I have a confession to make. I have a love-hate relationship with the state I live in. All states have their fair share of problems, I know, but if Maine were a child, it would be the kid always yelling for others to "wait up!" on the playground. If Maine was a co-worker of yours, he'd be the one always complaining that no one else works as hard as he does. If Maine was a family member, he'd be the one who in a family of doctors and lawyers flunked out of Grammar School. While the rest of the country is currently going through hard times, Maine's unemployment and income levels have actually stayed at about the same levels as before the recession. Now, some may say that means Maine's economy is stable. Truth is: when you don't have any peaks, your valleys ain't too low.
Maine wasn't always this way. It had it's glory days. Once upon a time Maine's forests supplied the lumbar that built mighty ships that were used for shipping around the world. Those ships were built in Maine's ship yards. Maine granite lined city streets and is in courthouses and state buildings across the nation. Huge mills lined the states many rivers and supplied textiles to the country. Maine was a booming, thriving state with a near perfect mix of agriculture and industry. That was all over one hundred years ago. Eventually, those mighty wooden ships began to be made from steel, so the shipyards disappeared. Lumbar and granite wasn't needed for the country's infrastructure anymore. The mills closed, farms were abandoned. Jobs were lost, and have never come back. Tough times elsewhere in the country is business as usual here. Instead of "As Maine goes, so goes the Nation," we have "Eat, Drink and be Merry, for tomorrow, you may be in Maine."
I know what you're thinking. "So, why don't you just leave if it's so bad?" Therein lies the love/hate part. As a painter, Maine is perfect. And I'm not the only one who feels that way. I'm in good company with artists like Frederick Church, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, not to mention a slew of American Impressionists who criss-crossed this state painting everything in sight. I mean, look at these photos and paintings I have sprinkled throughout this blog. Not to sound smug, but you can't find this stuff anywhere else. There is a quality to the light that the salty ocean air enhances. The State's latitude gives the sun angle just the right slant to show off nature's colors. Maine's four seasons; Winter, Winter's coming, Damn poor ice fishing, and The Fourth of July, all make for sparkling paintings. We have mountains, three thousand miles of rocky coastline, lakes, old barns-- I could never run out of things to paint!
|The western hills|
So, I stay. I live here, raised the kids here, and I work here. Maine isn't perfect, but of all the places I have travelled to, it's the only place I wanted to call home. Damn her!
|Portland Head Light|