Winter Painting on the Coast of Maine

5

A tiny big surf Nor’easter painting from my Haiku Series: Riding out the Storm, 4 x 6″ acrylic on board.

It is late January, I’m painting outdoors in winter on the coast of Maine and the weather sort of feels like April. The biggest things that make this winter feel like spring are the warm temperatures and lack of snow. I am happy that we have had so little snow this winter. We have just enough snow for me to paint snow paintings but not so much that I’m shoveling all the time. Last year was the year I nicknamed the the year of mountains of snow as we lived for months with piles of snow everywhere. We were running out of places to put it. We had continuous back to back snow storms for weeks. By the end of February I was maxed out on non stop snow storms. I felt I was constantly being interrupted to go out and shovel snow when all I wanted to do was paint. And I was only moving the small piles! Marcus was snow blowing the large areas. This winter such a nice change. it is so nice to be painting more than I am shoveling snow.

Last week, in between teaching and painting in the studio I was out on the coast painting surf. I am having the best time ever ! I forget how much I love it.  I love being outdoors and I love painting crashing surf.  Its interesting, I never really know what I am going to do when I head over to paint. I have a pile of different sized panels in my car. I pack extras of  everything as I never know what is going to grab me.  I choose a location, set up and look around. I sketch a bunch of things. I take my time deciding on the location for my easel. There is always so much to look at. The variety of choices is unlimited.  When I set up I do know where the sun is heading so it gives me a little room to take time to design what I am going to focus on.  Once I was committed to the view I painted the large rock formations in.  By the time I was putting more paint on the panel of course the tide has changed completely. Everything was more exposed or partly submerged or missing completely. Did I care?  I sketched them in already so I was all set with my original design. I stuck to it and jumped into painting full steam ahead. What would I do if I ever moved inland? The lakes and rivers never change their water levels.  One of the great things about painting tidal water is that it changes the look of everything every 15 minutes . If the arrangement of rocks or the coastline doesn’t look that great, I can sketch for a bit and it will change.  Sometimes it will be just what I’m looking for.
This past week on the coast was much mellower than the week before. There were a few chilly days but the weather was calmer. There were no big storms after the nor’easter blizzard that blew through. I’m actually hoping for a few more big storms soon so I can watch more spectacular surf.  I can tell I really haven’t had the amount of time I want to hang out and observe big surf.  And wouldn’t it be nice if temps were above freezing?

When I wasn’t out painting surf this week I was teaching my classes and experimenting with a variety of techniques with acrylic paint in the studio. I’ve always liked the flow of acrylic paints, it affects the way I handle the paint. I like using different mediums to see how it changes the way I paint. I’m also using some new teaching methods with my classes this year. I’ve noticed over the years that many painters have difficulties in specific areas that make it hard for them to improve their over all painting skills or to “get where they want to go”.  I targeted some of the specific areas and designed “a short cut through the woods” teaching modality so that everyone would improve faster. Each student has different challenges, skills and different learning curves. But they seem to be moving fast.  They are improving and moving through their challenges. Its a brain, hand, eye, learning combo and it seems to be working nicely. I share class pictures from time to time (if I remember to take them) on my Facebook page.

Here I am painting rocks and surf in Cape Neddick. I’m painting often at the same location to get to the “heart of the place. I look north, south & east, there are a couple hundred paintings to paint. I really would have to take a few years to accomplish this or paint here every day. It was really warm today but with the warmth came clouds. Still the colors of the ocean were beautiful. I’m going to try and squeeze in some twilight sessions if the tide and weather cooperate this upcoming week. Its January and the snow melted and the bugs came out today. That’s pretty radical. Photo: Marcus Gale

YOU CAN SIGN UP NOW FOR THE NEXT STUDIO CLASS SESSION
STARTING FEBRUARY 16TH
If you’d like to improve your painting skills before the warm weather arrives  you can sign up now for the next session. Classes are small with lots of personal attention.
Be prepared for a lot of painting and a lot of fun!
The next session begins on Tuesday, February 16th.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and want to gain some solid skills, comfort in your chosen medium and rapid improvement this is the class for you.
ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. 6 Week session is $220.
There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

I look forward to seeing you!

