Books and Beyond

We had friends in Maine years ago, and we drove there to visit them. As usual, I have photos of us there.

Maybe that’s why I bought the book “Paintings of Maine,” edited by Arnold Skolnick, c 1996.

Maine has had many landscape painters, and they had a variety of subjects to choose from including seacoast, islands, rivers, lakes, farms, woodlands, peaks (p. 6). There are fifty-three painters in this book.

The introduction to the book, written by Carl Little in 1990, tells us that the many painters of the landscapes in Maine were originally from other states. They often came to these locales: Ogunquit, Monhegan Island, and Mount Desert Island.

Ogunquit’s place where artists wanted to come began when Charles H. Woodbury arrived in the late 1800s. Niles Spencer, an artist who came to Maine in 1914, wrote “wherever art ends, it begins with nature” (p. 11).

The first name I recognize in the Introduction is Edward Hopper. Three of his paintings are pictured in the book. The one I recognize is Lighthouse Hill, painted in 1927 (p. 69).

Now there’s a reference to artist Rockwell Kent’s book “It’s Me O Lord,” c 1955. He was one of the artists on Monhegan Island, which is described as 1/2 mile long and 3/4 mile wide.

Originally, most painters in Maine worked on the coast for their paintings. Next, there became artists who painted inland, where they saw beauty.

The art category of Cubism is written about as a modernist tendency (p. 21). I looked up Cubism in my dictionary, and found this: the subject is depicted in multiple perspectives. Another source: Cubism is the act of abstract and geometric structures.

The Wyeths are known as the “first family” of painters in the Maine landscape. I learned more about this family. The youngest is Jamie Wyeth. His painting in the book is Excursion Boats, 1982.

As the Introduction to the book draws to a close, we read “And if Americans are to become really at home in America it must be through the devotion of many people to many small, deeply loved places” (p. 26).

Some pages have a quote from a writer I recognize. Here’s Georgia O’Keeffe, c 1976: “I loved running down the board walk to the ocean–watching the waves come in, spreading over the hard wet beach–the lighthouse steadily bright far over the waves in the evening when it was almost dark” (p. 72). Her 1928 painting is the ocean. She lived from 1887 to 1986.

John Muir’s Wild America c 1976, National Geographic Society, is another book I cherish. At my age, I don’t get to travel as much as I did when I was younger–in cars, airplanes, buses, and trains. So I travel as I read books. You heard that coming, didn’t you?

Every road I do travel on in southwest rural Minnesota shows me deeply loved places that make me want to live here forever. You’ll see one route in the photo.

Whether you are traveling near or far, or from your favorite reading chair, your Marshall-Lyon County Library has books, DVDs, audiobooks, and much more to show you the world. marshalllyonlibrary.org 507-537-7003.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today