Casting Off: An artist’s journey
I have always envied people who have a sense of belonging; doubtless my migrant background has something to do with this.
Many years ago, during a visit to Maine, I sat with my friendly hosts in a cape-style house with its distinctive timber shape and stone base rooting it to the landscape, and a sense of settling there came to me. But it was not to be, and my peripatetic life continued much as it started during a childhood spent living on a boat. I did, however, get to visit Maine on a number of occasions and it holds many special memories. It was the very first place I was given an ongoing gig—drawing cartoons for WoodenBoat magazine—which began a life-long career in the arts, including illustrating for Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors. Our three-year-old daughter saw snow there for the first time. It was our earliest glimpse of her love of the cold and her incredible accuracy when hurling snowballs.
When I wasn’t there in person, I was able to live vicariously through the magazines and the stories I was asked to illustrate. These were kind stories of local people who lived valued lives. I think the world would greatly benefit from publishing more stories like these. These illustrations have given me decades of happy memories.
Sadly, I find myself with less and less time, and good art takes time. I won’t offer anybody less than my best attention, so the time has come for me to cast off, though breaking this connection with Maine causes me considerable sadness.
Lastly, a story from my first visit to Maine. As we drove into the gloomy woods at dusk, I noticed a sign that read “frost heave,” and a thought came to me: what a curious name to call a town. A short while down the road and four frost heave signs later, I was glad that I kept that thought to myself.
I do however hope to visit Frost Heave again soon.
Caroline Magerl’s diverse blend of artwork can be viewed on Instagram.