stop at the A1 Diner in Gardiner, ME. It was a good choice!


Haystack Mountain School of Crafts formed in 1950 as a research and educational center. The school offers one and two-week studio workshops, residencies, exhibitions, tours, auctions, presentations. I attended a one-week printmaking workshop while other workshops also taking place the same week were in ceramics, fiber, glass blowing, metals, and memoire writing.

The campus is located on a granite ledge that descends to the ocean. The buildings, designed by American architect Edward Larrabee Barnes (1915-2004), opened to the public in 1961. Using local materials, the modernist-style buildings are joined by walkways, stairs, and decks nestled into a spruce forest. From the Haystack website:

The School was awarded the coveted Twenty-five Year Award from The American Institute of Architects in 1994, in recognition of buildings that have retained their integrity and set standards of excellence for architectural design and cultural significance. The Haystack campus is one of only fifty-one buildings to receive this recognition, alongside the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (NY), the Gateway Arch, St. Louis (MO), and the East Building, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., to name just a few. In 2006 the campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places, further emphasizing the architectural significance of the school, and in 2021 The New York Times Style Magazine featured Haystack Mountain School of Crafts as one of the twenty-five most significant works of postwar architecture.

The buildings have large windows and skylights which brings the outdoors in, repeating the harmony created between the built and natural environments on the outside. Here are some of the views of the campus.

The printmaking studio is to the left of the deck.
The bell rang to announce meals
Looking up at the dinning hall

There were may stairs at Haystack and my legs got a workout! Down to the printmaking studio, up to the dining hall for lunch, back down to the printmaking studio, up to the restroom, further up to the computer lab, then back down to the printmaking studio, then up to the dining hall for dinner, then back down to the printmaking studio, and then all the way up to get to my car at the end of the day. Whew!

Dining Hall
Food line

The food was great! The offerings were many and very tasty. I espeically loved the array of salads and the yummy desserts! My apologies go to the kitchen crew – the photo that I took of them turned out out-of-focus.

Everyday I enjoyed the natural beauty of the campus – the sunny days, blue skies, tall spruce trees, granite paths underfoot, huge glacial rock formations, and the textures and colors of the carpets of moss and lichens. It was so good for my soul!

Walking on the mosses was like walking on foam rubber – soft and spongy. I marveled over the tiny spruce seedlings popping up among the variety of mosses, sticks and spruce cones. My love of textures was so refreshed!

Here is a detail of a print from my Sticks and Stones Series from several years ago.

Printmaking Workshop

The Printmaking (Graphics) Studio has two rooms, one large work area with a press and a smaller room with another press. There was plenty of space for 8 participants.

The focus of the workshop was to learn how to use a laser cutter to make stencils that we then used to make prints. First we had to use computers to make the image files that would direct the laser cutter. For some of us, that was a steep learning curve, but with the helpful guidance of our instructor, Lari Gibbons, and our studio assistant, Taylor Gibson, and the fellows in the FabLab, Tom and Will Lutz, we mastered the process.

This is the FabLab that is equipped with all sorts of digitally driven devices: laser cutters, 3D printers, routers, embroiderers, and who knows what else. Located in a loft was a bank of computers. The arrow points to the laser cutter that cut our paper and mylar stencils.

As we printed with the stencils, the stencils themselves became works of art!

A couple of Jean’s stencils
Two of Lari’s demo prints
LARI GIBBONS, instructor
TAYLOR GIBSON, studio assistant

Here are my studio mates and some of their fantastic prints.


And here is a batch of experimental prints I made.

At the end of the week we put up a display of our prints for a studio tour where everyone visited each others studios.

The week ended with creative and magical spirits surrounding us!

It was a wonderful week and I will be processing all that I learned during the weeks ahead.

Seeking art in Maine

Last week I spent several days traveling the coast of Maine with my friend, Betsey. Our destination was Bar Harbor where we visited with friends. Along the way we stopped to investigate art museums and galleries. Our first stop was Portland where we stayed in the heart of the old part of town along the harbor, a charming area full of restaurants, shops, and galleries with narrow brick and cobblestone streets.

We stayed in this lovely old hotel.

We were assigned to Room 335. This is the sign that faced the elevator when we arrived on the third floor. This is one of several dilemmas we encountered with much laughter along the way.

This is the a view of the harbor near our hotel.

Portland has a number of very nice galleries and we visited four of them: The Casco Bay Artisans, Greenhut Galleries, the Portland Art Gallery and Cove Street Arts.

We enjoyed viewing a lot of realistic and expressionistic coastal landscapes along with a variety of other themes and styles.

We were intrigued by these large brushes and tubes of paint all made out of glass. (the brushes were 2 feet in length.)

I discovered that there are other artists using images of stones. It was interesting to see how they depicted them. Mine is on the right.

I apologize for not taking the time to record the artist’s names.

The Cove Street Gallery was in a huge space and displayed several exhibits. One was a show of prints by Peregrine Press, a group of printmakers with a shared studio in Portland. Some of the work pushed the traditional definition of prints, like the one that consisted of cut outs that were mounted around a corner of the gallery.

We then visited the Portland Museum of Art, a real gem of a museum featuring the work of artists, both contemporary and historic, who have lived and worked in Maine full or part-time. Here is a short list of notable artists who have found inspiration in Maine:
George Wesley Bellows – Frank Weston Benson – Frederic E. Church – Thomas Cole – Thomas Doughty – Richard Estes – Red Groom – Marsden Hartley  – Robert Henri  – Winslow Homer – Edward Hopper – Robert Indiana – Alex Katz  – Rockwell Kent = Fitz Henry Lane – John Marin – Louise Nevelson – Georgia O’Keefe – Fairfield Porter – Neil Welliver – Andrew Wyeth – Jamie Wyeth – N.C. Wyeth – Marguerite Zorach – William Zorach

Some of these artists were attracted to Maine as instructors or students at the Skowhegan School of Art, a nine-week summer residency program now in its 75th year.

In addition to an impressive permanent collection of art, we viewed two special exhibits. The first was an exhibit of very large photographs by Clifford Ross. The photos that I was most taken with were of waves where the exquisite tones and detail of the water along with the scale of the prints combined for a powerful impact. As I stood in front of the images I could almost hear the sound of crashing waves. They were beautiful.

Betsey breathing the salt air.

In dramatic contrast with the waves, we viewed a portfolio of screen prints by Richard Estes of urban scapes. In Estes’ Photorealism, he heightens the sensation of light in his paintings through contrast and highly polished surfaces. Nothing is out of focus – he collapses the space between background and foreground and reflections on windows with images behind the glass, which is something the eye does not do. (Looking at a reflection your eye focuses on the surface of the glass. To see what is behind the glass, your eye refocuses. So, you can see both by refocusing, but you cannot see both at the very same moment. It is the same when looking at something up close and then refocusing to view something in the background. But the lens of a camera can keep all in focus with a long depth of field.) By doing this, Estes creates patches of abstract patterns and hard edges in a super-clean environment void of humans. I appreciate how creative he is with his compositions.

We spent a night at this comfortable resort hotel in Rockland, Me. that overlooks the ocean.

We also visited galleries and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Me., known for exhibiting the work of N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth.

The museum had two exhibits focusing on the accomplishments of Maine women. One of them was devoted to Betsy Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth’s wife, who managed his career, catalogued his extensive output of work, promoted him and acted as his agent. Here are a couple of the paintings of Betsey done by Andrew.

Here is a painting by Jamie Wyeth demonstrating that he learned a lot from his father.

And here is a painting by N.C. Wyeth, Jamie’s grandfather.

