Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Shifting gears... again

The Writer's Cottage at the Bingham Cottage residency, Hog Island, Maine
August. Hard to believe that I left Colorado in May and am still away. I've changed hats yet again... from Program Manager to Euro-traveler to Instructor... and now Artist-in-Residence.

I'm still on Hog Island, but I've moved from the camp peninsula on to the main part of the island. I've made my own camp in two historic buildings, known jointly as the Bingham Cottages.

Millicent Todd Bingham gave Hog Island to the National Audubon Society in 1936, naming the Todd Wildlife Sanctuary for her mother and establishing the camp's mission as a teaching facility. What we today call "the Binghams" are the last two remaining buildings of the original 8 that were the summer compound of Millicent's parents, David Todd and Mabel Loomis Todd. Mabel's story is long and complex (and a bit scandalous), but she is probably best known as the woman who first edited and brought to publication the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

The cottages were restored in 2012 through the efforts of the Friends of Hog Island volunteer association. In 2014 both a writer and a playwright spent time working in these cottages, and the Bingham Cottage Artist Residency program came to an informal start.

Part of my tenure here is to help formalize the residency program, which we hope to launch and  begin taking applications for this fall. I'm staying in the cottages with one eye to potential residents who won't necessarily already have a connection to this place and its wonders (or quirks). A sort of shakedown cruise to iron out the wrinkles. If you're in to mixed metaphors. Which apparently I am.

The Main Lodge porch
Main Lodge interior. Photos of the interior as it looked during the
early 1900s are on the wall in the back.

The cottages are "rustic," which means no water and no power. Well... there's a small solar panel which provides enough juice to power a laptop or cell phone and a small light in the Lodge, but the Writer's cabin is strictly off-off grid. And yes, there's an outhouse.

But I have my own beach (when the tide is out), my own red squirrels, and from time to time my own bald eagles perched in the "yard."

What I don't have is a lot of success yet with drawing. Mostly I keep trying to tackle things that are entirely too ambitious, too complex. When I sit down and draw the things I've been carting around in my pockets, no problem. But what I love most about this landscape is the intricacies of ferns and mosses and the ridiculous shades of green. When it comes to drawing, this landscape does NOT love me back.
Seed cones of white pine and red spruce, spruce branch with lichen
At least not yet.

Remains of an old rock wall
Of course part of the "problem" is that I've set myself up to try to accomplish entirely too many things while I'm here. The project I arrived wanting to do has already morphed into something else. And there's the residency to hash out. And some interp displays to get started on. And a couple of little sessions to do at Family Camp next week. And of course there's still a social schedule. ;-) So I'm constantly distracted. And while I'm seeing a zillion potential linocuts, that's not what I thought I would be doing, so of course I didn't outfit myself for it. Ah, well. I'll figure it out.

Until then, I'm enjoying many beautiful sunsets (doesn't this look like a good potential lino to you?) and the companionship of waves and seabirds. Not a bad way to spend my time.


  1. Glad to read your having a good summer.
    The eagle photograph is interesting. The bird selects perfect spot to pose in Nature.

  2. Sounds fabulous to me❗️I would love to help anytime .... Heading to Yosemite to teach in a few weeks. Wish I could have met you while I was in Salida a few days ago. Looking forward to reading your next entry + adventure. Enjoy that beach❗️

  3. I wouldn't be getting much art done there either, too much to look at lol :) would probably spend all day reading on the porch :p

    don't worry about creating while there, plenty of time for that when you are done and have lots of photos or memories to draw from :)

  4. What great adventures you've had these last couple of months. I'm sure the art part will come, despite the many "distractions" that are also on your plate.

  5. Yes, funny, isn't it Maywyn? The juvenile was far less cooperative, and once the osprey showed up then posing time was over.

    Moose! Sorry to miss you! I'm going to have to make a trip to Loveland/Fort Collins in September to deliver some work. Maybe we can get something sorted out then.

    Deborah... I'll make a big announcement when the application goes live online. We're still sorting out some of the details, but I think we're getting close.

    Thanks, Jennifer and April, for cutting me some slack. ;-) I did actually have a decent drawing day yesterday... I'll post photos soon. Today I'm just trying to get caught up with emails and such while I'm in camp using the wifi.

  6. Stretching is always interesting--and uncomfortable {grin}. Sounds lovely, no-power and all (enough for a laptop would be pretty essential for most of today's writers, though).

  7. There IS a solar panel with enough juice to charge a laptop, Deb. So far I haven't had any trouble, but I'm not writing all day every day. I can stay plugged in as long as the solar panel is charging, or use the laptop battery and charge while I'm off doing something else. And if there were a long period of rain it might be dicey. But there's always power (and hot tea) at camp! Well, unless it goes off on the whole island, but that's another story entirely. ;-)