A World of Unique Character and Natural Beauty

Exploration Inspiration – Island World

June 10, 2012      Author : Eric Hopkins and Peter Ralston    Category: Art      0 Comment(s)

For artists Eric Hopkins and Peter Ralston, island exploration by air and sea inspires the soul, bringing beauty and meaning to the experience of their work. We are thrilled, honored, and humbled to share excerpts of Eric’s writings from 2010 and Peter’s responses - fascinating musings providing joyful insights into how these artist-explorers see, feel, and “re-present” the world of Maine islands. Enjoy the fifth in the Exploration Inspiration series of seven, “Island World”:

I wake up early every morning, look out the window and say, “WOW! What a World of Wonder!”

I was lucky enough to spend my early days on North Haven where my worldview consisted of roaming the woods and fields and shoreline and exploring the edges where land, water, and sky meet. I was drawn to shapes, spaces, patterns, and the rhythms of nature.

I was and still am fascinated by the incredible variety of life forms and forces on this Planet.

My father was a schoolteacher and taught me about atoms and cells and celestial bodies when I was quite young.

In 1957, my worldview changed drastically when I heard about some Russians launching Sputnik and the Space Race was on. I was fascinated by space and rockets and orbits and ideas WAY bigger than what I saw on the island.

In May 1961, when President Kennedy said that before the end of the decade Americans would land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth, I knew my world—our world—had changed dramatically. Only eight years later— July 20, 1969—Neil Armstrong took a small step for man and that giant leap for mankind. Somehow that was a defining moment in my life. I knew that if we could put a man on the moon and safely return him to Earth that I, too, could do anything I wanted.

For the next four decades I’ve been exploring visual ideas of my world realities. Sometimes that means looking through the microscope—or telescope or from a boat or a plane. Sometimes it means looking closely at what’s right here in my own backyard.

Island Cove and Deep Distance © Eric Hopkins 2012

Family © Peter Ralston 2012

Much has been made of that spectacular first image of the earth floating in space, shot as Apollo 8 came around from behind the moon. I know it changed me forever. Like Joanie Mitchell sang, “Little garden planet, oasis in space.” It makes – and keeps – me intensely aware that, in the end, we all live on an island . . . and that we had best take care of our little blue-green home. As Philip Conkling of the Island Institute calls it, “lifeboat ethics.” Macro/micro…islands have a way of merging it all into one. I’m a small-town boy, now small-town man, thank God. In nature and in these small towns, well, that’s where I like to do my exploring and creating.

Next, in “Life Patterns”, Eric and Peter reflect on the recurring rhythms and patterns at play all around us, and try to make sense of them all in relation to Planet, Space, Motion, and Time.


More of Peter Ralston's photography

More of Eric Hopkins' paintings


Subscribe to Maine Island Living at right--new posts will be sent to your inbox.


There are no comments yet!


× 3 = 9

Pin It on Pinterest