Painting a Nor’easter in Maine

HAIKU SERIES ~ WIND SWEPT.3X9.$85

A tiny painting from my Haiku series of the evening clouds after sunset above the wide open expanses of the marshes. Haiku Series: Wind Swept, 3 x 9″ acrylic on board.

A big nor’easter hit the coast this week. It buried the mid Atlantic states in piles of snow but here in Maine we had a nice situation.  The nor’easter headed out to sea before it reached us.  We only had big winds, overcast skies and big waves. The big waves promised by the forecasters were perfect for surf painting. I headed over to the shore line to paint them! The day the storm hit south of us in Massachusetts on Cape Cod I went out to sketch and paint as the seas were building and getting rough. I knew that the peak wave heights would be increasing over night and the following day. I wanted to see the process. When I arrived I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to find a spot out of the wind to set up my easel. It was blowing steadily at 40 mph with bigger gusts out of the NE. It was obvious I couldn’t get out of the wind. The wind chill was zero degrees. I decided to sketch the surf. It was so cold my ink pen froze. I switched to drawing with a pencil.

This is a new painting location for me so I wanted to get familiar with the “lay of the land” and the way the rocks and ledges meet the water’s edge. This spot is acclaimed for its big surf. When I saw the size and power of the waves I stayed on alert. Some of these really big waves climbed up close to me as they crashed over the rocks.
The next morning the sun came out so I headed over to paint the surf  which was even bigger than the day before. What fabulous day!  I was able to set up in a sheltered spot with plenty of sun. It felt like spring. And the waves were unbelievable ! I really love the challenge of painting surf on location. It is an exercise of observation and memory. Not only is it an opportunity to be in a beautiful location but it is incredible to see the raw power of nature. It requires me to focus and observe closely what is happening in front of me. Its impossible to paint everything in front of me. A wave crashes into foam in a few seconds.  And every wave has its own individual personality. What fun!  I’m getting out of the studio more often to paint outdoors and reaching that balance of studio and plein air painting that makes me a happy painter!

Crashing surf- painting a nor'easter

Here I am set up in Cape Neddick painting on the edge of the rocks. The surf is crashing right in front of me. It makes big booming sounds and the ground under me shakes when a particularly large wave hits. This is heavenly. The wind is blocked by a building behind me and the sun is keeping me toasty warm. I should have brought sunscreen! Spring is coming. I had to take off my hat and gloves I was so warm. Photo: Mary Byrom

YOU CAN SIGN UP NOW FOR THE NEXT STUDIO CLASS SESSION
STARTING FEBRUARY 16TH

If you’d like to improve your painting skills before the warm weather arrives  you can sign up now for the next session. Classes are small with lots of personal attention.
Be prepared for a lot of painting and a lot of fun!
The next session begins on Tuesday, February 16th.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and want to gain some solid skills, comfort in your chosen medium and rapid improvement this is the class for you.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. 6 Week session is $220.
There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

 

Painting Winter & Snow

12.13.15 HAIKU WIND SWEPT.3X9.$85

My haiku series. Another late light scene over the winter marsh. Wind Swept, 3×9″. Available.

This week it felt a little bit like winter. The arctic vortex dipped down and chilled it up a bit. I paint outdoors in every season and that includes winter in New England. Snow scenes are gorgeous and Aldro Hibbard painted some of my favorite paintings of snow scenes in Vermont. We haven’t had much snow this year as El Nino is keeping our temperatures warmer than usual.  I’m not complaining! Last year’s bumper crop of snow is still in my memory and I don’t mind in the least that I’m not shoveling mountains of snow this year. I’m busy painting in the studio this winter, but I emerge at least once a week to paint en plein air. What a difference this is for me! I’ve transitioned from painting for ten years solely en plein air to moving indoors into the studio most of the time. I miss painting outdoors every day.  I had to convince myself to go back into the studio to paint. After all those years painting outside, I really love painting outdoors.  I’m in my element and love the challenges of it.  I’m now trying to reach a balance of studio and plein air time as each complements the other and new work is coming from it. Much of my Haiku series come from my time spent outdoors and are based on my sketchbooks I did on location.

