September brings me to my annual artists retreat on Cuttyhunk Island, MA. I left from New Bedford, MA on the Cuttyhunk Ferry which also brings all supplies to the islanders. The harbor is home to a host of fishing boats.
I was so ready to leave the day to day life behind and begin my artistic journey. Sometimes there is nothing more enjoyable than the company of women, and when you have 16 women artists together, the conversation, sharing, painting and partying is the best!
Cuttyhunk is one of the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts. With 82 annual residents, no cars, no TV and poor cell service, this is the perfect place to unplug and get in the zone. I often make this pilgrimage with artist Kelley MacDonald who taught a plein air course this year.
We arrived to our hosts Teri Bordenave and Ellie von Wellsheim filling us in on the weeks agenda. Teri and Ellie are the caretakers of the Avalon Inn and artists in their own right. Ellie was recently named Schenectady Business and Professional Women’s Club Woman of the Year. She has worked tirelessly on many humanitarian projects and one is the MoonCatcher Project which provides reusable menstrual pads for girls in developing countries so that they can continue their schooling.
They are fantastic cooks and fed us amazing meals leaving us free to paint, swim or walk this beautiful island. The kitchen of the Avalon Inn is incredibly charming.
This year I was in an adjoining house aptly named “Household”.
This sweet alcove was off Kelley’s room.
Views from the porch were gorgeous. We were directly above the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland and William Taft stayed there as well as the railroad baron Jay Gould. The fishing club was once a home away from home to many wealthy businessmen. One can now rent a room and get a breakfast here.
Cuttyhunk Fishing Club © Sold
Cuttyhunk Fishing Club © Acrylic on 300 # paper 11″ x 8.5″ $ 200
Nashawena Island is in the background of this painting. It is home to a herd of more than 200 Scottish highland cows and 2 caretakers living on the island. Our hosts gathered clams for our first evenings meal off the shore of Nashawena.
We also had the pleasure of painting off the porch of Sara Lehner’s house. She was one of the artists at the retreat who is also a seasonal islander.
I was delighted to be painting the many angles of this house overlooking the harbor and far off New Bedford.
View from Bayberry Hill © Acrylic on 300# paper 11″ x 8.5″ $200
I did enjoy getting to the beach which had been re-shaped with increased sand that had been pushed up by Hurricane Hermine shortly before we arrived.
Church’s Beach and Copicut Neck
I had some delightful swims here with fellow artist Andrea Salvaggio. I also painted a few views of David Thurston’s house on Copicut Neck. I met David at our open house the last night of the retreat. He had some remarkable stories to tell about his family and their time on the island. This is a much painted image by artists visiting Cuttyhunk.
Thurston House © 9″ x 4.5″ Watercolor $100 Copicut Neck, Cuttyhunk Island
Thurston House View #2 © Watercolor 9″ x 7″ $100 Cuttyhunk Island, MA
And of course I couldn’t help but finish a few paintings in my fantastical creatures style. Both of these reference the impending birth of our first grandchild.
Story Time © 12″ x 9″ Ink and Watercolor $400 framed in a maple frame or $300 unframed
Gotcha! © 12″ x 9″ Ink and Watercolor $400 framed in a maple frame or $300 unframed
And now to leave with one of the many reasons spending a week on Cuttyhunk is like living a dream.
If you are interested in one of these paintings please contact me at susanmedyn(@) cox.net. I always love to share my work with you!