I took a ride out to Ocean Point last week, as most of us do just because we can, to take in those gorgeous views. As I passed Ocean Point Inn and the water views from there, I thought how grand it must be to be an artist. I soon found myself going by Corinne McIntyre’s house and gallery, Ocean Point Studio/Visions of Maine. I did one of those verbal notes to self to give her a call and see what she’d been up to this long winter.
A plein air oil painter, McIntyre is an associate member of Oil Painters of America and founding member of Plein Air Painters of Maine (PAPME). A few years back, she passed her PAPME palette and brush to Fran Scannell who McIntyre said is doing great things leading the group.
Things have been perking up since the infamous year 2020. In fact, this year marks the 28th year for McIntyre’s gallery. She said last year was one of her best years ever – and she didn’t open until July.
“I get to meet people all day … how wonderful is that? They love to tell you what they do and they are always happy looking at and/or buying something they love. I have collectors who come year after year who become friends. I just got a birthday card from one. The gallery is so much more than a place to sell paintings.”
And speaking of her work, last year she decided to do more studio work. She has piles of her plein air paintings that are 95% finished. She explained she is, quite simply, too busy making new paintings. One she just finished dates back to a storm that was brewing at Ocean Point back in May 2013.
After she selects a painting to finish, or that calls to her, she sets it up and really studies it to see what it needs.
“It may take a couple of days. I use the photo of where I was and make a thumbnail of it. I hold up the photo in front of the painting and pretend I’m there and start working; when I put the photo down the painting has begun telling me what it wants.”
What needed revisiting with this one? McIntyre wasn’t happy with the rocks in the foreground; they didn’t lead the viewer’s eye to the background, so she added waves that did the trick. And, as she does with all of her finished paintings, before varnishing them, she takes a photograph and puts it on her website and in her blog. This finished work is entitled, “Storm Brewing at Ocean Point.” McIntyre had intended to call it “Storm Brewing,” but wouldn’t you know it: Her records revealed she’d already used the title … imagine!
She has, however, had enough of painting outside in the cold. Working more in studio this time of year she has come up with a new technique that starts with water-based oil paints. She used to paint with watercolors, and found them “really freeing … you really get to splash that paint around.”
Her new technique uses three colors – blue, yellow and a bit of white. She paints the canvas with her watercolor brushes, kind of like an underpainting.
“Once it’s dry – and sometimes even when it isn’t – I start working with my oil paints and I can get some nice gushy brush strokes. (The paintings) have a depth to them the others don’t – at least in my eye.”
I asked her to send me two of the most recent paintings of this new technique and they are pretty sensational.
“Quiet Day at Ocean Point,” is an example of not only a successful new technique, but of the deep and abiding connection McIntyre has with this most divine area of the Boothbay Region.
The painting is a view of OP (as we all like to abbreviate it) from the rocks to the left of Grimes Cove looking out to Ram Island. The artist’s eye for detail and familiarity with her subject is, no doubt, one of the reasons for her success. And, they are great to visit, and spend some time in.
I’m standing on the rock in the painting, bordered by goldenrod. You’ve stood there, too, no doubt, and smiled – maybe just inwardly – because we know how lucky we are that fate saw fit to draw us to this place. I think that may be part of the magic of a McIntyre painting, why we want to have one (at least) in our homes: In every painting she reminds us why we live here, and why others come here for vacation year after year.
Back to that painting: There are the quiet reflections of the trees near the large white house on the “cliff” across from where I’m standing; the small waves move my eye out toward the bay where a small sailboat is anchored, and Ram Light is ahead. Returning to the rock ( hey I just remembered I wasn’t in a boat myself – and I don’t swim) the brownish-green sargassum(?) floats quietly providing food for the sea life below. There is a light in this, and the other painting created with the new technique, “Heavenly Day,” that I can see, too.
Over the past three decades, McIntyre must have painted the Ocean Point coastline thousands of times. But she never tires of it. She said she could never stop painting there. “I can’t get enough of Ocean Point!” And clearly we can’t, either. In the time it’s taken me to write this, someone has probably already bought one, or both, of these paintings. They go that fast.
Yet McIntyre still feels like a beginner. “And I think that means you are always thinking, always experimenting. I love painting more now than I have in my whole life. I just love every single solitary day.”
See Corinne McIntyre’s works this summer on Van Horn Road in her gallery, part of what she calls her East Boothbay “playground.” And visit https://www.corinnemcintyre.com