What do FIGS have to do with anything?

 

delicious italian coffee

Visiting Monhegan Island last week was such a treat! My friend Amy, whom I met on my Italian adventure made the whole experience of visiting Maine a gem of a trip. A package arrived the week before I left, complete with maps of the area, “moose lip balm,” “moose mints” and a nice note letting me know how much she was looking forward to our trip. How FUN! I could hardly wait to hit the road with Millie.

Our trip to Maine was to mark the first annual “Fig Society” gathering. What is the Fig Society you may ask? Well, the name was coined by all of the wonderful new friends I met in Italy last September for my workshop. (You can read more about it HERE) I personally had never tasted fresh figs before this and they soon became a morning staple for all of us at breakfast. Somehow knowing we would be greeted each morning with coffee & croissants served with nutella and fresh figs served on a veranda overlooking the Mediterranean Sea made the 150 stair hike up the side of the cliffs worth the trouble! It was here that we would get to know each other. By the end of our trip we had come to lovingly call ourselves “The Fig Society”.

Joan Harlow in her studio

While on Monhegan we visited several artists studios. The island is a haven for artists who generously allow you to step into their studios to have a peek into their creative world. The first artist we met was the lovely Joan Harlow who graciously opened her studio to us when we arrived early for her studio hours. I guess we were on “island time,” completely clueless as to the hour! She had the cutest studio overlooking the water. Can you imagine this view for your studio?!? We talked of how she came to be painting on the island and what she loves about the work.

Joan's studio
Joan's studio

Joan took this painting outside so we could see it in the magical light Monhegan is known for. Such an arresting interpretation!

artist studio

Seeing as it was such a hot day Millie & I stopped for a little beverage. Just the perfect size to take with us to the next studio!

Coronitas on a hot day! The perfect size for sipping

Don’t you just LOVE the entrance to this artist’s garden? (on the right)

*need to get this artists name

I loved this artists work! We learned that she works intuitively on Yupo paper, creating vivid abstractions. My artist friend Diana Sartor uses this paper with THE MOST interesting results. You might remember the collaboration we did together? Although she didn’t use Yupo paper for our collaborative piece you can get a little flavor for her work. In fact, just recently visiting her studio I was blown away with the colored inks she is using on this paper. She is able to use a variety of techniques to get a wide range of textures. We may have to schedule a studio visit so she can show me how to use it. What do you think Diana?

 

The fabulous Millie Donovan buying some art

It is hard to resist the whimsical fish in Mike Stiller’s garden which lead you in to the gallery he shares with his wife.

Mike Stiller's cute fish
Mike Stiller's artwork
Mike Stiller's cute birds! I love how they are popping out of the wall!

The last artist I want to share is Stan Moeller, one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE teachers. I had taken many classes with Stan while living in NH and was delighted when I sat down for dinner at the Monhegan House and looked up to find his gorgeous paintings on the wall above me!  I hadn’t seen his work in some time and was blown away at how much it had changed! He is both a gifted artist and teacher. Here are a few pictures of his work. The first painting is the interior of the restaurant where we ate. How cool is that?

©Stan Moeller, "Breakfast at the Monhegan"
©Stan Moeller, "Shades" 9 x 12

I LOVE the perspective, the way the shadows dance and the pops of color in this painting.

 

©Stan Moeller "Angel in Florence" (Street mime in Firenze) 24x12 oil on linen

Can you stand how cool this woman’s skirt is?!?!?

©Stan Moeller "In the Pinkberry" 18 x 18 oil on panel

Of course I LOVE the bright pops of color in this painting.

©Stan Moeller "Favorite Beach Towel" 16x20 oil/linen/panel

I would love to be the girl in this painting. Quiet afternoon at the beach…The color is so lush!

©Stan Moeller "The Explanation" 18 x 24 oil on linen panel

I love how he captured this moment.

It is such a small world! When I contacted Stan about using his images for the blog he wrote back and told me that he had been in Rockland, Maine recently and thought he had seen me. As it turns out it was THE SAME day I had been there visiting the Rockland galleries! How weird is that?!?!? We hadn’t even planned on going but it was so foggy we decided to take the later ferry to Monhegan and went out exploring. It is another reminder to be open to where things lead you. I am grateful for reconnecting with Stan and for the generous use of his paintings as well as all the other artists who shared their time with us. Happy day to everyone! love, Laura

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6 thoughts on “What do FIGS have to do with anything?

  1. Loved reading this blog entry, Laura! I felt like I was there and I wish that I had been there! Looks like such a cool place. Long ago I looked into it in a haphazard way – guess it wasn’t the right time. Your words really made it come alive for me. Beautiful photos, as well!

  2. Laura- This a great post about your trip up to Maine. It was lovely to see a slice of what artists are doing up in Maine. I am glad you posted so many photos and wish I could have tagged along.
    Tina

  3. What a great description of all the FUN activities and memories we made during this trip. The island was breathtaking and exceeded all of my expectations. What a romantic notion to live on an island where art and nature are married by the smell of the ocean and sound of the crashing waves on those crazy cliffs! Where lunch is served up while sitting on a rock facing the most amazing view of Manana Island and where friends are made by just walking through studio doors. Best of all was the lovely AMY Barstow and family who were the most gracious of hosts and were so attentive even going so far as recreating the croissant/nutella breakfast our first morning waking up in Rose Cottage. My only regret is for the short stay but this only means that I will be sure to make my way up the coast and back to Port Clyde and Monhegan. Thanks Miss L for all your conversation and company. I wonder where the next “Fig Society” reunion will be and maybe next time we can get ALL of the “Figgies” to join in! Puerto Rico anyone? I have access to a big house we can use ;)

    Millie

  4. Millie~
    Thank you for the BEAUTIFUL description and adding to the wonderful memories I have. Too many to count! I say YES to Puerto Rico! xoLaura

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