By Grace Kiffney
YourSpace High School Intern
One of our opportunities in the YourSpace internship is to spend an hour at the end of each day sketching from the works in the Museum. We began sketching on the 4th and 3rd floors and slowly worked our way through the Museum.
Finally, we reached the 1st floor and had a chance to sketch in the temporary exhibition gallery, which for the summer, includes the exhibition Call of the Coast. YourSpace, had given us techniques to practice while sketching, and part of that day’s technique was “sketch your favorite view.”
First, I had to find my favorite view. There were many magnificent impressionistic paintings from Connecticut and several thought-provoking modern ones from Maine. But standing out against the numerous breathtaking landscapes was a scene that wouldn’t attract much attention in real life, the working harbor in a small coastal Maine town.
This painting called Matinicus (1916) by George Bellows depicts a cluster of ramshackle buildings in the light of the setting (or rising) sun. The house on the far left was what actually caught my attention the most. This very narrow, pointy roofed house shouldn’t have been standing, it was so worn out. There are several other houses like it in the painting, and their ancient leaning frames bring them to life.
In addition, the wandering cow and geese add a little humor to the scene. Finally, toward the base of the painting are three fishermen sitting on their boat, surrounded by lobster traps, completing the view of classic Maine.
One can’t fully appreciate the exhibition Call of the Coast unless they see it for themselves. For days before the exhibition opened, there was so much excitement in the Museum about the new paintings coming. The Museum’s Artrek camp was centered on the exhibit’s theme of artist colonies, and I had heard so much about Call of the Coast before getting the chance to see it. But now that I have been able to walk through the exhibition and really absorb the art, I am so glad that I did.
Image credit: George Bellows (United States, 1882-1925), Matinicus, 1916, oil on canvas, 32 x 40 inches. Portland Museum of Art, Maine.