Sep 09

Twenty-four Perfect Hours in Maine


Sometimes everything comes together and you end up with a perfect day of sightseeing.  We had one of those days on Sunday.  Tom and I arrived in Maine late Saturday evening and checked in at the Asticou Inn so late that we couldn’t see the surrounding area at all, so Sunday morning we were delighted to pull back the curtains and see a clear blue sky and a harbor full of boats.  The view banished our jet lag, and we quickly ate breakfast and headed out to Acadia National Park.  Here’s what we did over the course of the next twenty-four hours:

  • Drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain to get a bird’s eye view of the island
  • Watched the video at the visitor’s center for an park overview
  • Stopped in Bar Harbor to buy a picnic lunch and stroll through the art festival
  • Walked along the Shore Path in Bar Harbor
  • Ate lunch while people and boat watching
  • Drove the Park Loop, stopping at many lovely places such as Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Point and Otter Cliffs
  • Went to the Jordan Pond area and hiked on a carriage road to Jordan Stream to see a beautiful cobblestone bridge
  • Returned to our hotel to recharge our batteries–including my camera battery
  • Drove to the lighthouse at Bass Harbor to watch the sunset
  • Ate dinner in Southwest Harbor at Seafood Ketch
  • Went stargazing at the Seawall picnic area where astronomers had set up telescopes for viewing during a dark sky event
  • Slept a few hours
  • Drove back to the top of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sunrise
  • Did a quick hike near Jordan Pond.

And that was twenty-four perfect hours in Maine.  I would have a tough time choosing a favorite part of the day, but watching  the sun set behind a lighthouse and seeing the Milky Way so clearly for the first time in years were truly memorable.  I felt so grateful for the beauty that God has given us in this world and beyond…and that I can share it with such a special person.

The rest of the week has been pretty close to perfect, too!

Sep 09

I Just Want to Paint!

September Sun © 2009 Catharine Woods

September Sun © 2009 Catharine Woods

Boulder’s Open Studios Tour is just around the corner (Oct. 3,4,10, and 11), and that has forced me to spend more time on the business side of art.  A lot of that time has been spent wrestling with software programs, some that I use frequently, and some that I only use a few times of year.  Just this week I’ve updated my business cards, made a poster for the educational component of OS, used Photoshop to watermark paintings for the web, updated databases of addresses and paintings, printed address and painting labels, worked on my website and blog, added images to my iphoto portfolio, and finalized a playlist to use during OS.  Whew!  I just want to paint!

This week’s painting, September Sun,  was inspired by our trip to the Boulder Farmer’s Market last Saturday.  There were sunflowers everywhere!  We brought home a lovely bunch, along with some of the last (and sweetest) peaches of the season.  Both joy and melancholy accompany the last days of summer–I hope I’ve captured those emotions here.

The book that I listened to this week, Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke, takes place in New Orleans in the last days of summer–the summer that Katrina and Rita devastated the area.  This is the 16th book in Burke’s Dave Robicheaux mystery series, but the first that I’ve read.  I was browsing through the list of Audible Essentials looking for a good listen; this one caught my eye because we spent a week in New Orleans a few months ago working on the rebuilding effort, and I was in the mood for a good mystery.  This one didn’t disappoint.  Tin Roof Blowdown begins as Katrina bears down on New Orleans, and we see the chaos, confusion, and loss as it occurs.  Crime and vigilante justice intersect, and detective Dave Robicheaux’s family is pulled into the action and tragedy.  While the overall mood of the novel is dark, there are moments of beauty and redemption.  I look forward to reading more by James Lee Burke.

And if you’re interested in reading more about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, I would also recommend Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans by Dan Baum and City of Refuge by Tom Piazza.

Sep 09

A New Project


Coneflower Congregation ©2009 Catharine Woods

Coneflower Congregation ©2009 Catharine Woods

Happy New (academic) year!  Like many people I know, my internal clock seems to reset itself for new beginnings in August or September instead of January.  All of those years as a student or parent of students left their mark!  As September approached this year, I wanted to set some goals for professional growth and to find ways to hold myself accountable for those goals.   Although I paint almost every day, I would like to increase my daily painting time.  There are many websites and blogs devoted to the production of a painting a day, but my style doesn’t lend itself to painting quickly; however, a painting a week seems like a reasonable goal.  My second goal is to increase my visibility as an artist, and many experts recommend the use of websites, blogs, social networking sites, and twitter to expand access and gain publicity–and stating my intent to post a painting a week builds in some accountability.


But what about the other aspect of this blog: books?  For many years, I felt torn between the time I spent painting and the time I spend reading.  And then I discovered books on tape and audible.com!  I now happily multitask and listen to wonderful books while I  paint.  (I still read quite a few books on paper, too!) Although some artists find the spoken word distracting while painting, I find that listening to an engaging story occupies the more critical left side of my brain, allowing my right brain to just get into the flow of painting.  I’ve always tried to make the more intellectual decisions about a painting prior to sitting down to paint, and this seems to help.  I have a hunch that my reading choices also influence what I choose to paint and how I choose to paint it.  I’ve never tracked my reading and painting before, so this blog will force me to examine the possible correlation.  If you, dear reader, notice connections, I would appreciate your comments!

This subject of this week’s painting, Coneflower Congregation, appealed to me because of the shadow patterns and the reflected light on the petals.  The book that I’ve been listening to is The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, a gothic tale-within-a-tale that uses two narrators to great effect.  This is a second listen for me; I listened to it a year ago and have listened to it again because one of my book groups is reading it.  The characters are well-developed, the story is compelling, and this is one of those books that is even more enjoyable because it is  read and performed so well.