Friday, March 21, 2008

Come, take a walk with me--Part I

House on Preble St.
Oil on Canvas 20X16

Fishermens' Shacks III
Oil on Canvas 20 X 16

View of Spring Point From Willard Beach
Oil on Canvas 24 X 18

Willard Beach Solitude
Oil on Canvas 20 X 16

During the winter, I take a 3 or 4 mile walk every morning. (In warm weather I bike 15 miles more or less--that's another blog, if spring ever comes). Most people have an idea of what they think Maine is like, but actually it is very diverse. Where I live, my walk takes in several different worlds--all of them interesting and stimulating. I traverse a neighborhood, a beach, a working waterfront, a college, a marina, a seaside park and a couple of lighthouses. So I invite you to join me and let's see what we see.

My neighborhood is in the Spring Point section of South Portland, on the other side of the river from Maine's largest city, Portland. It has a wide range of residents ranging from artists, to aging hippies, to fisherman, working folk, soon-to-be tycoons, retired people, college people and others undefined. It also has very diverse architecture--winterized beach houses, triple deckers built in the 40s for shipyard workers, MacMansions, large homes converted to apartments, and some oldies but goodies such as the mansard roof Victorian above. So I start my walk with a good ration of architectural eye candy, and a few "Mornin's" to passersby who must wonder where this guy is going every morning, all bundled up with sunglasses. My wife says I look like the Unibomber.
Then I head down to the beach, called Willard Beach. It's a crescent beach, probably 3/4 mile in length, but somewhat shorter when the hign tide covers a portion of it at each end. The first view is of these shacks out on a point that are painted by artists all the time. It is said they were (and are) fishermens' shacks, but they have a wonderful weathered and run down look. But it looks as if someone makes an effort to keep them standing, even as they often are battered by the northeast storms that roar through here. I've painted them several times. The one shown is from last summer. The beach is also loved by dogs whose owners congregate here in the morning while the dogs frolic in the sand. Naturally, there are people who don't like the dogs on the beach--it's a big controversy actually--but I enjoy the dogs and I'm glad their people are getting outdoors.
I usually walk on the hard sand, except when the tide is high. As you look to the north you see the Spring Point Lighthouse which marks the entrance to Portland Harbor peeking over the remnants of Ft. Preble, a Civil War military post now the home of Southern Maine Community College. This painting is from a couple of years ago when I was in a "blue period." I since have learned a lot about ocean water and skies, but a friend said she loves the colors, so I gave the painting to her.
When you get there, the view from the north end of the beach to the south normally reveals another lighthouse, Portland Headlight, but I left it out of the solitary figure picture, because I was fascinated by the particular situation of the lone man with the setting sun on his back.
I've gone halfway by now and I'll take you the rest of the way another time. Please stay with me.


rob ijbema said...

hi Jack,good to see you have been busy,really like nr two with the reflections but the last one is a stunner,excellent light and contrasts with the foreground shadow and the clouds are superb

Sue said...

Thanks, Jack for taking me on this part of your walk with you. I don't get out much at the moment, due to health problems, but my Magic Armchair Travelling is such a pleasure, especially when I can see new parts of the world through such perceptive and artistic eyes as yours. Awaiting part 2 with enthusiasm!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for inviting us on your morning walk with you Jack.
I like the building and design in the top one, but my favorite is the last one, the guy with the sun on his back. Very nice mood and well painted. I like when painters can go real light with the shadows and still pull it off.
I got a chuckle out of Bonnies comment, but Jack the Painter rings better with me than Jack the Unibomber

Jack Riddle said...

Rob--Sue--Frank, thanks for the nice comments. I just got back from this morning's walk. Brilliant sun, but a cold wind out of the NW tells me it's not quite spring. Maybe tomorrow...
Every day it's something different. Today I saw the guy who balances rocks on other rocks up and down the beach. I asked him why he did it. "Just for the hell of it," says he. For me it's very sculptural, very artistic and adds a lot to my walk.

Todd Bonita said...

Hi Jack,

Thanks for the comment on my blog, thought I'd click over and see what my fellow New Englander painter is up to..very impressive body of work here. To answer your question, I think the critic was dead serious about his Key critique of my work. I'm impressed with your work and renaissance lifestyle, good for you.
I read your from Southern Maine, I'm a hop-n-skip on the New Hampshire sea coast. Perhaps we'll meet up to paint one of these days. All the best,

Jack Riddle said...

Todd--thanks for your comment. If your critic was serious, I'll bet he/she has some wild dreams!
I hope we do meet up some day. Do you do any of the Maine summer outdoor shows (Mill Creek, Ft. Williams)?

Joanne said...

Hello Jack,

I SO enjoyed my walk with you on your route by each of these places! I especially love the water/beach scenes, with my favorite being the fishing shacks. There is just something about the thought of the weathered wood, the smell of the ocean and the fishing nets... very memory-evoking for me, being from New Brunswick, Canada. You have done a great job on the water in each of these paintings - very nice! Your subject matter has a unique appeal. The palette choices are very harmonious, and bring a sense of calm and peace. I will be back to take the next leg of the walk - looking forward to it!

Barbara Pask said...

Hi Jack, All of these paintings are just lovely. Thank you for the tour, you're very lucky to live in a place with so many interesting subjects to paint. I plan to travel up your way one day. Barb

Anonymous said...

I love to go for walks. What beautiful sights. Thanks for the invite.


Jack Riddle said...

Joanne-Barbara-Paz: Sorry I haven't responded. Have been away for a while. Listen, anytime anyone wants to come up here, I'd be highly offended if you didn't let me know. Thanks for the nice comments, too! Jack

Elizabeth said...

I particularly like the painting of the house in the top picture.
I was in Maine for the first time this summer and loved it.

Jack Riddle said...

Elizabeth--let me know when you are coming next time~!