Backlit Boats on the Harbor

boat portsmthThe back-lit boats on the harbor caught my eye as the sun moved west. I often paint boats because they aren’t easy to paint, and they get moved around. There’s a challenge when your subject disappears while you are painting it!

boat ports2It was the sunlight on the top of this boat and the nearby rooftops that caught my eye.  The buildings in shadow were a nice foil for the shimmering whites of the sunlit areas of the boat. The were lots of grays in this scene with many subtle colors and a bit of green foliage.

Plein air at The Beachmere Inn

You are invited …as part of my artist residency at The Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit I will give a plein air demonstration & talk on their front lawn. This location and view are the best in town… it’s a “beautiful place place by the sea!” Parking: The nearest place to park is in the public parking lot at the Ogunquit Town Hall. From there it is a short walk over to the Beachmere Inn.

Plein Air Demonstration & talk on the Lawn
The Beachmere Inn
62 Beachmere Place, Ogunquit , Maine
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
5:00 ~ 7:00 pm

Guests are invited to watch Mary paint while enjoying refreshments.
A small selection  of original paintings and prints will be available for purchase.

Beachmere Invitation

Summer Afternoon on Portsmouth Harbor

couple portsIt was a perfect summer afternoon on Portsmouth Harbor. Everyone was out enjoying the weather; boaters, babies, moms, kids, dog walkers, grandmas and grandpas. The sun was warm and the breeze off the water was cool.

couple ports 2Peirce Island is a favorite spot for locals. It has plenty of parking, green grass, a playground, a swimming pool and the harbor. This couple walked to the edge of the water and set up their chairs to have lunch. They were the perfect subjects. They stayed longer than some boats I’ve painted!

Painting at Night in Castine

sketching at nightI love painting at night!  It is one of my favorite times to paint. It takes me back to my childhood when we spent long summer evenings outdoors catching fireflies or going fishing.

Night hse

It is so mysterious and fun to be outdoors after dark . Painting at night has the same quality. It’s outside the boundaries of “regular” painting times.

painting at nightThe owners of a fabulous, grand old house in town stopped by to visit me on the beach at sunset. They had just arrived in town and were excited to see painters were everywhere. I told them I was painting a nocturne and they offered to light up the whole house so I could paint it. When I saw it I couldn’t resist!

night hse finalI sketched and laid in the painting starting around 9 pm. It was getting pretty dark by 10. The blue in the western sky was dim and the trees loomed huge and dark. The house glowed like a birthday cake. Passing cars slowed down to look. I laid out my  colors so I could see them with my head lamp. I painted values in the dim light. It looked finished when I packed up sometime after 11.


Wadsworth Cove at Sunset

sunset WCThere were only two evenings to paint during the Castine Plein Air Festival. My favorite afternoon and evening location is Wadsworth Cove. It is on the western side of town, and the perfect spot to paint back-lit subjects and reflections on the water.

painting at wentworth coveI set up my umbrella to block the reflection so I could see the colors on my painting and palette.

W cove sketch

My first painting was of the big pine bluff and the sun shinning across the water.

W cove painting

The islands and peninsula behind them were beautiful muted blue-green colors.

perkins pointAfter I finished the first painting, I turned to paint the last low light raking across Perkins Point and the beautiful farm fields that were golden in the late light.

Boat House on the Harbor

Whale weather vaneI was driving on Water Street in Castine when I spotted this boat house roof through an opening in the bushes. It was a perfect spot to paint with a long view out over the harbor looking across to Brooksville, Maine.

boat hseWhile I was painting the owner of the house who lives across the street came out to visit. She invited me to go down the stairs and see the view was from the water level. The boat house had originally been a chicken coop that was floated over from Brooksville. I hear so many of these “floated building” stories when I’m out painting.

boat house painting

I loved this location. It is a cozy spot on the harbor. I discovered that almost everybody in Castine walks everywhere. I met many neighbors on their daily walks and bike rides.

Sailing Class in Castine

sail classOn Friday morning it was sunny and breezy on the harbor, perfect for sailing class! The harbor was full of little kids zipping around in tiny little cat boats. It was fun to watch. The little kids treat them like bumper cars and they don’t care if they crash into each other.

pnting sailing lessonIt appears like they are going to crash and sink the boats at any minute. They are reckless and yell at each other as they have close calls or crash. I was busy painting and still their antics would make me laugh out loud!

sail class 2The older kids sail larger boats with two sails. There are three of them sharing each boat and they are quiet and controlled, moving the bigger boats out into deeper water on the edge of the harbor.  They sailed them smoothly and elegantly out toward the islands rimming the harbor.



On the Harbor in Castine

C harborOne of my favorite spots to paint is on the harbor in Castine, Maine. The view I love is a long view looking south toward the Camden Hills. If the weather is changing there are always fabulous colors and beautiful light.

Camden hills startI set up to paint in late afternoon as the shadows grew long and the light was golden.

C harbor sketch 2The days are getting shorter now. It is really noticeable as we move into late July. I felt like it was getting dark too early. I’ve gotten used to these long lazy evenings of painting till 9 pm. Not any more!

Dyces Head Light House, Castine, Maine

painting in Castine LHLast week I painted Dyce’s Head lighthouse in Castine, Maine.  I was invited to paint in the 2014 Castine Plein Air Festival. Castine is a gorgeous little town on the end of a peninsula in downeast Maine. It is a peaceful,  pastoral setting. The town is full of lovely grand old houses, bountiful flower gardens, craggy bluffs, cozy harbors and long views to Camden Hills on the next peninsula to the south.

Dyce light startThere is so much to paint it is overwhelming. Last year the festival was one day long. This year it was 3 days. Choices abound. One morning I headed over to Dyce’s Head to paint the lighthouse.  Here’s my start on a toned panel.

light house finishI intentionally went back down the road to set up my easel. I wanted to include the sweep of the road as it led up to the tower. I’m trying out different approaches as I paint buildings, as I often place them in the landscape. Rarely do I feature them as the focus of the painting.  Fun to mix it up a bit!

Painting in the Rain, Castine

EatonsOn the first morning of the Castine Plein Air Festival I was painting in the rain. I found a spot on the street where I could park and paint a view of Eaton’s boat yard on the harbor below me.

hatchback 2

In bad weather I always paint from my car, a station wagon with a hatchback. So I need a view that I can see from a parking spot. Castine is hilly so there are lots of views available. I parked on Water Street and set up under the hatchback with plenty of shelter from the falling rain.

hatchback I was perfectly fine as long as I didn’t step too far away from the easel to look at what I painted!

hatchback 3

I would get splashed here and there, but my palette and panel were dry and that is what counts.