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Somewhere in the woods near Wiscassett, Maine, my father is building, mostly by himself, little by little, a postcard-perfect New England Cape. On a recent visit to the construction site, my sister and I asked incessant questions about why he had chosen this particular mosquito-infested patch of land for his dream house. So he drove us to nearby Pemaquid Point, where our peevish mugs quickly turned awestruck: Watching the sea heave mightily as it pounded the huge rocks below us, we felt as if we were at the edge of the world. It was, as New Jersey-born artist John Marin said of Maine, “one fierce, restless, cruel, beautiful, hellish…place.” Like my father, Marin made frequent trips north to do some serious work, painting Maine’s landscape for four decades. Today, author Stephen May explores the work of Marin and other artists inspired by New England’s northernmost state in his lecture “Exploring Maine’s Artistic Heritage” at 2 p.m. at the National Museum of American Art’s Lecture Hall, 8th & G Sts. NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Leonard Roberge)