12.13.15 HAIKU VILLAGE LIGHTS 2.5X8. $85

A tiny painting from my Haiku series of clouds racing across the sky in the late afternoon above the silhouetted church tower and roof tops . Haiku Series: Village Lights, 3 x 8 ” acrylic on board.

I’m friends with this hearty little group of painters who love to paint outdoors in the winter. We have a great time when we go out. When I am choosing a painting location for a group location on a winter day I try to locate a spot that is out of the wind and gets some sunshine.  I check out the wind conditions and predicted weather changes. And I always double check with another painter who is as much of a “weather fanatic” as I am. We compare the different forecasts then narrow down the selection till we have the best day possible. We managed to get out to paint all last winter and painted in complete comfort even when the temps were in the lower digits.  This past week we headed to a good location with sunshine, a little protection from the south westerly wind and a variety of subject matter. There was enough different scenery so that everyone was happy and we ended up with a wide variety of paintings. I stayed near my car, setting up my easel behind it using the car as a wind block. The temps were in the high 20’s & low 30’s.  The gentle wind made it feel like the teens. The sunshine was so toasty it felt perfectly fine to paint with just my wool sweater wind and a wind breaker over it.  I was fine until the sun started to dip really low in the west. Then the chill really set in. My paint started to behave  strangely – and shortly after that my toes were chilled. This means I will really have to break out my winter gear and put on the long johns,down jacket and my big Iditarod boots. I do have real winter painting gear. I can dress to stay warm at -4. It’s been so warm this winter I’ve been holding off till it feels like the real deal. Some painters wait till it gets warm to paint. There is nothing like painting en plein air in winter. I feel so good when I’m out there and the benefits of being outdoors in that crisp fresh air lasts all week.

Here I am out on Kittery Point sketching the view before I start to paint. I am purposely set up in a sunny spot, behind my car, out of the direct wind taking advantage of the view and the westerly facing location so I have a warm, sun filled, afternoon for toasty winter painting. Photo: Marcus Gale.

YOU CAN SIGN UP NOW FOR THE NEXT STUDIO CLASS SESSION
STARTING FEBRUARY 16TH

If you are thinking you’d like to improve your painting skills before the warm weather arrives  you can sign up now for the next session. Classes are small with lots of personal attention.
Be prepared for a lot of painting and a lot of fun!
The next session begins on Tuesday, February 16th.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and want to gain some solid skills, comfort in your chosen medium and rapid improvement this is the class for you.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. 6 Week session is $220.
There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

It May Still be Winter

A tiny painting from my Haiku series of blazing skies on a late afternoon out in the marsh. Haiku Series: Last LIght, 3 x 5 ” acrylic on board.

The sap is running! We may still think it’s winter and and we probably will have a few more snowstorms, but winter is not here for long. The sap is running. Maple syrup season will start soon, it’s the first harbinger of spring in the Northeast. This is one of the things I notice about painting outside; I become attuned to all the small changes around me.  The small little things get my attention. The sap splashing onto my studio deck. The extra minutes of sunlight at sunset. The thawing of the ice in the marsh. The inching of nature minute by minute toward the next season, even if this past one is still lingering.  I feel the end of winter coming faster than I’d like it to. I’d like it to linger longer as I feel it just barely got here. I enjoyed autumn as it lingered into December and now winter? Will this be the winter that just barely touched down?  When I was younger I enjoyed piloting little single engine airplanes. Yes, real airplanes up in the sky! To learn how a plane handles I used to practice something called “touch & go”.   I’d  circle around the sky above the airport coming down to land just barely touching the tarmac with the wheels of the plane only to rise again immediately. It was a way to practice landing and taking off. But the plane was always in motion. I was always moving forward.  Now I’m thinking of stopping and pausing more often, looking around, checking things out. This practice of  “touch & go” when learning to fly a plane reminded me of a painting practice called “starts”. “Starts” are quick paintings/studies completed in 20 minutes. What is the value of a “start”? You see what you are doing right or wrong really fast. You learn how you “see”, how you process information, how you judge light and color. You don’t spend hours of time on a painting just to find out in the end that it ” doesn’t look quite right”. You see what isn’t working and in the next “start” you do it differently.  You don’t spend endless amounts of time trying to” fix” something.

