Chain of Ponds is in the far northwest corner of Maine, along the border of Quebec Province. The area was introduced to me by my friend Valerie, whose Canadian roots brought her family here.
If you are unfamiliar with the area, the map below shows the location of Chain of Ponds in relation to the rest of the state of Maine.
Her photos of the ponds near her family camp had me curious, because it is so remote and wild. There is no service or township past Eustis, (Maine) one of the last towns prior to Chain of Ponds, so we stocked up, and got excited about a few days in the wilderness.
This is the land of ATVs, snowmobiles, hiking trails, and moose. Being so unplugged from my normal routine, I started imagining enjoying some of these pass-times, as suddenly they seemed really fun to me. Then we saw a moose right on the side of the road.
When we arrived at the campground, we were greeted by their campground anthem:
I was enthralled by the views of the mountains, the dramatic clouds, and the incredibly peaceful lake water as we entered into the last, most northern pond to our campground.
We grabbed a peaceful spot under some of the tallest trees I have seen in a long time:
The sun was going to set in front of our camp site, and because the clouds were fighting to clear, I knew it would be a great show of colors. The black flies were intense and I wore my head net and sprayed the remainder of my Cedarcide bottle everywhere I could, and miraculously it worked for me....
The views were more spectacular than anything I could ever paint, (as seen in the photos above) but my goal was to capture the colors for studies I could bring back to the studio for larger works this fall. I wanted to capture 3 different stages of sunset (before, during, and after) as all of these moments have completely different color palettes:
This was all happening as an enormous bull frog sat below me the whole time. Didn't move at all! Maybe I will add him into the larger painting...find the frog kind of thing :)
A little history learned along the way: in his earlier, more flattering career, Benedict Arnold, under orders from George Washington (American Revolution), brought 1,100 troops from Massachusetts to Canada on foot passing along Chain of Ponds in the middle of winter in 1775. 300 of his men men died during the trek, while 200 turned back, but the siege of Quebec City was considered a success and earned him a promotion to Brigadier General.
To read more about the places I visited during my summer living in a van and making art, read the list of stops, here.