An Artist’s Retreat – Notes from Claire Bigbee

Every artist needs time away. Time away from their studio. Time away from their usual places. Time away from life. For artist Claire Bigbee, that time elsewhere was spent early this summer near a small state park on the coast of Maine.

Airy Blue Skies at Casco Bay

“I decided to rent a cabin at Wolfe’s Neck Center near Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in June to work on my September show. I booked their senior cabin and off I went,” shares Bigbee. “I invited my friend and artist Ingunn Joergensen, and we escaped to a slice of heaven for a while.”

Pastoral views have been a theme in Bigbee’s landscape painting since she lived in Taos, New Mexico thirty-two years ago. The cow farm she lived next to was an inspiration. She observed them daily and often into the evenings. It was then her cow passion started.

Buttercup Pastures at Wolf's Neck Farm #1


“When I first drove into the state park camping grounds, the back-way by mistake, of course, I stopped the truck and was struck with the view. It was the same view I had been imagining,” says Bigbee. “I spent an hour watching the cows pasture up through the buttercups fields.  From a long way off to the fence, they came to greet me, just as Ingunn came rolling. Our favorite of the herd was Alice.” 

Around the turn of the century Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, where Bigbee grew up, was settled with fishing boats and farmlands along the sandy, rocky coast. Cows grazing along a backdrop of sky and ocean was a familiar sight. Now at Wolf’s Neck Woods State Park the organic farming and gorgeous views with rolling pastures of sheep and cows still have Casco Bay in the background. This scene is just what Bigbee loves to paint.

Buttercup Fields, A Quiet Escape by Casco Bay

“The one cow in the foreground of Buttercup Fields, A Quiet Escape by Casco Bay is the cow Ingunn patted. Her name is Alice,” shares Bigbee. “These creatures are so well connected to us.”

Artist Claire Bigbee

Presently, Bigbee’s show is at Shows on Maine Art Hill in Kennebunk with Ingunn Joergensen and John LeCours.The gallery at 10 Chase Hill is open seasonally but will feature Bigbee’s works until September 20. After which, her work can be seen at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk at the main gallery.  All galleries open at 10 am. Please check the website for seasonal closing times.

Click here to see the virtual show

Click here to read more about Bigbee