A very quiet day on the Salmon Falls River in October. My Easy L is my “go to” easel in good weather conditions. Its light and easy to carry a distance if I have to set up far away from my car. Photo: Marcus Gale.

I’m teaching two studio classes that I really love. We are painting lots of “starts” and the growth I see in these students is wonderful.  I realized when I was watching the painting students in their process that they were not unusual. They are struggling with the same things we all are challenged with as painters.  The difference is that we have more experience with challenges if we have been painting for a long time.  I think the  difference between a beginner and experienced painter is that the experienced painter has more experiences encountering challenges and solving problems.  The more paintings you make the more experience you have with different situations and solutions to different problems.  “Starts” allow you to solve more problems in a shorter amount of time. You begin, develop and end a painting in 20 min, so you learn much faster than if you took 6 hours to go through that process. For inexperienced painters I see it makes a difference. They begin to understand how to speak the language of painting. They use the brush with paint to express their unique perspective. I noticed the more often they paint the better they get at expressing themselves. When handling the medium of paint is a comfortable process, the creation of the painting is enjoyable. I see too many painters painting in en plein air out side of their comfort zone, simply fighting with their materials. It’s difficult enough already to paint en plein air  dealing with the elements and weather, so its my aim to make our painting process so much a part of us its like having a conversation, but instead of words its with paint.

MY STUDIO CLASSES ARE FILLED

If you are thinking you’d like to improve your painting skills before the warm weather arrives  you can sign up now for the next session. Classes are small with lots of personal attention.
Be prepared for a lot of painting and a lot of fun!
The next session begins on Tuesday, February 16th.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and want to gain some solid skills, comfort in your chosen medium and rapid improvement this is the class for you.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

I look forward to seeing you!

The New Year Focus

12.13.15 HAIKU EVENING CLOUDS.3X5.$75

This is a tiny painting of late afternoon out in the marsh. We’ve had a little snow so everything has a nice bright reflective icing on it. Snow doesn’t last long in the marshes as the salt air seems to melt it. Only if its very cold and its very deep will it last for long. From my Haiku Series: Evening Clouds, 3 x 5 ” acrylic on board. Available.

Happy New year everyone! I hope you had a great holiday and that you are ready for the new year. I’m never ready for it!  How long will it take me to write “2016” correctly when I’ve finally gotten used to writing “2015”?  Time flies by too quickly for my taste. I like to linger and absorb things rather than rush through everything. I may be a fast painter but that is the result of lots of long leisurely observation. I noticed that if I am painting in a different climate or “strange landscape” as I call it, I don’t paint in my usual way. That is a result of not having had the leisurely time to observe and experience the essence of a place.  Its like styles of vacationing – some people like to take a trip and go from place to place on a tour.  I discovered that I actually like to go somewhere and hang out and immerse myself in a place/culture/country and get to know it a bit.

“Hanging out” has really made it easier for me to paint.  All those years of looking around in every season, under all kinds of lighting conditions and in every manner of weather has paid off.  I totally understand why some artists paint the same subject many times. I never tire of wandering in the marshes or along the seacoast. It is different every day.  Today was a day where I had a little bit of time in-between appointments. I was near the marshes and the seacoast. I remembered I was going out to paint later this week,  so I spent my entire hour looking at the snow conditions on the marshes and the rock ledges along the coast.  What a difference a little snow makes!  And now I know exactly where I am heading when I go out to paint later this week.  And I know precisely the warm clothing and extra gear I will bring along. The wind was shockingly cold as it blew in off the ocean this morning. It finally really feels like winter. The streets were deserted, the air was crisp and clean, and I could park anywhere I wanted to.  It made my cheeks rosy and put a smile on my face.

