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Reception for Michael, First Friday, August 6th, 5 to 7pm.
In Michael's own words: In April of 2019, I received two emails encouraging me to apply for the Allagash Wilderness Waterway Visiting Artist program. I would be the inaugural visiting artist. To experience the 92-mile-long wild river system that is the Allagash would be truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The two-week residency was hosted and designed by Maine's Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, which established the residency program to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of this spectacular scenic waterway.
At first, I laughed, dismissing the idea. But then the thought of painting in the wilderness became a hawser that would tie me to the most remote and wild river of Maine forever.
Weeks later, when Superintendent LaRoche informed me that I was selected as the first resident artist, I was utterly astounded that they would pick me out of hundreds of applicants from as far away as Europe.
My application described my residency plan in four parts: First, I would paint three to four 8 by10 oils each day, each at a different location. Second, I would focus on the joy of painting, no matter the difficulties or circumstances. Third, I would arise each day with two hands in the present and not be distracted by past paintings or even future ones. Last, I would finish well, capturing the"life force" of the Allagash Wilderness, as best I could.
As an inter-related member of the Penobscot tribe through marriage, I fully agree with the philosophy of my First Nation wife that the River is more than what runs through a village, but it is its very "Life Source."
In hindsight, I now know that sometimes the most absurd idea at the most inconvenient time can be the very breakthrough you are looking for. It was such for me in this residency.