Painting Spring with Clouds & Rain

My start with the block in of the basic shapes. Haiku series. Oil 6×8″. Photo: Mary Byrom.

One of the things I like so much about spring are the clouds and the always changing skies. We have had gorgeous sunsets and dramatic midday skies as spring storms pass through. Even with warmer than usual weather I never know if it will be rain or snow falling from the big dark clouds sailing overhead.

Here I am marking in some of the pines and grasses. Haiku series. Oil 6×8″. Photo: Mary Byrom.

I’m painting a series of large paintings in my studio that have been evolving for the past month. Big paintings are a totally different process than my Haiku Series. I’m calling this new series my Legend Series.  They take a chunk of time to do and require a different head set. I’m thinking of them as legends as they take a long time like legends are around for a long time.  So while I’m in the middle of this big series I started to sneak off for a few hours here and there when I see something out the window that I just have to paint!

A view of the painting and the landscape I am focusing on. Haiku series. Oil 6×8″. Photo: Mary Byrom.

Last week there was a day of outstanding, spectacular clouds. The sky was amazing. I was walking into the studio to start working on one of my large paintings when Marcus called me from a road trip and said, “You have to get out to see these clouds!” It was simple. I looked up. Wow, it was intense. The sky was changing every few minutes. I grabbed my paints and my sketchbook and jumped into the car. After I did a few sketches of the clouds from the village green I drove to a nearby rural road where I could park and set up to paint next to my car. It was awesome! I painted for about an hour till the clouds started dropping rain on me. One small painting was finished. The sun disappeared. The sky was covered with dark gray clouds. It was getting cold. I packed up and headed home for some lunch and hot tea. Early spring plein air painting is fantastic.

 

It’s a wrap. Here I’m getting ready to pack up after I’ve painted bits of the clouds that were racing overhead and dropping rain on my head. “Early Spring Day” Haiku series. Oil 6×8″. Photo: Mary Byrom.

DEMOS  &  A PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP AT YOUR LOCATION:  I am visiting art groups and associations giving demos and plein air workshops. If you or your group would like a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and available dates for summer and fall.THE PLEIN AIR EXPERIENCE ~ If you like to spend time in nature and are interested in painting outdoors but are not sure you will like it a good way to check it out is to attend a plein air demo. Some people like to paint or draw but feel shy about doing it in a public place. Others don’t have the equipment and want to see what it is like before investing in a lot of stuff they might not end up using. The best way to find out is to watch someone and see how it is done. Come to one of my plein air demos and see for yourself.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : GOVERNMENT STREET,  DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I design a plein air painting. If you think you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share experiences.
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSESTHE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 6 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.SIGN UP HERE FOR 6 WEEK SESSION.SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18 2016  10-5
JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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!

Spring Road Trip

I went  on a road trip last week to the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.  It was a quick trip that took me into a slightly warmer zone where spring was having a head start compared to my Maine neighborhood. It was lovely to see the red tree buds on the hill sides and Magnolias in bloom in the valley gardens. I love the hills and fields of western Mass. where I grew up in a college town. I brought my water-based paints and sketchbook with me on this trip as I knew my primary objective was to visit family and I would only have little bits of time to paint. In the past I’ve found that road trips can be a mix of irregular weather (yes, this definitely happened), a packed schedule (ditto), and not enough or just enough time to get everywhere and do everything planned. So when I knew I was making this quick trip I packed my sketchbooks, markers and water-based paints.

“Roof Tops” Haiku series. Ink & watercolor. 4×7″.
Photo: Mary Byrom.

We started our trip in the morning.  The sky was blue on the coast and grew increasing cloudy as we headed west. While in the passenger seat, I began sketching and painting as we entered the central part of Massachusetts. There I noticed the gray trees had changed to vibrant reds, greens, and oranges. As we drove through the city of Lawrence I first saw the masses of budding trees changing the color of the landscape. It was amazing! All the tree covered hills seemed to be subtly glowing. I drew what I saw and quickly applied water colors. I had to paint fast. I really like doing this. Its a great memory exercise and its very quick. No time to linger or second guess anything. No correcting or fixing. Its painted and then its on to the next sketch.