A stiff wind on the beach in the off season is part of the territory of fall/winter/spring painting. My Gloucester easel is the best easel I have for painting in a heavy wind. It is incredibly stable. I use it when I work on large paintings and when there is a steady strong wind to deal with. Photo: Marcus Gale.

NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTING JANUARY

I have 1 opening left in the New Studio Class.
The first session begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and want to gain some solid skills, comfort in your chosen medium and rapid improvement this is the class for you.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

I look forward to seeing you!

Winter Weather & Snow

12.13.15 HAIKU DUSK INTHE CITY.2.5X8.$85

This is a tiny painting of evening as it arrives over a small New England city. I’m working on a large series of small paintings that I am painting from plein air sketches. Its interesting to see what I am pulling out of my memory bank. I think this exercise of visual memory is a rich experience. I think I may make this part of my weekly painting routine. From my Haiku Series: Dusk in the City, 2.5 x 8 ” acrylic on board.

This year we had a Christmas without snow. We usually have some white stuff on the ground in December even if its only a frosting. It was warm and foggy on Christmas eve and it made the landscape look dreamy and mysterious. When I drove to dinner I had to keep reminding myself to not look around but keep my eyes on the road. As I headed out of my neighborhood over to my sister’s house on the the river the fog began to break up and the full moon was shinning brightly . It was totally gorgeous! I had traveled only a few miles and the weather conditions were noticeably different. I think this is one of the interesting attributes of the seacoast.  Along the coast the temperatures and weather conditions can be so different only a few miles away.

This variety of weather is why I like living and painting here. Because of the big body of salt water just to the east of us, we live in this nice coastal zone that often has more moderate temperatures than farther inland in New England. The weather also changes fast here. Things don’t usually hang around too long, usually the weather changes fast. This is the time of year of storms track up the coast from the south. These storms sometimes hit us and deliver a pile of snow and other time just stay way out to sea. But they do create big swells and great crashing waves.  These next eight weeks I’m on the look out for some storms as I want to paint some big surf paintings.  If the wind isn’t too strong I love getting right down there on the rocks to paint the action. I’ve always loved being out in wild weather. I used to love to go walking along the beach in blizzards. Now I just set up my easel in one spot and paint them!

Sunny days in winter can be nice and warm. On this day I had sunshine and clouds, with some of the clouds liberally dropping snow across the marsh.

This is a nice winter day a few winters back. I think it was the year we had our first snow storm on Halloween! This winter so far has not offered us a white blanket of snow. I heard  news that next week might bring some of the white stuff. This year I don’t even care either way – last year we had so much snow that the driveway and foot paths were like tunnels. I won’t mind it  if I don’t have to shovel snow this season. I will have more time to paint!

This spring I will be giving away a painting from my Haiku series. To be eligible to win a painting sign up for my newsletter here.

NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTING JAN 5TH

I have 2 openings left in the New Studio Class.
The first session begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me ASAP.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us please send me an email.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!

I look forward to seeing you!
Lots of love,

Mary

PS. If you would like a cheerful start to your day follow my blog where I share little snippets of art and life in Maine.
Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends!

 

 

How to Create A Successful Painting ~ Part 5

I’m painting a series of “skyscapes” that I suspect have been in the back of my mind for a long time. This week I’m painting a number of them one after the other. I start one and before I get to finish painting it I see another one in my mind. These are coming from the vast storehouse of my memory of all those days I have painted outdoors.  I’m using a specific limited palette for this series and I’m painting a certain mood . My focus with this group of paintings is a certain time of day. This all evolved organically, I seem to be leaning toward sunset into night time. Do you wonder why? This is a such a perfect fit for this time of year. All I have to do is go outside and look around on an overcast cloudy day or in the late afternoon.  These short dark days and the stark scenes set the stage for a beautiful, moody skyscape or landscape. The sunsets have been spectacular in recent weeks and the warm weather we are having this late fall is perfect for painting in the dark. It might get a little chilly after sunset but lately it hasn’t been freezing. My paints are behaving nicely!

