Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Andrew Wyeth Day in Christina's World, Camden, Maine

Friday, 8/12/11 - We arrived at our second RV campsite, Saltwater Farm Campground, Thomaston/Cushing, Maine a beautiful site over looking the St. George River in Mid Coast Maine. We actually have a small view of the river from our RV. After speaking with the owner there is a lot to see around here and I wish we would have booked for longer then 2 days, stuff you never know. The incredible bonus of this area is where the Wyeth's did their Maine paintings...N.C., Andrew and Jaimie. There is a museum, a gallery and the Olson House where Christina was painted. I am so excited for tomorrow and our sightseeing day.

Saturday, 8/13/11 - We get an early start as it should be a full day heading out on Route 1....everything in Maine seems to be off this road. Our first stop is Rockland, about 5 miles from the town we are staying in and this is were the Farnsworth Art Museum is located In purchasing a ticket this entitles you to see the paintings in their museum, the Wyeth Gallery, located across the street in an old church and the Olson House, where the Christina picture was painted in Cushing, Maine. Unfortunately, they also have tours through the Farnsworth Homestead, a 19th century Greek Revival home, but alas it was closed for repairs.

We started with the Farnsworth Museum which was many different artists and painting and photographs of Maine. I really was only was interested in any of the Wyeth Family paintings and drawings and Will didn't know any of them but enjoyed looking. As it turns out they are celebrating "Christina's World" through October 2011 so there were many pictures, books, several short movies (we watched) regarding that painting. Many, many years ago I had that picture hanging in my living room for years and always loved it. It is the painting of Christina, on the ground in a field (you see her back only) arm outstretch, looking up towards a farm house in the distance. This was painted by Andrew Wyeth (N.C. is his father & Jamie is his son.) I knew none of the back story of this painting so it was wonderful to learn all about Christina, who was crippled and her brother, Alvaro Olson, both unmarried that lived in this house and their relationship to Betsy & Andrew Wyeth.....all fascinating for ME.

After the museum and a short walk around town he headed for the next town and stop Camden, Maine looking for the restaurant, Marriner's Grill that our RV park had recommended as she said they had wonderful clam chowder. We found it right on the Main Street in this absolutely darling and very busy tourist town. We started out with a booth inside, then Will discovered they had dining on a patio outside overlooking water. So we found our second table when as soon as we settled down another table overlooking the water and the FALLS came available.....move to table number 3. This time it was perfect. I, of course, start taking pictures of everything around us until our order came. I love the clam chowder but Will likes Pismo Beach better, oh well, Pismo can't duplicate this view!!! While eating we (I guess that should be ME) strike up a conversation with a very nice local couple at the next table, Kim and Al. Al even generously takes a picture of Will & I at our table and we had some great exchanges and some laughs.

After lunch we wander down to the pier and find they have many big sailboats going out all afternoon on 2 hour sailing tours that take you by several lighthouses and along the coast where the rich and famous live in their "cottages" as they call them....but I understand they are mansions/estates. But sadly, all the sailings for this afternoon were sold out so we walked around a little longer then headed back to our car for the drive home. Now Will is tired and has no interest in seeing the Olson house so I drop him off at the RV and take off, map in hand, to try and locate where the Christina painting was done. Gosh, I am so use to the girlfriend, GPS leading me everywhere that it was pretty tough without her giving directions. I got lost several times, stopped and asked for help/directions and eventually found it.

What a glorious experience it was!!! Just seeing the house, the barn, the field where Christina sat was surreal. I went inside and immediately there was a tour starting and they explained the wonderful history of the Olson family, the Wyeth Family dynamics and answered lots of questions from us. We were able to explore all three floors of this old house and take as many pictures as we wanted. A most special thing they did, was they would have a print in the room on the wall of what Andrew painted and you were able to look out the window and see it, an amazing experience.
Finally, they explained that the family cemetery was located across the road from the house, in a field (this is where Christina was "dragging" herself back from visiting her parents grave") Now the docent explained that it was private property and was not owned by the museum and didn't encourage anyone to go there but you could tell by the path, many people do. Of course, I knew I was going and I did. I followed the path across the field down towards the cemetery and much to my surprise or shock.....there was Andrew Wyeth grave...the stone had his name and 1917 - 2009. They don't tell you anywhere he is buried there, I guess, because it is private property and not available to the general public. I also found Christina and Alvaro grave plus other Olson family members. It truly was a wonderful day I never dreamed I would experience. This is another reason this RV trip is so fabulous, all the unknown adventures we have had and will have. Much love to all our family and friends.

1 comment:

Rita said...

That was totally interesting!! I am somewhat familiar with A. Wyeth because of a friend, but never knew the total story. Fascinating...keep those blogs coming.