Spring in the Mountains”, Haiku series, 5×7 ink & watercolor.
Photo: Mary Byrom.

As  Route 2 climbed into the hills near Orange, the long views of the Berkshires came into view. The colors here are so different from what I see on the coast. The skies were filled with clouds and the distant mountains turned a muted violet blue. The nearby rolling hills turned a deep wine color.  The stands of hardwoods glowed in warm tree bud colors punctuated with spikes of tall green northern pines. I used my tiniest Windsor Newton watercolor set, a water brush and my multimedia Canson sketchbook to draw and sketch. All these sketches were drawn and painted with my sketchbook on my lap while riding in the car.


“Spring Buds”, Haiku series, 5×7, ink & watercolor. Photo: Mary Byrom.

THE PLEIN AIR EXPERIENCE ~ If you like to spend time in nature and are interested in painting outdoors but are not sure you will like it a good way to check it out is to attend a plein air demo. Some people like to paint or draw but feel shy about doing it in a public place. Others don’t have the equipment and want to see what it is like before investing in a lot of stuff they might not end up using. The best way to find out is to watch someone and see how it is done. Come to one of my plein air demos this summer and see for yourself.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE  A DEMO OR  A PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP AT YOUR LOCATION:  I am visiting art groups and associations giving demos and mini-sampler classes. I’m traveling and giving plein air workshops as well. If you or your group would like a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and dates. I have available dates for summer and fall.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : GOVERNMENT STREET,  DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a plein air painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share insights.
PLEIN AIR CLASSES
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSESTHE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 6 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.

SIGN UP HERE FOR 6 WEEK SESSION.

SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18 2016  10-5
JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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

Painting a Sky Series

I’m getting excited about a new series of paintings. It’s what I’m thinking about most of the time and it’s one of my  of my absolute all time favorite activities – looking at the sky. It began when I was a child and would spend time lying in the grass on a sunny day watching the clouds float by. Then it progressed to my elementary school years when my sky watching time expanded to include to evening and night time.  I watched the sun set, the stars come out and clouds in the night sky float by. Those stars sure moved a lot slower than the clouds did !  As a result of all this sky watching a number of years ago I painted a series of night sky paintings. I started them in the spring when the nights were warmer.  It was very lively and cheerful out at night sky watching, I had the bull frogs and peepers singing to me. It was a very sweet time and it reminded me of the nights and sounds of the area where I grew up. That series of paintings is gone and I really want them back in my life so I am painting a new series of sky paintings.


“Sunset Sky” Haiku series. Oil. 5×7″. Photo: Mary Byrom.

I started last year with a series of small paintings of clouds and skies in my Haiku series. I work in this small format to get the idea out, look at it and move on to another version of the idea in a short period of time. It saves me time and I can express many more ideas in paint very quickly.  I save all these haiku paintings so I can look at them and see what images emerge as most notable. I will paint the ones that stick in my mind as larger paintings. I want to paint so many of them that I can surround myself with these images and fill the walls of my house with them.

“Afternoon Clouds”, Haiku series, 6×8 oil. Photo: Mary Byrom.

The process I am going through right now is to paint piles of these small paintings.  I paint them as often as possible. Plus the series is changing and growing in my mind as I paint these small paintings. And is is making me think about other motifs that have been sitting in my mind waiting their turn. It’s like after all these years of painting I am slowing down and reflecting on what is most important. I am thinking more about what I want to have around me and the priceless quality of it.


“A Moment Before They are Gone”, Haiku series, 6×8, oil. Photo: Mary Byrom.