This is a tiny painting of an evening cloud scape over a New England village. I’m working on a large series of small paintings that painted en plein air are from memory. Its interesting what happens when I start these . I usually paint a whole bunch of these on one board. Another painting from my Haiku Series: Days End, 2×6″ acrylic on board. Available.

I’m currently working with a simplified limited palette for these dusk/evening paintings and I am painting on a lightly toned panel. I am premixing my “color families” so I can paint fast and grab the mood/colors before they disappear in the sky. One of the important things I’ve learned from my years painting outdoors is that I don’t want to waste time mixing colors when I’m outside. I’d rather paint. Especially if the light condition I want to paint is going to change in a few minutes!  I find it is easy to get in a flow state and paint effortlessly when I have the basic colors I need in front of me and ready to apply on the canvas or panel.  Before I go out to paint I have my secondary colors available in a few values so I’m not grabbing white to mix what I need. I’m “bending” the color mix I already have on my palette with a warmer or cooler color of another value to get the color I need. It works smoothly.  It saves me lots of time I would spend mixing color and instead I’m painting and having a blast. Which of course is the reason we paint. To have fun!  To be continued …

Painting on the Marginal Way in the shoulder season. I usually set up to paint in the afternoon to catch the late light. In September the crowds thin and the temperatures are perfect. I am the artist in residence at the Beachmere Inn. You can see the edge of their big lawn in the upper left of the photo. They have the best view of Ogunquit Beach and the Maine coast as it sweeps north. Photo: Marcus Gale.

NEW WINTER STUDIO CLASS STARTING JAN 5TH

I have 2 openings left in the New Studio Class beginning January 5th
For all of you who are looking for a creative activity for yourself this winter, here is the perfect opportunity to have some fun &  brush up on your painting skills before the summer plein air season rolls around ~  Enrollment is now open for students in my new Winter Studio Class.
The first session begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me ASAP.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us please send me an email.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2 PM – 5 PM

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

  WIN A PAINTING!
I WILL BE GIVING AWAY A PAINTING FROM MY HAIKU SERIES.
TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN A PAINTING YOU HAVE TO BE ON MY NEWSLETTER LIST. SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN !

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!

I look forward to seeing you!
Lots of love,

Mary

PS. If you would like a cheerful start to your day follow my blog where I share little snippets of art and life in Maine.
Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends!

How to Create Successful Plein Air Paintings ~ 4

12.13.15 HAIKU BEACH SNOWFALL_edited-1

This is a tiny painting of a snow storm clearing out after a fresh coating of snow on the beach. I was picking up an order of frames from my framer in Cape Porpoise when I decided to swing by Kennebunk Beach on my way home. Reminder to self – always take a side trip to beautiful spots in the neighborhood! It was a perfect scene in cool blue tones and the shapes of the empty hotel and the summer houses and rocky ledges in dark blues made it stunning. Grays are our friends! This is another in my Haiku Series: After the Snow 3×6, acrylic on board. Available.

I’m in the midst of a nocturne/dusk /sky series right now, it’s such a perfect time of the year to paint in the dark. Do I love painting in the dark? I can’t get enough of it !  I’m also in the thick of teaching my studio class and loving it!
When I’m reviewing the timeline of my painting/study/experience and teaching many of the important things that I’ve discovered, I noticed that not only is slowing down important but also speeding up is important.  It’s important that you know when and where speeding up or slowing down is beneficial for your growth and development. I also noticed that there are certain stumbling blocks that painters run into along the way. Most often it’s about wanting a shortcut and having a desire to get a painting to hang on the wall without having to do all the practice in the middle. Anyone can learn to paint. Look at what we did as children. We just picked up the crayons or paints and got down to it. No problem.

Painting on the beach off season. This is the best time to be out there if I want to paint big skyscapes. A wind breaker is a must out in the open spaces when the temperatures drop, I kept my back to the wind on this day on Ogunquit Beach. Thank you Marcus Gale for taking this picture!

Painting on the beach off season. This is the best time to be out there if I want to paint big skyscapes. A wind breaker is a must out in the open spaces when the temperatures drop, I kept my back to the wind on this day on Ogunquit Beach. Thank you Marcus Gale for taking this picture!