Women of Vision honored the following women: photographer Berenice Abbott, businesswoman Linda Bean; painter Katherine Bradford; philanthropist Edith Dixon; photographer Cig Harvey; poet Edna St. Vincent Millay; sculptor Louise Nevelson; philanthropist Elizabeth Noyce; Molly Neptune Parker, basket maker and Passamaquoddy civic leader; Maurine Rothschild, women’s advocate and philanthropist; Phyllis Wyeth, champion of the arts and education; and artist Marguerite Zorach.

This is a hooked tapestry by Marguerite Zorach.

The Farnsworth also featured an exhibit of art by Robert Indiana done as a homage to the artist, Marsden Hartley. Hartley executed a series of paintings in Berlin in 1914-15 that refer to a friend, a soldier, who was killed in the war. These paintings are very early experiments with abstraction.

Indiana’s silkscreen series, titled Hartley Elegies, pays homage to Hartley. From the museum: The ten large-scale silkscreen prints of Indiana’s Hartley Elegies comprise a visual poem on the two artists’ shared interests in radical formal vocabularies, and their innovative combinations of words and numbers into their boldly colored geometric compositions.  They were also a coded commentary on their lives as gay men, as well as their experiences of living and working in Maine after leaving the artistic center of New York that earlier had nourished their careers.

This is one of Hartley’s paintings in his War Series, some titles of these works refer to German Officers.

Here are two of Indiana’s versions in his well known Pop Art style.

Rockland has quite a few galleries, but some of them were closed for the season. There were a couple of galleries still open that exhibited high quality art. One in particular, was the Stanhope and Spencer Gallery that displayed metal work by goldsmith, Henry van Wyck Spenser. This was the sign on his door.

In addition to the fabulous gold jewelry, the gallery also carried beautiful metal art containers by David Huang. Betsey now owns one of these gorgeous, unique objects.

Along the way, we were keeping an eye out for public art and encountered several murals.

This one in Portland contained bits of tiles, ceramics, and mirrors that sparkled in the sun.

Can you find the ceramic kitty?

These murals are in Rockland.

In downtown Rockland we saw an utility box covered with stickers. On close inspection, we discovered that the stickers were entrance stickers to the Farnsworth and Contemporary Art Museum. So we added ours!

As we traveled along, we had wonderful views of the Maine coastline, not yet quite “peak” foliage. Here are some views taken in Acadia National Park.

We took a little side trip to Port Clyde and we passed these cows eating pumpkins. Of course when I wanted to take a picture, they weren’t interested in eating. But I was patient and finally got my snap.

In Thomaston we stopped at the Maine State Prison Woodworking Shop, which is filled with all things wooden from furniture to gadgets to toys to jewelry. The shop has been on Rt. 1 for ages and has more than 10,000 people following it on Facebook!

In Bar Harbor we visited Willis Rock Store, another Maine institution.

We had some great meals, but lobster was not one of them! We passed by the famous Red’s Lobster Shack in Wiscassett, saw the long line (which is usually there) and passed on by.

Instead we had great ethnic meals: Lebanese, Thai and Indian. We recommend Olives in Portland for gyros and swarmas.

In Ellsworth, we enjoyed Massaman curries at Thai Sana where I met up with Mary Ann, a friend and travel companion who now lives in Maine.

We had to work for our Indian meal. The restaurant, Namaste, appeared on Google Maps as located on the same street as our hotel. We ordered by phone and went to pick it up. But, although we looked really hard, we did not see the restaurant or any signs for it. We drove to Rockland, then to Rockport, and backtracked, laughing as our stomachs grumbled, amazed that we could not find our dinner! As it turned out we travelled about 15 miles going back and forth to finally finding it .02 miles from our hotel, or 3 minutes walking. The reason we had such difficulties is that the restaurant was located off the road among motel units with NO SIGN.

We ravished our eggplant curry!

We had two outstanding breakfasts, each at a diner. In Portland, we ate at Becky’s along the waterfront.

In Darmriscotta, we dined at Moody’s famous Diner.

Cheese filled sausage, and biscuits with sausage gravy. Yummy!

It was a wonderful trip and we are looking for another destination. Stay tuned.