Missing Maine

I miss Maine. I miss it not only because I miss summer, with fireflies, watermelon and fresh corn on the cob, heirloom tomatoes and the smell of basil at the farmers market, and being so so so hot and sweaty that the greatest pleasure comes from immersing in an ice cold body of water. But I miss Maine, too, because it’s where my son and his girlfriend live. So when Hunterdon County artist Jerry Cable sent an image of a sunset on Monhegan Island to announce his new show, it made me feel warm inside, as if I were eating some of the zucchini Justin and Manon had pickled from their garden.

“Island Magic” is on view at Mr. Cable’s studio in Stockton, NJ. His summer studio is located on Monhegan Island, Maine, 12 miles off the Maine coast.

Monhegan Island and the rocky coast of Maine have been beckoning to artists for decades. At the turn
of the century American impressionists like Edward Redfield and Robert Henri were lured to this tiny
island. Today it remains an active art colony and summer home to many well known artists including
Jamie Wyeth.

Everywhere there are vestiges of the island’s seafaring legacy. Wooden lobster traps, old
buoys, and even a ship wreck continue to capture the attention of artists.

I have to admit, Monhegan Island doesn’t call to me the way it does to Mr. Cable. When I’ve gone there, by ferry in summer, all the tourists get off the boat the same time I do and swarm the island. The painter with an easel becomes a specimen, and all of us tourists whip out our cameras. I can only imagine how unhappy that must make the artists feel. I usually stop in to visit former Princeton-area artist Joanne Scott, with whom I studied eons ago. In fact I first learned of the island from her.

Mr. Cable, who paints warm scenes of architectural splendor, such as the Hopewell Train Station, when in New Jersey, describes Monhegan as “simply magical.” His summer studio sits directly above the wharf.

“From my studio window I love to watch the changing nuances of light and ebbing tides,” writes Mr. Cable. “Even on a cloudy or foggy day it’s still wonderful… Although I’m more of an architectural painter I was drawn to the harbor and the shimmering water this summer.”

This summer also marked the artist’s third solo exhibition on the mainland at the Ocean House Gallery in Port Clyde.

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3 Responses to Missing Maine

  1. Ilene, interesting that you and I have similar experiences of Monhegan. I felt obtrusive, yes, camera in tow. Also found it severe, the forest gloomy (this never happens to me), suddenly transporting our family to steep cliffs that I knew from so many Monhegan artists, but forbidding that day.

    Robert Henri – now there is one of my all-time favorite artists. No one does portraits, especially eyes, to surpass him! And his The Art Spirit is one of the most nourishing I know. May turn to it now.

    Manon – as in Manon Lescaut? or Manon of the Springs? ah, so we return to Provence… if, indeed we ever leave…

    Thank you, Ilene, for whisking me to Maine and intense family memories.

    Your fellow blogger, Carolyn (Foote Edelmann)

  2. Manon Whittlesey says:

    Maine misses you too. As summer creeps away, with an occasional “hurrah” of crickets and sunshine. The tomatoes are gone, the basil hit by the first frosts. But fall is here with squash, brilliant leaves, cider and pickles, and we wish you were here to enjoy the turning with us.
    Monhegan seems as though it would be a better place to visit in the fall: less of the ambling tourists, a chance perhaps to speak to some locals over warm cups of hot chocolate. The mists that shroud the cliffs at this time of year lending a mystique left to those brave enough to bear a rainy boat ride, or a cold crossing. A chance also to sit, bundled against the weather in a spot of your own with watercolours and a thermos of hot cider. Who knows? But having been there only once, on a rainy day, I found the mystery and beauty breathtaking, and I was spared the throngs of souvenir-gatherers by the weather.
    Bowdinham is steeped in damp, bringing out mushrooms galore. The wild turkeys who arrogantly cross in front of us gobbling at our cars have grown big and fat over the fruitful summer. Our own thoughts have turned inwards, towards the house and many projects, nestling down for the long cold season.
    We think of you often!
    manon

  3. Blake Cimino says:

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