It was when I started to follow a few strong guidelines and develop good habits that I saw my reward with paintings that “looked right” and “felt right”. Do you know what I mean? As a result, over the years of learning what works and what doesn’t, I simplified my whole outdoor process until it was distilled down to the essentials. Then I painted lots of paintings using this “simplified method” until I came home with something that captured what I set out to do. It worked.
I was always a painter of “a feeling” not “a place” from the very beginning. I would think about this when I first went outdoors to paint. I thought of paintings of the Russians and the Luminists. I thought about paintings with a certain glow and a feeling about  them.  I would often find myself out on a bright sunny day looking around not finding a bit of the feeling I was looking for. Then as the sun dipped low in the sky and the shadows cast long patterns on the land and dusk moved in it was as if I came to life!  I instantly saw the paintings that were in my mind. As it got dark it got even better! This was when I decided to head out to paint in the afternoon and evening. Why wait all day for the late light and the darkness to come?  Bingo. I found my forte. And I connected to why.  It goes back to my childhood listening to the crickets in the field at night and watching lightening bugs by the thousands twinkle in the dark. Magic & mystery.  Peace and quiet. There was a serenity and magic to the end of the day and the night.  I got closer to what made me excited to paint. It was certain time and feeling. Along the way I found it good practice to paint a whole bunch of other things that did not resonate with me in order to learn how to paint. So I parked painting “the message” and worked on skills until I arrived at a place where the skills were so much a part of me that it was easy to paint the message. To be continued…

GIFT CERTIFICATES NOW AVAILABLE :
If you are looking for something special for someone and want to give them a gift of art, the perfect solution is a gift certificate. If you wish to buy a print, a painting or an art class as a gift I have a gift certificate for you to place under the tree or in the mail. Just email me and I’ll help you decide.

The perfect gift for your favorite “artist in residence” is a gift certificate for painting classes !
Gift Certificates are available for painting classes !

The New Studio Class ~ $220 ~ 6 week session
Purchase here.

NEW WINTER STUDIO CLASS STARTING JAN 5TH
I have 2 openings left in the New January 5th Studio Class.
For all of you who are looking for a creative activity for yourself this winter, here is the perfect opportunity to have some fun &  brush up on your painting skills before the summer plein air season rolls around ~  Enrollment is now open for students in my new Winter Studio Class.
The first session begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me ASAP.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us please send me an email.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced
COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2 PM – 5 PM

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

PLEASE NOTE THIS A NEW STUDIO CLASS
REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US PLEASE
PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SECURE YOUR SPOT.

PLEASE NOTE:  Class size is limited. The response is immediate when I announce a class opening. Please contact me if you want to be in this class as registration is now open.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!

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How to Create Successful Plein Air Paintings ~ part 3

A December walk on Ogunquit Beach. Warm sunshine and moderate temperatures. I can’t remember a mild, warm December like this since I moved to the seacoast.

After I studied with Scott L Christensen I changed my approach on how to paint plein air paintings. I think it was a combination of a number of things that made this happen. In essence it  was like my ship came in.  I was painting outdoors often, I had a few years of experience with a variety of weather, temperature and variable subject matter. I had a background in studio art and knew how to mix colors. What I learned from his workshop intensives were how and why I should develop really good habits, the difference specific materials and brushes make,  a variety of ways of handling paint and responding to locations and weather conditions.

The first thing I did was change my mind about how I was going to paint. I was no longer going to be pushed around and at the whim of the season, landscape, weather, bugs, waves, boats, people, etc.  The canvas was my area of influence and I was in charge of it.  I could do anything I wanted to do to make the painting work the way I needed it to work. I did everything consciously. No floating or day dreaming while painting.  No unconscious painting. All marks meant something and were thought out or I put the brush down and didn’t make any marks. How radical is that?  Painting became 90% mental and 10% physical.

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Three plein air paintings of the Ogunquit River from Footbridge Beach. I painted these all in the same session. The top one was painted shortly before sunset. The middle painting was painted when the sun was very low in the sky and the sky was showing the golden color of the sunset. the bottom painting was painted after sunset with the last lingering light warming up the sky with a pink color and the clouds have turned pale violet blue. These painting are in my pop up show at The Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit.

