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I’ve Moved to Maine!

Completely upending my life, I’ve moved to Maine, an area of the country where I know no one nearby and the weather is hostile for at least half of the year, and I am so thrilled to be here! The beauty of the area makes up for any perceived obstacles.

My mission is to paint the rocky coastline. The contrast between the hard, seemingly immovable rocky shore, and the fluidity of the ocean is a visual dynamic that excites me as an artist and easily extends to metaphors for life and spirituality.

I’ve been exploring the area while waiting for my furniture to travel the 1600 miles from my previous home of 42 years in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, to Trenton, Maine, where I have rented an apartment. Most of my explorations have been to the local big box stores for essentials like food, doormats (it rains a lot here), shower curtains, shelf liner, and such, the latter all nicely packed in who knows which box in the moving truck.

Shoreline at Bass Harbor Head Light

My trip to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to register my car in Maine was thwarted by my title being on the moving van instead of in the packet of important papers I brought with me. I remembered my cat Rafiki’s rabies vaccination certificate, but not my car title! Other efforts to become a legitimate Mainer were similarly blocked by not having enough documentation. No worries, they give you 30 days to make those changes.

I did buy an outdoor porch chair, which I am using in my living room until my furniture gets here — my campstools just weren’t adequate for lengthy sitting at the computer on rainy and foggy days when I’ve stayed home. I’ll be out and about in less than ideal weather soon enough, but I’d rather not right now when not knowing exactly where I’m going is complication enough.

On Thursday of this week, a very pretty day, I made it over to the lighthouse at Bass Harbor Head, pictured at left. I stayed there a good while, just drinking it in, and shooting a few photos.

While on that jaunt, I also found the ArtWaves Community Art Center, which I had joined earlier this year. I happened in on their figure drawing session, an art activity that I feel is an indicator of the sophistication of the artists in an area, figure drawing being such a difficult and humbling practice. I met Liz Cutler, prior Executive Director for this nonprofit, who was very welcoming and offered me supplies and a drawing board if I wanted to join them. I had dressed for outdoor weather, so I will join them another week. But I instantly felt at home, and Liz’s welcome confirmed my expectation that wherever I move, when I find artists, I immediately have community.

I also found the sweetest country store, Town Hill Market, open M-F through the winter, and Saturdays too in the summer. I picked up two pieces of fresh-made pizza and some delicious candied ginger, yum! Best of all, it’s only 12 minutes from my home in Trenton and just a short walk from ArtWaves!

These places are on Mount Desert Island, with Bar Harbor as their address.

On my return, I turned at the sign for the Bass Harbor Terminal for the ferry to Swan’s Island, but I was distracted by the visuals of a nearby dock piled high with lobster traps hauled in for the season. The Ferry Terminal will still be there next time I go to that side of Mount Desert Island. Maybe I will ride it over just for the fun of it, a 45-minute schedule interval, $12.50 for off-season walk-on.

I was entertained by a local selling a small outboard boat. Pushing it into the water for the buyer to try it out, he got it stuck on “the only rock on the beach for it to ‘fetch’ on”. I’ve added that to my new vocabulary list.

Since I had been passing signs all afternoon saying “Entrance Pass Must Be Displayed”, I thought I had better go see what that entailed. No one from the park service had ticketed me, but I figured it was just a matter of time.

I made my way to the Hull’s Cove Visitor Center for Acadia National Park, walked up the 52 steps from the parking lot (they warn you), and met the nicest ranger who explained that my National Parks Senior Pass was all I needed, and he gave me a plastic hanger to mount it in so I could hang it on my mirror. While there, I bought a book on the geology of Mount Desert Island — might as well try to learn a little something about the rocks I will be painting!

Only two more days before I get my furniture! Silly me, ever the optimist, I thought the movers would come at the beginning of the time-window they gave, and certainly by the end of it, which was yesterday! I am a good camper, but I didn’t pack for what has turned out to be an 11-day adventure!

I must say I’ve rather enjoyed the peace and quiet of this transition though, sort of a monastic existence, without TV and creature comforts, and with the jaw-dropping gorgeousness of the National Park only minutes away. Even so, I am not inclined to get out much during weathery days. I actually love solitude, and have enjoyed my little private forays around the apartment complex, especially the well-groomed 1-mile nature trail right here on the complex property. The video at left shows a view from the trail, a pretty creek resulting from a gully-washer of a rainstorm last Sunday.

And what am I reading? More Than Meets the Eye — Exploring Nature and Loss on the Coast of Maine, by Margie Patlak.

Stay tuned for art yet to be made!

17 thoughts on “I’ve Moved to Maine!

  1. Maine is beautiful! Wishing you health and happiness in your new home and neverending inspiration.
    I enjoyed reading your blog!

  2. Joan,
    The beauty there is breathtaking even in the hard Fall season. It’s a great adventure and so happy for you. Be safe and I’m anxious to see your paintings! Love your blog.

  3. Great blog Joan. Enjoy rambling around.

  4. Enjoyed your post and wish you well in your new location. You should be a writer who illustrates her own books!

  5. Hi Joan- nice to read here of your travels to Maine. So excited for you! This part of country in photos looks amazing that you shared and as you mention, inspirational to paint. Am looking forward to following along in your journey via your blog. Thanks for posting!

  6. Enjoy your new life………sitting here in my warm Florida home…and remembering my trip years ago to Maine. It was SO cold by the ocean I couldn’t stay outside long to take photos as my hands were like ice. Look forward to reading about this new adventure.

  7. Well, visiting Maine has been on my bucket list for a long while! Now I know someone living there! I always meant to come have an art lesson with you—maybe I can travel there to do so! How fun would that be?! What a giant leap you’ve taken to move from your home of 42 years to a land far away and cold for the better part?? I’ll be so interested to read more about this new chapter in your life and to see your lovely artwork that evolves from it. Do you remember me from Starbucks classes! Wishing you all the best!!

  8. Sorry that last sentence was meant to have exclamation marks not question, lol.

  9. Hi Joan, I am glad you finally made it up there. The story of your transition is so interesting. I hope your furniture is installed in your new home shortly and that you continue to enjoy the process. It will interesting to hear how your adventures manifest along your new dream coast. Wishing you warm coastal breezes from the Gulf of Mexico!

  10. Sandy, I fixed the question marks — dunno why exclamation points get converted to question marks sometimes. I do remember you, at least your name. Probably your face too. Putting the two together might take some effort though, ha! I hope you will message me when you travel plans change from “maybe” to “I’m on my way”!

  11. Thank you Kim, my friend and part of the most excellent real estate sales team!!

  12. Ohhh, Frances, did you know they make electric gloves? They are awesome for photographers!

  13. Thank you for your comment! I’ll be getting my library card here as soon as I can get my Maine drivers license! (Not as easy as it sounds — first I have to find the box my title is in, ha!)

  14. Thank you, Mary! Maybe one day, if I can find an editor who can work with my l-o-n-g sentences!

  15. Thank you, Linda!

  16. Thank you, Ginny! I thought winter was breathtaking too. All seasons, I guess — I haven’t seen a spring here yet.

  17. Thank you, Helga! I hope to post a little more often than just quarterly, with less words and more art.

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