Maine and Watercolor Painting

I’m planning our next adventure! Ever since 1999, I have wanted to go to Maine and I’m researching campgrounds and activities. My, oh my, there seems to be a lot to do in Maine. But what happened in 1999 that has brought on this Maine bug? So glad you asked!

Our three sons were just youngsters then and I was homeshooling them. They were finally to an age that we needed to do some real art rather than just color and paste. So, I bought a book about watercolor painting.

We didn't have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

We didn’t have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

I had always remembered the title of the book as, Watercolor Painting for the Artistically Challenged and have told the story with that title. But as I was sorting through the art books, I came across the wonderful gem again. It is actually Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered which is a MUCH better name! This little book gave our sons and me the confidence to try it for ourselves!

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

It didn’t matter that we had no clue what we were doing. We were artists..but just undiscovered! I practiced right along with them and found that I really enjoyed it! So, I bought more books, practiced some and then decided to try a real painting. A favorite photo from my childhood was just begging to be painted.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

This sunset stroll was captured by my dad. I’m that itty bitty baby girl between my mom and my four big brothers. Such a tender moment and two of my favorite things: family and sunsets. I always wished my dad was in the photo too. So, I set out to paint this gem.

I placed a hat on my dad because he loves hats. It was wonderful to see the whole family together, but I wasn’t too happy with the painting. In trying to get sunset colors, it just got muddy looking. I did frame it, but it has been in our bedroom where people can’t see it. I probably would have stopped with art right then except for my dad.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

It was nearing Christmas time and he oooed and awwwed over this painting of our family. Then he said those exciting but terrifying words. As he hugged me good-bye, he whispered, “Paint me a lighthouse for Christmas.” WHAT?! How could he think I could do that? Obviously, my painting skills were lacking. But I sure wanted to do something special for him. He has always made incredible works of art and given them to me for Christmas. So, I looked at photos of lighthouses, picked my favorite one and gave it a go.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

It was so much fun working with more colors rather than just sunset colors! I still really didn’t have a clue what I was doing with watercolor painting, but I was happier with the results and inspired. Inspired to try more artistic endeavors. Inspired by a dad who knew just when to urge me a bit further.

Since then, I have always wanted to go to Maine and take my own photo of this lighthouse, Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth. I’d love to sit on the shore and sketch it too. Can’t wait to go!! And in the meantime, I hope I have encouraged you to just give it a go. Is there some form of art that has been calling your name, but you have been afraid to try? I’m whispering to you now, “Paint me a lighthouse!”

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22 thoughts on “Maine and Watercolor Painting

  1. Pingback: Watercolor Journaling | Joyful Wonder

  2. Pingback: The Dreamed of Lighthouse | Joyful Wonder

  3. My family…husband and children loved our trips to Maine. My daughter now takes me every few years. We always eat our way through and have the best time. You will definitely want to return. I love the pic of you with your mom and your brothers. I can’t picture where it may have been taken. I love the fact that when you painted your version that you included your father. What a loving example of your affection for him.

  4. You are an unbelievably gifted lady. The Lord has bestowed on you so many beautiful gifts to share with us. Keep gracing us with those gifts. We’ve never met, but I feel as though I’ve known you for years. You have certainly blessed my heart with your wonderful creations. Oh yes, I love the lighthouse painting and the family one, as well. Take care and continue to share your blessings with us.

  5. You blog is off to a great start. As I read it, I was reminded what an awesome but wonderful responsibility it is to be a father. I have always found interesting things to be involved in, and of course was very pleased when you shared in my interests, not realizing at the time to what extent I was helping to encourage and inspire you. Your God given talents continue to bless your Mother and I as you share them with us and your many friends. Can’t wait for your next blog!

  6. Hi Janine! LOVE this post! LOVE your painting! LOVE YOU! This story- from the first watercolor of your family from a picture of your childhood, to the whispering of your dad to paint him a lighthouse and the END result of each is incredible!! So inspiring! Maybe when I have a spare moment (haha yeah right!) I will look for a book about watercolor painting (I don’t like the internet) and give it a go myself. I’ve always wanted to try it but never had the courage.

    • You know, Rebecca, your children will get to an age where you can use the “Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered” too. It’ll look like you are teaching them art, but you’ll be having a blast creating for yourself! I can’t wait to see what you create then. Hug those babies for me!

  7. Hi Janine,
    Portland Headlight is supposedly the most photographed lighthouse in the US. I have been to Maine and I have photographed this lighthouse, and it is beautiful! The lighthouse sits on top of huge rocks; and if you go, you will be sure to see artists painting and sketching among the rocks. Just climbing up and down the huge rocks is a challenge. There are many beautiful lighthouses in Maine, and we visited several of them. If you go, be sure to visit The Desert of Maine, Bar Harbor, LL Bean, and Cadillac Mountain/Acadia National Park (much further North). There is a trading post in Maine, with lots of shops, but I don’t recall the name of it. I’m sure that my husband would remember where it is located and what it was called. You can also go whale watching. (We saw lots of whales and they came right up to the catamaran!!) If you go during July or August, you can also go on a puffin watching trip. (I’ve been watching a live cam on explore.com, and the Puffling, “Hope”, is going to fledge at any moment). When we went to Maine, we took our kayaks and we even saw seals swimming alongside our kayaks!! We camped out for part of the week in Bar Harbor (right on the water front) and then we went further North and stayed in a cabin for the remainder of the week. There is lots to do and so much to photograph. Maine is the most beautiful place that I have been to. I’ve been to the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, etc. but there just is no comparison to Maine. I’m sure that you will love it!! My husband speaks of going back, but we haven’t made any plans yet. Be prepared to take LOTS of pictures and have a wonderful vacation, when you go.

    • Thanks for all the ideas, Colleen! It sounds like you did it up right when you went. One of our campgrounds near Bar Harbor is supposed to be right on the water. I am so looking forward to it!

    • Thank you for commenting, Dawn! I love your writing and it’s a pleasure to think that you enjoyed my post. And you are so right, God gets all the glory!

  8. What a wonderful blog post. Where have you been hiding? Your artistic talents are just beginning to show, your boys’, too. Love the way you write and am looking forward to the next post. Know you will bring home lots of memories from Maine.

  9. I always feel that if I have something going on in my mind as I awaken then it’s a nudge from the Lord. This morning I was writing a blog…nothing much really, just a title with ramblings. So this challenge in your blog held double meanings-for art & writing. I enjoyed hearing the backstory for these watercolors…just the heart & soul of it…feel like I am right there. Each of your nature drawings (that you posted from this summer) tells a story as well I am sure. Thanks for sharing.

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