If you like to spend time in nature and are interested in painting outdoors but are not sure you will like it a good way to check it out is to attend a plein air demo. Some people like to paint or draw but feel shy about doing it in a public place. Others don’t have the equipment and want to see what it is like before investing in a lot of stuff they might not end up using. The best way to check it out is to watch someone and see how it is done. Come to one of my plein air demos this summer and see for yourself. This might become a new hobby for you. Of course I think its much more fun than golf or fishing, but then I’m biased !

IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO DO A DEMO OR TEACH A PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP AT YOUR LOCATION:  Note: I’m visiting art groups and associations giving demos and mini-sampler classes. I’m traveling and giving plein air workshops as well. If you or your group would like me to give a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and dates. I have available dates for summer and fall.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : LIL’S, DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a plein air painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share insights.
PLEIN AIR CLASSES
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSESTHE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 6 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.SIGN UP HERE FOR 6 WEEK SESSION.SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18 2016  10-5
JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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!

Spring in Maine

I headed out to paint on the coast this week. We are having an early spring. I wanted to paint in an old coastal neighborhood where you still can find some of the original farm houses that were built before the the region became “vacation land”.  In most of these locations if the neighborhood hasn’t been modernized, the farmhouses that are close to the water are usually near some of the older summer cottages that were built after they were already there. The architecture in these neighborhood enclaves is rich and varied. Off season during the fall, winter and spring the streets and houses are quiet. Most of the owners use their houses in warmer weather.  Off season we can usually find space to park and there are always plenty of interesting subjects to paint.


The line of vintage cottages mixed in with a few modernized buildings along the road facing the water at Short Sands. Photo: Mary Byrom.

This week it was perfect. We had our first taste of spring temperatures and it is early enough so that the tourists aren’t back yet. As is typical in spring in coastal Maine it was down right chilly on the water. As we set up our easels it was cloudy and gray, the colors of a perfect Andrew Wyeth painting.  By the time we had settled into painting the clouds blew out to sea and sun came out. But with the chilly wind off the water you could only really stay warm if you were standing and painting in full sun.


Here I am set up painting on the edge of an old sea side neighborhood along of one of its narrow streets. Photo: Barbara Carr.

I’m painting large paintings in the studio right now so when I set out this day I wanted to painting something quick, small and compact. The houses were beautiful and I thought about painting them but I didn’t have any large panels with me. I am usually focusing on my Haiku series these days when I’m not painting a big one. So my car studio was stuffed with little tiny panels and no larger ones. After sketching for a bit I decided on a street scene of a narrow, old lane that stretched up a hill toward the ocean with cottages and wild brambles along the edge.


A small street scene of cottages and bits of wild under brush. Photo: Mary Byrom.

If you like to spend time in nature and are interested in painting outdoors but are not sure you will like it a good way to check it out is to attend a plein air demo. Some people like to paint or draw but feel shy about doing it in a public place. Others don’t have the equipment and want to see what it is like before investing in a lot of stuff they might not end up using. The best way to check it out is to watch someone and see how it is done. Come to one of my plein air demos this summer and see for yourself. This might become a new hobby for you. Of course I think its much more fun than golf or fishing, but then I’m baised !

IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO DO A DEMO OR TEACH A PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP AT YOUR LOCATION:  Note: I’m visiting art groups and associations giving demos and mini-sampler classes. I’m traveling and giving plein air workshops as well. If you or your group would like me to give a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and dates. I have available dates for summer and fall.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : LIL’S, DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a plein air painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share insights.
PLEIN AIR CLASSES
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSESTHE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 5 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.SIGN UP HERE FOR 5 WEEK SESSION.SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18 2016  10-5
JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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!

An Early Spring

Spring is coming early this year. I am so happy! I can’t believe I’m saying this as winter has always been my favorite time to paint. (It’s quiet, there’s plenty of parking and the nor’easters are great.)  But this year I’m happy the maple trees are dripping sap all over my car a couple of months earlier than last year. A winter of very little shoveling and snow moving has made my life simpler. And the early spring is making me get a little more organized for the summer and fall season. These are good things.


During the last legs of a recent nor’easter I filled a few pages of my sketchbooks with small sketches of wild waves.  I returned to my studio and painted a series of small wild seascapes. This is one of them from my new haiku wave series. Photo: Mary Byrom.

I’m teaching plein air again this summer. I really love teaching. I used to teach often then I traded that to head off to paint in plein air events for a few years. The lure of the national plein air painting events and paint-outs in lovely places captured my attention. In the past few years I’ve narrowed down my selection of the plein air events I participate in. As of last summer I’m staying home to paint nearby as I have my artist residency at the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, Maine, and several regional juried and invitational events that I enjoy.


Another wild wave painting from my haiku series.  Photo: Mary Byrom.

Plus I’m in the studio now in the thick of painting big paintings and a new series I’ve been wanting to work on for a while. Looks like changes for me and growth in a new direction. I’m excited! Don’t worry, you will be the first to see the new work when its ready to be viewed.


Another wild wave. Haiku wave series. Photo: Mary Byrom.

If you would like me to teach a plein workshop – Note: I’m visiting art groups and associations giving demos and mini-sampler classes. I’m traveling and giving plein air workshops as well. If you or your group would like me to give a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and dates. I still have openings for this summer and fall.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : LIL’S, DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a plein air painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share insights.
PLEIN AIR CLASSES
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSESTHE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 5 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.SIGN UP HERE FOR 5 WEEK SESSION.SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 


I love painting in Ogunquit. The Marginal Way is a great place to paint at any time of the year. But there is something about late afternoon and evening in summer and fall that is special. The light is incredible. The fresh sea breeze is awesome and the golden glow in late afternoon creates all kinds of beautiful effects on the water. I am lucky I live here. And I am so happy I am the artist in residence at the Beachmere Inn which has the absolute best view of Ogunquit Beach and the coast of Maine. Photo: Marcus Gale

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18 2016  10-5
JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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!

How to Paint Water, Waves & Big Surf

During the last legs of a recent nor’easter I filled a few pages of my sketchbooks with small sketches of wild waves. I drew them with ink in ten to fifteen seconds. I would finish one sketch. Then make another sketch as the next wave came in. It was wild. Ink & water color on paper, plein air sketch.Photo: Mary Byrom.

I love painting waves and big surf. I love painting moving water. Living in the coastal plain of southern Maine, I realize I live in a world influenced by water. There is such a variety of woodlands, hills, villages, towns, farms here in New England that I didn’t realize how much water we have. When I went to paint out west in Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming it was a shock.  I realized how much water was missing from the landscape and how all that moisture makes a difference and creates a wonderful atmosphere. Plus there is a feeling of history in the New England landscape. It’s an old landscape. The mountains and coast line are old. The glaciers left their mark. An old landscape has a certain feeling.

 When I started to paint all the landscapes in my neighborhood I noticed I would often have a river, lake or harbor in the paintings. The summers are not overwhelmingly green (like some painters complain “too much green”). The summers here were very vibrant and blue!  I was spending time in the cool comfortable places and they were often were near or along a body of water.

Another wave. Another 10-15 second sketch. It was wild. Ink & water color on paper, plein air sketch. Photo: Mary Byrom.

When I started painting waves I noticed they were a memory exercise. I realized that because I lived so close to them for so long that I would look at them often. For  several years my husband and I would go for a walk along the beach after work every day. When I started painting waves, I already had the waves in my mind. I know how they are formed and what they look like. When I set up to paint I spend a lot of time just looking at them. When I sketched them and noticed that the rock formations affected the way the waves broke and created the shape of the wave . I watched and sketched lots of waves and foam patterns. I saw wave shapes that looked like the ones Winslow Homer painted in some of his paintings.  It was amazing too see these during a nor’easter !

Another wave. Another 10-15 second sketch. Ink & water color on paper, plein air sketch. An artist friend made a complementary remark the other day about my scribbles. The action of watching the wave and simultaneously drawing it at the same time makes my hand move like that. The wave keeps changing shape. My hand keeps changing the shape with the ink pen. Photo: Mary Byrom.

I love the challenge of capturing the feeling and motion of waves in action.  I love being out on the coast in all kinds of weather experiencing the power of nature.

EVENTS

PLEIN AIR DEMO –
MAY 28TH    4-6 pm
2016 SEASON OPENING FOR BETH ELLIS GALLERY
Location: BETH ELLIS GALLERY
294 SHORE ROAD
OGUNQUIT, ME
860-338-3996

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : LIL’S, DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a plein air painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share insights.
PLEIN AIR CLASSES
SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSES
THE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” begin on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method in a 5 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast it works.SIGN UP HERE FOR 5 WEEK SESSION.SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 

 

MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOPS

JUNE 18, 2016  10-5
JULY 9,  10-5
AUGUST 6,  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10,  10-5
OCTOBER 8,  10-5

I love painting in Ogunquit. The Marginal Way is a great place to paint at any time of the year. But there is something about late afternoon and evening in summer and fall that is special. The light is incredible. The fresh sea breeze is awesome and the golden glow in late afternoon creates all kinds of beautiful effects on the water. I am lucky I live here. And I am so happy I am the artist in residence at the Beachmere Inn which has the absolute best view of Ogunquit Beach and the coast of Maine. Photo: Marcus Gale

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings. Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

THE NEXT STUDIO CLASS SESSION BEGINS
MARCH 22ND

I have room for a couple of new students in 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, March 22nd (to April 26th)

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.

If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.

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 (vacation/sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

Color, Painting & Design

I love color. I love painting in oils, water colors, acrylics, and gouache.  I spent years working with color when I designed fabrics and patterns. I’ve loved color since I drew and  painted when I was a child. My first oil set was a Christmas present from Santa. It was a paint by number kit. I didn’t like it at all. It was very smelly and I didn’t like painting little patches of color. It was like a mosaic. It was more like assembling a puzzle than any painting I had done. I wanted to paint in big sweeping strokes and mix my own colors. It was too restricting for me! I spent the rest of my childhood happily painting with watercolors, poster colors and acrylics. I didn’t pick up oils again until I was in college.
And now that I paint on location so often who would have thought oils would become the medium I work with the most?

Lobster Boat & Shacks, 6×8″ value marker & water color on paper, a plein air sketch that is being used as the design for a larger reproduction.

Depending on where I am and what my objective is, I work with several other mediums as well. I sketch in ink, pencil, gray value marker and colored pencils. I paint with water colors, gouache, acrylics and oils. This all depends on the weather and how much time I have.  Sometimes I plan to work in oils and then decide when I reach a destination to paint with both oils and watercolors. It depends on the light and colors and how I feel about a certain scene. Sometimes I will see a scene that I am looking at as a completed painting in both watercolors and oils  – which of course are very different.

Big Surf, 12×22″ gray marker on paper, value design sketch for larger painting

For the past few weeks as I’ve been working on a new commission. I’ve been out on location sketching and painting big surf as it crashes against the coastline here in southern Maine. I’ve been out in rough weather as storms are approaching and in nice  weather as a storms pull out to sea. Several times I’ve had to switch to mediums to adapt to weather conditions and the small window of time I was limited to. In the past when I’m working on a commission I will work in water colors, value markers, gouache and oils. With this new commission I am working on scenes of big surf. I am making sketches in gray value markers, charcoal, ink & pencil and oils. The completed painting will be in oil.  I couldn’t be happier!  I am painting one of my favorite scenes and in one of my favorite locations. I can’t get enough of it ! I guess I am just beginning to realize that I am so lucky to live in a perfect place where I can paint the most amazing variety of landscapes.

Here I have completed the original design sketch and enlarged it to the final size. After a series of ink and pencil sketches and oil sketches I completed on location I captured the view that I wanted in a gray value design sketch then enlarged it to the actual size of the finished painting I am working on. Photo: Mary Byrom.

