Friday, April 23, 2010


Order versus chaos

Symmetry, proportion, order = what I yearn for when chaos reigns. Week four of renovations and I had to get out of the house, so midweek I spent a sunny morning in Castine, sketching around town while Ryan was working. I say sketching, but really I just wandered slowly about looking at architectural details and savoring their classical harmonies. Castine, like many other coastal Maine enclaves, is currently dusting off and preparing for the return of its summer inhabitants. This means old houses are crawling with local landscapers, painters, roofers, you name it. Lawns are being mowed for the first time. Tulips are dutifully opening. Clapboards are being scraped. Chimneys are receiving new mortar. Many yards contain nary a dead leaf.

All that maintenance, and yet some houses there seem to exist in a state of perpetual perfection. A few in particular I can't imagine paint daring to flake off a single piece of trim, ever, despite the wind that can howl up into the harbor. Ancient they are, with lovely details. Ryan says he's heard of a photography book about the doorways of Castine, but I can't find mention of it. So here are a few snapshots of my own favorite front doors in town.

This one is quite small and has dear old handforged bootscrapers set into the granite steps:

Next, I am a fan of fanlights. And wisteria, or whatever clinging vine is climbing the trellis:

One red door in a town of the whitest white houses - how brave! It goes with its holly hedge:

I love the twelve-over-twelve windows on this stern beauty, and the rounded fanlight panes:

Lastly, I sat across the street from this elegant place for an hour, watercolor paper on my lap, pan of pigment on the ground beside me. I loved the shadows and the warm yellow clapboards. The shutters are that very dark green that appears black in shadow, and not quite so black in full sun. My painting fell flat, but I might try again, in oils. Perhaps if the inhabitants take the storm door away for the summer. Or when the flowers are in bloom.

After a surfeit of architecture I sat on the beach and stared out to sea (one of my special talents - years of practice, I've had), and made a few slightly more successful watercolors of the view down the bay. Then came home much refreshed and ready to face the FINAL WEEK of building. Now here I sit, surrounded by paint chips, thinking how ironic it is that a painter can't decide what colors to paint her studio. I must choose, this weekend. All those clean shades of white in Castine have me thinking. And yet, so many places there are vacant in winter. I think I need something warmer, but something that won't distract from or fight with whatever I happen to have on the easel. I am leaning toward cream. Hodge the Cat approves.

Lovely lovely photos---- They certainly capture
an essence of Castine's history. Thank you for taking them. They remind me of architectural blocks...little
maple building blocks for one's desk. The point is
that when the person needs a break, he/she can
perhaps build a doorway similar to one in a photo,
or spend a few minutes working on a mini version of the Parthenon.... xoxox
Classical proportions never cease to calm me down. One reason I love wandering around Castine. I would love to see the Parthenon someday, and even more, Delphi. But to do that, one must leave home - curses! Thanks for checking in...
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?