Friday, August 01, 2008

The Tide Mill farm artists retreat , copyrighted
22x28 watercolor , sold
Artist retreat

A retreat is a way for an Artist to reflect on the creative life away from the duties of everyday life that holds one down.
For the last fifteen years a group of artists in Maine go to the Artists retreat to replenish their soul and creativity.
They start their journey Down East on a 200 to 400 miles drive depending where they come from, some come from the western Mountains of Maine and some come from southern New England and a few flying from other parts of the country. They all meet at a beautiful salt water farm on the Cobscook Bay called “The Tide Mill Farm “ These artists driving up the coast on the remote Route One, arrive late afternoon, the first one wait patiently for the others as they arrive one by one all jumping for joy as they see each other. They have not seen each other since last year and they are very much exited. They want to catch up with all the news and their art, they also want to absorb the beauty of the place they have come to love , they get a sense of belonging there, after all the years,
The owners run to greet them like they were family; they quickly bring their bags and art supplies to their room. The plan is to go in town and have a light supper at a local fish place, something they have done from the early days of coming to this area, they even request the same large round table, while having their supper plans will be made for what they are going to do for the week, and celebrate a successful week
The next morning plans are in motion to find new subjects, maybe a new theme for the year or sometime revisit an old subject or take a different spin on it or style but whatever it is the next week will be, paint and paint like there is no tomorrow and always think about painting!
Actually they even forget about their family life back home and totally engulf themselves in a creative mood for the rest of their stay. They actually come from different walks of life, different states and countries but all have the same interest and speak one language, ART.
Plein Air painting is something so refreshing and free, it’s exactly what it is, no instructions, like a workshop or a commission for someone, just free to paint whatever you want, what comes from your soul, you and the canvas on the easel, in the middle of this natural beauty of the area.
This particular group paints the coast of Maine and the famous Campobello Island where President Franklin D. Roosevelt had his private retreat.
Some of the artists paint together, two or three of them, at the same spot and some like to paint in total solitude. When they leave in the morning they are totally prepared for the day with a lunch, water sun lotion, bug spay, rain gear and plenty of material to work with because they will spend the entire day in nature. Nature it is! Beautiful fields of wild flowers to coastal rocks cascading into the ocean. Lighthouses and small fishing villages bustling with lobster boats and fisherman, ready to talk about their catch of the day! In general they are very friendly and enjoy talking to visiting artists who paints their beautiful Washington County.
The day usually goes by very fast, one or two paintings might be created, but not totally finished, mostly alla prima, it will need retouching back at the farm!
Each artist is exited to return to meet the others and anxious to show what they have done , maybe for a critique or surprise them with a great painting and possibly tell them about a new spot they have found, sorts of a game between each other, like a fisherman who comes back to show his catch. Also what elements they have experienced, too much sun, fog, bugs or even chased by an animal. By then they are exhausted, all they want to do is put their feet up and relax on the porch, maybe with a glass of wine, enjoy the view of the Coobscook bay in front of them with the tide going in and out, chit chat with the others and enjoy the dinner that is about to come. Two of the artists have kitchen duties for that night, everyone takes turn!
Supper is eaten at a large table family style, the food is always delicious. The plein air in French means “Fresh air “of the day surely gives you a great appetite. The experience of the day will be the subject of conversations while enjoying our dinner. Until a beautiful sunset will be seen out of the large dinning room window, and in a flash everyone will be looking for their camera to capture that moment of the beauty of the night, this ritual might go on every night if the weather is good!
Cleaning up time and out for a walk at dusk on this 1800acres property surrounded by salt water. Along the walking trails more potential scenes are discussed for painting, the farms animals are grazing in the fields come to greet us, like you are back? Some of the same animals have been there for years some we have witnessed their birth. Many of the animals have been models for some of the animalist artists. When I say the farm, it’s actually a beautiful early 1800 Victorian farm house, solely dedicated for retreats for artists and writers and family reunions beautifully decorated in a simple country style,a real organic farm of the 9th generation to reside on the premises in modern houses we stay in the original house of the Tide Mill Farm.
While we return from our mile or so walk ,knowing coffee and desert will be on the table .and we will start another session of painting , some will retouch the paintings they were working during the day ,others will work on a still life after scavenging throughout the house for some unusual treasures , they re is always one artist ready for the tasks, who is good at putting things together in a creative and pleasing way for a still life.
Silence will set in this beautiful room, and the artists will continue to paint until very late at night, some will retreat earlier than others, depending on who is an early riser. By the end of the day this group of artists will have put in 10 to 12 hours solely painting, now that is a lot of work at times, but they are so relaxed and excited they won’t think about it. The week will go very fast, some will stay for two weeks, but by the time they are ready to go home they will have a wonderful body of work with them.
Many paintings will go on to special shows, galleries, outdoor shows, win ribbons and others will go in a closet , but at least the artists will have painted whatever their heart desires.
All their work will be originals and looking to go home with a collector who is going to appreciate the love, work and dedication from these professional artists who have renewed their creative juice and enjoy this week of détente with others just like them and created beautiful art. .
They look for collectors who appreciate these true artists who live to paint and paint to live. I am proud to be one of them, and look for the experience every year.

Nita Leger Casey ,copyrighted 2008
Fine art artist

No comments: