Depending on who you talk to, Maine’s appeal is widely varied. “Vacationland” is on our license plate. According to the Portland Press Herald, over 35 million visited Maine in 2016 – and this in a state with a population just over 1 million. Boating, fishing, hiking, sightseeing, are just some of the draws, and Maine has those in spades. But even beyond that, Maine is for artists. There may be no other location that is as inspiring to more artists than the state of Maine.
There is the quintessential rocky coast; crashing waves, and pine trees almost to the water’s edge. There are the southern coastal beaches; Old Orchard, Wells, Moody, and others. Favored by tourists and locals who prefer a tamer coast wrapped in soft sand. To the east, more rugged into Acadia, Matinacus, Quoddy Head, and hundreds of islands of all sizes. A short drive west toward the northern reach of the Appalachians, you’ll find hills, mountains, gorges, waterfalls, and countless lakes and ponds. There’s enough variety to attract people of all ages, backgrounds, and interests. But when it comes to artists, Maine is the pinnacle.
Maine is also a four seasons place. The summers are about the best you can hope for anywhere in the country. Fall is crisp, with the annual foliage metamorphosis as the greens of summer get tired and yield through a brief period of iridescent hues rarely seen in nature. A great show before a month’s long slumber, under snow and long nights. Winters are lengthy in Maine, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. The cycle eventually brings spring and the anticipation of another summer. It forces a renewed appreciation of what we have on a yearly basis and the recognition of the beauty and importance of winter itself.
The four seasons do not get overlooked by artists. Many artists live here, and many visit every year. Scores of artists over history found Maine inspiring. N.C. and Andrew Wyeth, (and Jamie Wyeth today), Sanford Gifford, Rockwell Kent, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Edwin Church, and many others. You’ll find their paintings in major museums around the world.
Maine is quite a place. A gem.