Update on Wednesday, July 23:
Robert Dorlac has posted some watercolor paintings of Acadia National Park that he completed while in residence at the park.
Over the next year or two, Dorlac will add studio-made monotypes and oil paintings.
Here is original story:
“I’m trying to make as honest a response to the place as I’ve experienced,” said Dorlac, 60, professor of art at Southwest Minnesota State University, in Marshall, Minn., during an interview along the shore of Schoodic Peninsula, the base for the residency program and the only section of Acadia on the mainland.
Dorlac’s two-week stay at Acadia continues a long tradition of artists responding to nature and sharing their experiences with the public. Landscape painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church helped make Mount Desert Island famous in the mid 19th century, while writer John Muir and photographer Ansel Adams were important in revealing the beauty of the American West.
On Thursday, July 17, at 1 p.m., on Schoodic Peninsula, Dorlac is leading a two-hour sketching workshop with charcoal and colored pencil. The workshop is open and free to the public.
Each year, the Acadia National Park Artist-in-Residence Program selects between 12 and 20 professional artists to serve two- to four-week residencies. The application period for the 2015 program begins in August.
Dorlac paints mostly landscapes. He said Acadia reminds him of his home region in many ways.
“The north shore of Lake Superior is pretty similar to this,” said Dorlac, who has a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a master in fine arts in painting from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. “There are similar rocks.”
He was also an artist in residence in 2008 at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan. He said that Isle Royale — a massive island in the northern part of Lake Superior — also resembles Acadia, with its granite and rounded stones.
Dorlac, who is at the Maine park with his wife, Patricia, said he is getting a lot of work done along the rocky shores off the Sundew Trail, located on the southwest shore of the Schoodic Peninsula.
It’s a spectacular place to work. Cadillac Mountain and other Acadia peaks loom on the horizon across the ocean and the shoreline is dominated by huge granite.
“I come out to these rocks every day and spend six to eight hours. It’s a great opportunity.”
He said some of his Acadia paintings could be for sale on his web site and at the Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis, which offers some of his other art.
He said his painting is influenced by his background in geology.
He said the importance of national parks such as Acadia can be difficult to put into words. He believes a visual medium is needed to raise public awareness of the value of places like Acadia.
Without the artist in residence program, he would likely never travel to the Maine park.
“It’s my first visit to Maine. I haven’t been north of New York City in the East. It’s great. I love it. The people are really nice.”
If you miss Dorlac’s program, other artists in residence and rangers who are also artists will be leading two-hour Acadia Art Adventure Programs every Thursday at 1 p.m. throughout the summer, meeting at the Eliot Hall Information Kiosk at the Schoodic Education and Research Center. See the park ranger program schedule for more details.