“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” -Walt Whitman
Is the title of an elegy poem by Walt Whitman written in 1865 after President Lincoln was assassinated. It’s also the line my husband recited to me on our first date. (He’s and English teacher at Orono High School and he knows his poetry and how to impress me!) But, I always think about those words around Memorial Day because those lavender buds were my grandmother and my mother’s favorites and because my mother passed away seven years ago this Memorial Day. My yard is lined left and right with lilac trees. It has become my painting tradition to paint lilacs every year. The thing is that all my senses are turned on by them. Intoxicating fragrance whether they are arranged in a still life inside or plein-air outdoors. Birds dart between the branches and the sweet twittering adds to the experience. Finding the best bunches of lilac bushes to paint has become my quest every spring. This year has been a challenge for many reasons, partly because of rainy, cold and windy weather.
Yet, I have a few tips for avid lilac lover/artists! The University of Maine in Orono, just beyond the Campus Police headquarters and before the Emera Planetarium on Rangeley Rd. are stunning lilac trees lining the road. There are three shades of trees, white deep dark purple and light “lilac”. These are part of the “Littlefield Ornamentals Trial Garden” a research facility built in the 1960’s, (named after horticulture faculty member: Lyle E. Littlefield.) The garden is stunning not only because of the lilacs, but also because of the blooming crab apple trees and azaleas. Now is the time to paint there!
Monroe and I don’t mean Marilyn
Another knock out spot for lilac painting is Monroe, Maine along Rt. 139 just before the junction of Rt. 141. I found this picturesque road when taking a shortcut to Rockland, (where I am in a co-op art gallery member Art Space). There is a little pink house, (that is for sale by the way), with a row of lilac trees sandwiched in between the Monroe General Store. Sweet! There is plenty of parking by the store as it is closed. Also, there is a bridge over the “North Branch Marsh Stream” which is another great perch for an easel overlooking the splashing water cascading over the rocks. It’s on page #22 of the gazetteer about 40 minutes from Bangor. Perfect! And if you like dairy cows and barns, around the corner and up the road on Rt. 141 there’s a farm with both!
Bangor Art Society May Escapes
I must report that the members of the Bangor art Society re-elected me as president last week. I am happy to accept and thank each and every artist for this honor to represent all the creative and talented people of the greater Bangor Area. Vice President is now Ms. Obrianna Cornelius of Hampden, Secretary is Ms.Charlene Sirois of Old Town and continuing as Treasurer is Mr. James Toothacker of Hermon. Please look at our Facebook page: The Bangor Art Society and website TheBangorArtSociety.com for all our illustrative work. Most recently we held our final regular meeting prior to adjourning for the summer break at the former estate of Adah Bryant on 900 State Street in Bangor, now known as “The Green Gem”. Not only was this cottage style home perfect for our meeting but also this week would be another perfect time for plein-air work to capture the peonies that should be popping there! I wish to publicly thank Sandy Fortin, Executive Director and Founder of The Green Gem Holistic Healing Oasis for allowing the Bangor Art Society to meet and be inspired by the “oasis”! I report that the Green Gem does ask for $25.00 donation for any artist/s who paint, photograph or sketch on the grounds to help defray costs. It is truly a gem of an estate hidden along Rt. 2!
Bangor Art Society In the State Capitol
I am happy to announce that Julie Horn, Visual Arts Director, Maine Arts Commission has invited the Bangor Art Society to exhibit in the State capitol building in Augusta for the entire summer! Our Show will begin June 19th and last until September! I will be covering this coveted event in two weeks. Some of the exhibitors are the winners from the 2017 Bangor Art Society’s Open Juried Show that just concluded at the Bangor Public Library, May 31st. The “Best of Show Award” and $500 cash prize was given to Luise Van Kueren for her oil painting “Lady With Goose”. Congratulations to all the artists who participated! Thank you for making this year’s show an artful event. Look for more winners on TheBangorArtSociety.com
Bangor Art Society needs a home for Bangor Art Walks
One quick mention: a group of Central Street business folks and city counselor, Gibran Graham, have resurrected the Bangor Art Walk events. I applaud their intentions, but the Bangor Art Society was not permitted a seat at the discussion table regarding this art opportunity. I urge all Bangor community members to be collaborative and inclusive with this process. Art walks need artists and places for them to exhibit. The Bangor Art Society thanks WBRC Architects for allowing BAS artists to display in the first floor conference room in the past. Apparently, this fall that space is not available. I am sending out a request to any area downtown business that would like to have their lobby decorated with premier local artists’ work to contact The Bangor Art Society as soon as possible! Thank you! Good luck with the Art Walk tonight!