I don’t know if you noticed but we are having some gorgeous spring like weather for February!  I am getting excited about a number of great plein air events that are coming soon. Here is one that you all are invited to!

EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

PLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH
Location : DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
Presented by:  THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION
$10 MEMBERS
$15 NON-MEMBERS
This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I guide you through a painting. If you are thinking you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I’m happy to answer questions and share insights !

SUMMER PLEIN AIR

THE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.

CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.

I start teaching my summer classes “en plein air” on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method outdoors this summer in a 5 week block of classes. This method really helps beginners get a solid handle on plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve dramatically. It’s a tried and true method that I designed for myself and its great to see how fast it works for others.

I love painting in Ogunquit. The Marginal Way is a great place to paint at any time of the year. But there is something about late afternoon and evening in summer and fall that is special. The light is incredible. The fresh sea breeze is awesome and the golden glow in late afternoon creates all kinds of beautiful effects on the water. I am lucky I live here. And I am so happy I am the artist in residence at the Beachmere Inn which has the absolute best view of Ogunquit Beach and the coast of Maine. Photo: Marcus Gale

I have room for a couple of new students in 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, March 22nd (to April 26th)
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 (vacation/sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

Why I like Painting Big Surf

Long before I painted outdoors I loved big surf. There is something about being on the edge of the continent with the wind in your face, the ocean tearing at the rocks and the air filled with salt spray.  It always make me feel washed clean of all the dingy baggage of civilization. It’s really total immersion in nature. And it’s nature speaking loudly and clearly. So the number one thing I love is being out in nature and and painting as it does its totally natural thing. When nature is speaking loudly and clearly there is no mistaking the message. I never under estimate the power of water. I’ve spent many days on the rocks watching what big surf can do.


After the Storm, 18×24″ charcoal on paper, plein air sketch.

For the past few weeks I’ve been sketching and painting big surf as it crashes against the coastline here in southern Maine.  I am seeing such big surf that a few times I got nervous. I was set up painting one afternoon as the tide was rising and noticed that the last few waves had crashed beyond the usual high tide mark.  And it was still an hour away from peak tide!  I was high on a hill, with a huge rock shelf stretching out in front of me, yet the waves and foam were steadily heading to the spot I was standing in.  I was very busy, painting very fast.  It was hard to keep and eye on the creeping water level while focusing on the painting.  I was way above the rocks and water line but the surf was so big I actually thought, what if there is a rogue wave?  Some of the waves in front of me were crashing at the height of a two story building. It was quite spectacular !


Big Surf, 18×24″ charcoal on paper, plein air sketch.

Then of course the nor’easter moved out to sea and a few days later the waves returned to their normal size and I was ho- hum who wants to paint those?  It is very challenging to paint big surf. The waves don’t hit the same way every time and they change shape even if they are coming in from the same direction. And of course the tide rising or falling changes what they are hitting. The variables are endless. So painting waves ends up being a memory exercise. I stand there and sketch wave after wave. I end up with pages of tiny waves sketches, each one different. And each one of them is a perfect reminder of that individual specific wave I just watched. The more waves I sketch the better I get at painting big surf.  And the side benefit ? Besides some great surf paintings, I get to spend the day outdoors breathing all that fresh, clean air and I sleep like a rock at the end of the day.


I set up my large easel to sketch the surf on the rocks. It was great capturing the movement of big surf with charcoal, a quick easy drawing medium and in a large size. I usually sketch in my sketchbook so my sketches are small. I actually love sketching fast and loose in this large size! The ledges in Cape Neddick are perfect for big surf. There is nothing like painting outdoors. Photo: Marcus Gale.

THE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.

I start teaching “en plein air” again last summer on May 3rd.  I will be teaching a new easy plein air method outdoors this summer in a 5 week block of classes. This method really helps beginners get a solid handle on plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve dramatically. It’s a tried and true method that I use for myself and its great to see how fast it works for others.