The second thing I did was develop some good habits. I tried out different processes  to see what worked for me.  I did things that focused me and helped build concentration. One of the first and most important things I did when I got out on location was to slow down, take stock of the situation and look around. Really look around and pay attention to what things looked like and how the situation would change as the light changed.Taking time to look is most important. When I take time to look, really look, I slow down. I notice things and I shift gears, I’m slowing down to really see what is around me. I think it takes time to enter the landscape. We have a life filled with electronics, gadgets, cell phones and machines. Painting is a spiritual, creative, organic process. We need to slow down and pay attention… to be continued.

MARY MT A 2

Painting in late afternoon light on Mount Agamenticus, one of my favorite “big views” in the coastal plane. This is the highest point on the coast. I can see Cape Ann in MA to the south and Mount Washington in the White Mountains of NH to the north west. Perfect for painting big skyscapes!

IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR PAINTINGS, SEE RAPID GROWTH IN YOUR SKILLS, FEEL HIGHLY REWARDED AND ENJOY THE PROCESS MY NEW STUDIO CLASS IS FOR YOU !

Enrollment is now open for students for the Winter Studio Class.  Starting: Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.  If you spoke to me or emailed me regarding a spot in my filled morning studio class please contact me ASAP if you would like to be in this afternoon class (2-5pm). If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us please send me an email.

 WINTER STUDIO CLASS

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced
COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2 PM – 5 PM

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

PLEASE NOTE THIS A NEW STUDIO CLASS
REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US PLEASE
PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SECURE YOUR SPOT.

PLEASE NOTE:  Class size is limited. The response was immediate when I announced a class opening. This notice is going out to my email list and blog. I will start advertising to the public a few days after this announcement.  Please contact me if you want to be in this class as registration is now open. Please note: if you are already on my wait list you will have first option to register for this class.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!

Painting Subtle Grays

Evening Mist, 16x20 oil on panel, The Acadia Centennial Show, The Capital Building, Augusta, ME.

Evening Mist, 16×20 oil on panel. I love the grays that are created by the thick clouds of mist and spray from the waves crashing on the rocky shoreline of Maine. This painting is in the The Acadia Centennial Show, The Capitol Building, Augusta, ME.

I really love painting the subtle grays of late fall. There is a certain mood when most of the green leaves are gone and lovely blues, mauve and browns move into their place. The color of the bark of the branches and trunks of the trees takes on importance when all the foliage is gone.  I begin to notice so much when all the leaves are gone. What appeared to be a heavily wooded area in summer now reveals itself to be a large open field behind a thick row of trees that hid it when they were in full leaf.  I can see the curve and slope of the land easily through the bare branches.

Subtle sensitive grays are mixed intuitively.

Subtle, sensitive grays are mixed rapidly and intuitively by students in my studio class.

The best time to see rich grays in the landscape is during fall and winter.  I’m taking full advantage of the natural colors of the landscape and the specific type of light that comes with fall and winter to teach understanding and painting intuitive color. The students are mixing some beautiful colors and painting some rich combinations in this process.

Mixing grays from a variety of primaries.

This is the start of mixing intuitive, sensitive grays from selected primaries.

Enrollment is now open for students for the Winter Studio Class. It begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.  If you spoke to me or emailed me regarding a spot in my filled morning studio class please contact me ASAP if you would like to be in this afternoon class (2-5pm). If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us please send me an email.

 WINTER STUDIO CLASS

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced
COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2 PM – 5 PM

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

PLEASE NOTE THIS A NEW STUDIO CLASS
REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US PLEASE
PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SECURE YOUR SPOT.

PLEASE NOTE:  Class size is limited. The response was immediate when I announced a class opening. This notice is going out to my email list and blog. I will start advertising to the public a few days after this announcement.  Please contact me if you want to be in this class as registration is now open. Please note: if you are already on my wait list you will have first option to register for this class.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!