After his return to the United States in 1910, Marin resumed his habit of working outdoors, spending his summers in scenic rural locales, including the Adirondacks and Berkshires. When he married Marie Hughes in 1912, the couple continued to make frequent excursions to the countryside. None of these turned out to be more momentous than their first visit, in 1914, to the seaside villages of West Point and Small Point, Maine, a state to which the artist would return almost every summer thereafter. That year, his most prolific to date, also marked the birth of his only child, John Currey Marin, Jr. The artist's life assumed a comfortable structure that included annual exhibitions of his work in New York, productive winter months in New Jersey, and long summers—often stretching into fall—in Maine. In 1919 he made his first stay in the hilly fishing village of Stonington, on picturesque Deer Isle, overlooking Penobscot Bay. After that, he stayed on Deer Isle nearly every summer until 1933.

A passionate outdoorsman since boyhood, Marin took to Maine life naturally. Setting out in his boat, he explored islands and inlets with his sketchbook, watercolor materials, and fishing gear, embracing the special properties of Maine's ecology, much as the great watercolor painter Winslow Homer had done a generation earlier. Away from urban distractions and news of war in Europe, Marin was able to shake off the pressure and competition of the art world. Praising "beautiful lonesomeness," he wrote to Alfred Stieglitz in 1915:

I am more interested yea lots more in me myself & my doings than French wars German wars English wars all other wars, all social doings, social happenings the trend of the world . . . my dory needs painting.

In Maine, Marin was able to develop new powers of concentration, a weightier, more tactile manner of painting, and a heightened awareness of his own response to his surroundings.

John Marin. The Pine Tree, Small Point, 1926. Alfred Stieglitz Collection.