Time had gotten away from me and I realized it was 2:00, so I biked towards town and found a nice place to eat a late lunch: LoLa. After lunch, I called Val’s Taxi and asked for a driver to come and take me to further-to-reach places that my waitress advised against me biking to, as some were inaccessible by bike, or would take most of the day to get to and back. I had a lot of ground to cover in a short time, so I opted for a ride. The driver picked me up promptly and after locking my bike up at the restaurant, we were off. It turned out that he also gave private tours as a guide, so I got not only a lift, but someone who knew the island well and could take me to places that he knew were beautiful. He would stop the car and I would get out and take photos anywhere I wanted.
I wanted to see the inland cranberry bogs on the reserved land as well as the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. I learned that Nantucket Island is 47% reserve land. This ensures that the island does not get overpopulated with development, and its unique landscape will not be lost to commercialism. Biking through the paths and driving along the roads, I could truly see for myself how unspoiled it is.
The driver explained that he would not be able to drive the minivan to the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, past Wauwinet. Apparently, one needs either a boat to get there or an all-terrain vehicle!! I had to remind myself that though that was disappointing news, this is all part of being on an adventure. I wouldn't be able to access everything on my first visit. Next time. But he did drive me all around the east part of Nantucket to see ponds, bogs, and a great view of more beautiful grasses along Nantucket Harbor, on Wauwinet Road. I saw Topper’s, a world-renowned restaurant there. We drove along Polpis Road and Milestone Road. I enjoyed the “Serengeti” views of the unique trees and landscape that remind everyone of African savannah. This landscape is definitely a world apart… so unique and distinct.
Fog was quickly rolling in and the driver told me that Nantucket’s nickname is “The Grey Lady” for this reason. This gave me an idea for a painting. The fog did not hinder the colors of the landscape. Instead, the grey fog helped offset the greens and even somehow made the grasses stand out and glow. I could see the potential for even more color to be brought out in the diffused light with a grey sky. I hoped to achieve this effect in a painting I would later produce, “Wauwinet Road," pictured below. I was reminded of Paul Gaugin’s paintings on the island of Tahiti. While his island refuge was tropical and Nantucket is certainly not, I found similar colors showing up in my palette as I later painted: blues set against golden ochres and even pinks -- this made me think of this painter’s work that I have long admired.
Having taken countless photos on that hour long excursion, the driver returned me to my bike. I headed back to The Nantucket Periwinkle for a break. About a half hour on the bike brought me back to the 'Town Of Nantucket,' a quaint grouping of shops, B&B’s, cafes and galleries. After a rejuvenating rest, I made my way out on my bike once more to see if I could discover more beauty close by at Jetties Beach before dinnertime. There, I did find softly rolling dunes with a variety of colored grasses that were really nice. I took more pictures and made a sketch there. After perhaps an hour of enjoying the peace, I got back on the bike and mistakenly wound up at the Brant Point Lighthouse! Though I wasn’t seeking any typical man-made icons to paint or take pictures of, I took a selfie there and sent it to my family; I thought the kids would like to see Mommy posing with a tiny lighthouse! Then I decided to satisfy a craving for a good bowl of clam chowder for supper.
The B&B was so close to many restaurants, I could walk around and look at many menus. I settled on a restaurant called “Queequeg” and I picked it for its name (a character out of Moby Dick) and for the fact that they had a chowder that sounded fantastic. It had a small dining room that was almost full of guests, and I loved the energy of the chatter and laughter around me. I took a corner table for one, ordered a glass of chardonnay, and sipped that while I read Art Nantucket magazine. I read about artists on the island who had short bios and examples of their work. The weather forecast for the next day said rain would come, so I thought gallery-hopping would be perfect if that should happen. My clam chowder and homemade bread came to my table and I savored it. What a delightful evening!
Later, I walked through the cobblestone streets three blocks back to The Nantucket Periwinkle and the streets were eerily still. As a city girl, I am not used to such quiet streets at all! I knew it was off-season, but could everyone really be in bed already at 8:30?? Safe and sound in my room, I called home to say goodnight to the family. Then, I got out my art supplies and began to sketch, paint, and look at my photos from the day. I made three sketches and liked one of them. Tired and happy, I went to sleep.
Check back for Part 3:
Day 2 on the island and my discovery of the Dionis Beach dunes, leading to one more painting...
Then later, Part 4:
The culminating event on August 1 !! I'll show pictures of the event that will happen at BRIX. Please hope and pray with me for a sunny and warm day so that these paintings can be shown out on their pretty front lawn!
7/17/2015 01:39:30 am
This is so great Deidre. I loved hearing the back-story for your paintings! The dune image is my new favorite of yours.
7/25/2015 03:04:45 pm
Thank you so much Dorothy - I'm glad you like this new dune painting. There is a new one coming in the next blog post this week.
7/17/2015 06:38:51 am
I LOVE the paintings in this series - they truly convey a sense of place and peace. Seeing the photos along with the painting is a lot of fun, it's great to read about and see your creative process at work.
7/25/2015 03:06:00 pm
Thank you Rose! Glad that you get the sense of the peace that was felt in these places and that you enjoy reading about the process. It's fun to write about and share... more is coming soon! Check back.
7/17/2015 05:11:05 pm
I really enjoy seeing the photo of your subject landscape alongside your artwork. It's inspiring to see how you use color to enliven and beautify the already gorgeous scene. What a fun adventure this Nantucket series is going to be for you! I'm looking forward to seeing more of this peaceful and expressive work.
7/25/2015 03:08:10 pm
Pascha, thank you! I'm grateful for your perspective as a viewer. You are so right on - this Nantucket series is really fun and also a great challenge.
7/20/2015 05:05:56 am
How exciting and interesting it is to get such a unique inside look into an artist's process, both their creative process and their thought process... When looking at a finished piece after reading your blogs and seeing how the piece came into being, its inspirational source landscapes, the thoughts and feelings that helped shape the work you really feel a connection to the piece, a level of understanding of the work that is topically missing when viewing works in a gallery setting. I truly enjoyed experiencing your work in this way and getting to know it through your process, and you through your work. Simply beautiful!
7/25/2015 03:13:25 pm
Wow, I'm so glad you enjoy reading about the process, Julie -- thank you so much. That means a lot to know that you felt a connection to the work. Check back this week for the last complete painting in this summer's series, and then again after Aug 1 for photos of the 'big night' when they are unveiled on Nantucket at the wine tasting~ it will be fun!
7/24/2015 06:04:56 am
Deidre, your paintings of Nantucket capture the true essence of this magical island. I spent many summers there on Polpis Rd in a heavenly place called Equilibrium Stables with the Treat family.
7/25/2015 09:16:20 am
Judy, thank you so much for your amazing comment and testimonial. Coming from someone such as you who has spent so much more time on Nantucket than I have, I don't take lightly how much the paintings spoke to you. I'm deeply grateful for your sharing.
Leave a Reply.
Top 75 Painting Blogs on the World Wide Web