Monhegan Island's Inspiration
Excerpt from “Monhegan Island, My Muse,” Art Quilting Studio Summer 2017:
Monhegan Island off mid-coast Maine is a renowned painter’s paradise with a unique quality of light that has inspired untold numbers of artists for over 150 years. I have vacationed there since 1947. But who could have imagined that one day at the age of 57, I too would be caught by its muse? I, a person without any formal art training whatsoever.
Yet, here I am a quilt artist for 18 years now, whose work has been engendered by Monhegan’s enchantment. My life’s new direction began in 1999 during a discussion about art with my island artist friend, Paul Niemiec, who emphatically said, “You could do this!” He told me about the seminal thinking of Robert Henri, an important early 20th century painter on Monhegan. Henri believed there is an “art spirit” in everybody, a creative spark requiring only the passion to make art and the willingness to work at it consistently over time. Paul encouraged me to abandon my hesitancy, enliven my undeveloped possibilities, and discover where my venture might lead. Within months, I took a beginner’s quilting class at a community college back home. My enthusiasm for quilt art ignited, and I have never looked back.
I have come to learn that my passion had been growing ever since that first island summer. I have been constantly enthralled by the sheer, natural wonders of this place: the variable light of its salt air, the sculpted forms of its rocky headlands, the unpredictable moods of its changing seas, the “wildness” of all its natural life. Early on, Monhegan’s magic spell entered my soul. Now it works its way into my quilts.