I love painting in Ogunquit. The Marginal Way is a great place to paint at any time of the year. But there is something about late afternoon and evening in summer and fall that is special. The light is incredible. The fresh sea breeze is awesome and the golden glow in late afternoon creates all kinds of beautiful effects on the water. I am lucky I live here. And I am so happy I am the artist in residence at the Beachmere Inn which has the absolute best view of Ogunquit Beach and the coast of Maine. Photo: Marcus Gale

THE NEXT STUDIO CLASS SESSION BEGINS
MARCH 1ST
I have room for a couple of new students in 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, March 1st (to April 5th)
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 (vacation/sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

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!

I’m Thinking About Summer in Maine

February hit with a bang and delivered a real snowstorm. What a surprise!  Guess I can’t relax and think spring is coming next week. I was feeling that way and really thought I might have flowers blooming in the garden by March 1st ! If this keeps up I don’t think so. But it will be short lived. I notice the sunshine is very warm and toasty when I’m out painting. And the sap is running early this year.  Its tax time and I’m already in the thick of planning for summer.  I try to postpone it a bit so I can really enjoy the quiet time of winter. As soon as the summer season ends (in November now, it keeps getting later every year) and things get quiet, I usually try to catch up on what I let slide during the hubbub of summer.

I had a long narrow panel in my car that was perfect for a slice of rocks with surf hitting hard. The ledges in Cape Neddick are perfect for big surf. There is nothing like painting outdoors. Photo: Marcus Gale.

In the past I always scheduled certain annual events on my calendar but now I see changes in the wind. I used to travel and participate in a certain amount of regional  & national plein air events and festivals. I loved seeing fellow painters, meeting new collectors, visiting and painting in new locations and catching up on news in the art world.  A few years ago I started to get so busy here on the coast in the summer that I began trimming the number of events that I attended. Now it looks like I am trimming once again. I need to really be here in the middle of my high season, not traveling somewhere else. My husband was the first to mention that I really needed to stay home as there was an awful lot to attend to in my own back yard. I resisted for a bit until it was obvious that I should stay in Maine.

A new thing that I added to my calendar last year was plein air classes. I started teaching “en plein air” again last summer and realized there was a need for classes locally and regionally. I also happen to love teaching!  I started with a fluid approach to the class structure and watched to see the results.  In the fall I began teaching a studio class with a new method and structure I designed to help improve painting skills fast.  It worked. As a result of the new method I will be teaching it outdoors this summer in a  5 week block of classes. I see that it really helps beginners get a solid handle on plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve dramatically. It’s a tried and true method that I used for myself and its great to see how fast it works for others.

Here is a small field sketch box of gouache colors that I just purchased to try out for plein air this summer. I want to see if this economical collection would work for my students. I’m teaching a series of plein air classes once a week, all summer long in Maine. Some students like to sit in a folding chair and sketch and paint in a sketchbook. Water colors and gouache are perfect for the weekend painter who wants to get out into nature, enjoy the fresh air and paint. Photo: Mary Byrom

I also teach in a variety of mediums, so I get to paint again in all these mediums that I love!  I focus mostly on oils but when I have time you will find me painting in acrylics, watercolors and gouache. I like that John Singer Sargent  and Andrew Wyeth painted in several mediums. I handle each one differently and I notice they influence how I paint.  I’m very loose with watercolors as they are so fluid. The way each medium behaves makes me handle it differently.

THE FIRST PLEIN AIR CLASS STARTS MAY 3RD.
SIGN UP HERE FOR 5 WEEK SESSION.
SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.

I love painting in Ogunquit. The Marginal Way is a great place to paint at any time of the year. But there is something about late afternoon and evening in summer and fall that is special. The light is incredible. The fresh sea breeze is awesome and the golden glow in late afternoon creates all kinds of beautiful effects on the water. I am lucky I live here. And I am so happy I am the artist in residence at the Beachmere Inn which has the absolute best view of Ogunquit Beach and the coast of Maine. Photo: Marcus Gale

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, March 1st (to April 5th)
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.

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!