Monday, March 29, 2010

Favorite Frame finds...and weekend wanderings...

Favorite Frames found on weekend excursions to favorite antique shops downeast, are stored away for the "right painting." Sometimes, I have a frame for a year or more before the appropriate painting is conceived of -or commissioned.

Poking around Port Clyde with husband Andy- produces a "natural art find" --a great shaped stone completely covered with barnacles. Delightful!! Even though I do not use these "found treasures" as models for my paintings- keeping them close by certainly makes them an important "muse" of the creative process. It's all about atmosphere and what you surround yourself with everyday.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tea in the studio and counting sheep....

I'm a great believer in the ritual of tea. Nearly anything can be settled, resolved, planned, whatever the need be- over a good soothing cup of tea. No wonder historically we have sailed half way around the world to find it...and revolt when anyone tries to mess with availability (Great Boston Tea Party)Many a painting has been contemplated while sipping tea in the studio. And when visitors come by- a pot of tea and goodies are always at the ready!!

The Sheep have a case of spring fever. They chase each other as if they were lambs but the oldest- Cl hoe is twelve already. In the evening at sunset....they refuse to come in. It happens every year. Great patience from the Shepard (me) is required. This phenomenon forces me to spend more time out with the sheep, where life is slow and carefree and time is not an issue. Very healthy. Forget deadlines and commitments and simply live in the "now." I highly recommend it- spending time with sheep has all of the benefits of meditation.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

When Wives Went to Sea....

Nearly finished with the third painting of the "Black Dress" series. Inspired by a piece of scrimshaw, I found at a local thrift shop - I have been thinking a lot about the sailors of the 18th 19th centuries
Imagine, when wives went to sea....


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mar 8, 2010 8:52 AMThe attraction of old boats......from Holly-Marie Haining Studios by Holly-Marie Haining
"Holly- why do you paint sooooo many boats?" Asked the 10 yr. old daughter of a friend who visited my studio last summer. It's a question I have asked myself over and over again without any obvious answer. Perhaps I was a sea captains wife in another lifetime" I teased...or even the captain himself whose proud ship was wrecked off our rocky coastline-- thousands of them were you know.." -I teased. With that response, her blue/green eyes sparkled like the sea itself and I knew I had struck a chord of intrigue. It's true I have painted many historic ships over the years- from the Daniel Tenney, a whaling ship from Nantucket for it's family heritage, to a commission of the Victory Chimes, still sailed right here in Rockland. But in between, I paint many more just because I love wooden ships and feel an attachment to them that goes far beyond the canvas.

Yesterday, as I was coming home from my usual walk with "The Pugs" I noticed the 200 yr. old Oak tree that hovers over our old cape built around the same time. Towering far above the roof line, the tree seems to frame and embrace the house. Even during the extreme winds we sometimes experience here on the river, I lay in our bed tucked under an eave and hear the wind rush through its branches. The sound makes me feel contented and protected. As I admired the branches yesterday, it occurred to me that tree had been spared the harvest for ship building that so dominated this town during the 1800's. I suppose it was not mature enough to become the timbers and frames of the 600 sailing ships that were built just below my studio and up river a bit toward town.

There was something magical about a wooden ship. Much like a romance, she blossomed out of love, great hopes and endless dreams. She had a soul that came from live trees that came from her timbers, a heart from the man who hewed and framed her, and the beauty and simplicity from the nature that surrounded her. As I studied the great oak, I realized that this is my connection to sailing ships....even when I'm not painting a ship portrait, I usually work them into the painting somehow, as shown here in the very first rough sketch for the next painting in the series of the "Black Dress'............


Just when you think it's safe to come out of the down comforter~ there's March. A Cruel month by anyones standards. Teasingly warm at times it can also dump a foot of snow without even thinking about it.

March for me usually means lots of catching up on commission painting for those clients who return in spring to their second homes on the coast of Maine. This March however, I also find myself buried in a new body of work.

This new chapter has been brewing and bubbling beneath the surface for some time. And it has totally engulfed me and holds my attention-like a switch I can't shut off. Tugging and nagging at me when I can't give it my full attention....the ideas are flowing even as I sleep.

This episode in my creative life seems to have culminated as a result of my being a collector of sorts- though I can't stand clutter. I have all of these wooden boxes in my SeaWitch studio full of "finds" discovered on mandatory walks in the woods and along the shore with "the pugs." I often find beauty in odd things. Scooping up interesting rocks, spotting moss "growths" on tree branches--delighting in a bit of 200 year old barbed wire amazingly still sitting on a stonewall. Or- it may be as simple as the sound of a bird, fox or coyote that triggers a mental sketch in my mind.

I am so entwined with the past- it's history, the souls who walked these woods before me.... I'm reminded every day and feel fortunate to know I am just where I belong.....

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