Maine and Memories and a Legacy

by | Aug 1, 2021

Egg tempera painting of Maine moon rise and a loon by Daniel Ambrose

Maine Moonrise, egg tempera painting

Muted classical music floats through the studio. The morning sun polishes my coffee cup. My cat, Remey, languidly stretches on the floor at my feet. A good time to reflect as I prepare for a trip to Maine.

When I was a child, I spent some nights at my grandma Dewey’s house. An 8 minute bike ride along the beach from where I sit. A large magnolia tree graced the backyard, and a podocarpus bush grew under the window. Its blueberry colored fruit attracted birds. I slept in a corner bedroom layered with a vibrant red carpet. In the morning sun, I awoke to a red glow. It was like being in a Chinese lantern.

We didn’t have air-conditioned back then, and the open windows drew in the sound of birds and scent of magnolia blossoms on the morning breeze. Grandma’s coffee percolated in the kitchen. Awakening to these magical sights and sounds, I’d rise and pad sleep-eyed into the kitchen and watch the coffee burble in the glass dome on the lid.

All these childhood things; beach, birds and flowers, and morning coffee swelled inside my being and became a lifetime of art.

This morning I’ve been watching a video on Instagram by art biz coach, Alyson Stanfield. She and her husband Rob and I met in Maine a few summers ago at Nanatuck, the house my friend Mary Erickson leases each summer. In her video, Alyson talked about creating legacy projects and cited other artists examples.

It got me thinking…

I secured this studio about 10 years ago after years of turmoil. Twice battered by hurricanes, it still provides me a sanctuary to create. I gathered a lifetime of paintings, studies, sketches and writings into this place by the sea.

At the suggestion of a museum curator, I began cataloging my work and documenting it on Artwork Archive.

As I enter my sixth decade, I am wondering what to do with a lifetime of creative works. Shall I burn my private sketchbooks and destroy my studies?

A rock by the sea in Maine is a good place to ponder these things.

Egg tempera painting of sunrise at Drift Inn beach, Port Clyde, Maine by Daniel Ambrose

Drift Inn Sunrise, egg tempera painting

This year, a wise, joyful prophetess and her two pups will accompany me to Maine, along with these two egg tempera paintings, Maine Moonrise and Drift Inn Sunrise.

A scene from a friend’s backyard inspired Maine Moonrise a few summers ago. I added the loon. Drift Inn Sunrise is a painting of my favorite place to meditate with a cup of coffee each morning.

Covid vaccinated and in need of spiritual inoculation, I am looking forward to seeing familiar smiling faces, shining waters and soul rejuvenating blue islands.

I’ll miss my cat.

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