MASTERY & PAINTING IN THE DARK

Island sketch 6×8″ oil on board. I set up to paint in the dark as the sun set. I laid out my colors, took out my headlamp and painted a house in the trees on a small island as I waited for darkness to fall and the moon to rise. My plan for the evening was to paint a lot of quick sketches as the light and the scene changed. The tide had turned, high tide was coming in.

This past week I discovered that what I did everyday had a name…the process I go through day after day and week after week is called mastery.  Wow, was that a surprise. I knew what I set out to do wasn’t easy but I didn’t know that I had so many kindred spirits out there on the same path doing the same process. Its great to encounter this.  The four things I do in my painting process are 1. Practice  2. Persistence  3.Patience  4. Perseverance.  5. Repeat #  s 1- 4 over and over.

Full moon sketch #1 5×9″ oil on board. The moon rose so fast I missed it coming over the horizon. It was still so light from the setting sun that it didn’t even grab my attention. It seemed to move as I painted it. Thin wispy clouds passed in front of it in a variety of patterns. I could still see lots of landscape colors.

On You tube I bumped into a series of book reviews about a book by George Leonard titled “Mastery” presented by an artist/educator named Jeffery Watts.  You all know how the internet wander goes…I googled videos on painting with gouache and Jeff’s gouache video came up at the top of the list.  I’d been thinking about bringing my gouache out to paint en plein air so I wanted to see how some one else did it. He had a great video on hassle free traveling with gouache instead of oils (and all the solvent issues).

Full moon sketch #2 6×8 oil on board. The boats were moving all over the place, they were appearing to make big clusters and shapes that were linking together in value as it got darker. The moon was moving, the tide was moving and it was getting dark. It was now harder to see different colors in the landscape.

I also noticed that he had a number of other videos on You Tube.  Watts runs an art school in California and generously provides informational videos of all kinds for students who are looking for an art school/atelier education and are interested in learning real skills, like how of how to paint and draw. This school is filling in a niche for teaching solid skills that most of the mainstream colleges have dropped or trimmed since the 60’s.

Full moon sketch #3 5×9 oil on board. The boats were still moving , the moon was beginning to move in an arc and climb over head. It was so dark the shades of green in the landscape were turning blue. The path of moon light was moving across the harbor. I finished one more sketch and called it a night.

When I was in college there were a few drawing classes that were good but as soon as I started painting courses it was “express yourself”.  My professors were very nice but didn’t offer much guidance.  I was on my own figuring out how to paint. After college I took classes with individual artists in order to learn figurative, portrait and landscape painting.  Now there are a number of schools/ateliers that offer a substantial art education, are vetted and can be found on the Art Renewal Center list. I was really on my own for a long time trying to put together what I was missing. I was painting in the dark often “inventing the wheel” on my own.  It sure would have been easier to have someone share what they knew. Things have certainly changed in the the past few years. And we are all benefiting from it.

AUTUMN PLEIN AIR  &

NEW ! STUDIO CLASS STARTING

AUTUMN PLEIN AIR CLASS
Now is the perfect time to get out and paint !
Students are welcome to join the Tuesday plein air class.
You can come to a single class or the full 6 week session.
All levels are welcome. Email me or see Info in the link below.

NEW SEPTEMBER PLEIN AIR CLASS  ~ TUESDAY AFTERNOONS ON THE SEACOAST
This class started Tuesday, September 6th, 2-5pm, and runs for 6 weeks.  If you want to attend this plein air class  Please email if you want to join us.   Space is limited. Six week session~ $220
Locations : EACH WEEK A NEW LOCATION –  Beautiful locations in southern Maine and New Hampshire Seacoast region. Register for 6 week session here.

 

NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTING OCTOBER 18TH !
Class meets on Tuesdays 10am  – 1pm. Focus this session will be design and painting large landscapes in the studio.  Register for 6 week session here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Jay Goldsmith Exhibition at Discover Portsmouth Museum
OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY ART ‘ROUND TOWN
NOVEMBER 4, 2016 : 5-8 PM

I am included in this show of portraits of artists by Jay Goldsmith.
My portrait by Jay Goldsmith and several of my paintings will be on display.
I hope you can come!

Warmly,

Mary

SPECIAL EVENT : FULL MOON NOCTURNE WORKSHOP


I painted this brightly lit house on a quiet summer night in Castine, Maine. It was so much fun! I didn’t have to worry about  the light changing, I just had to paint it before I got too tired to pay attention to what I was seeing.  I started painting at dusk and didn’t stop till after 11…. or was it midnight ? The clear evening sky was still bright at 10 pm.

SPECIAL EVENT: FULL MOON NOCTURNE CLASS 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 18TH
4:00 – 9:30 PM    Fee $75
LOCATION: Coastal Maine, Southern York County
REGISTRATION OPEN: Register here.

Evening and nocturne painting is wonderful…

Summer is in full swing. My flower gardens are in full bloom. The long lazy days of summer are here. But I don’t feel lazy and I do feel like summer is moving by at a steady clip. I am looking forward to the full moon evenings of summer.  I’m hoping the next  full moons are on relatively clear evenings. So far every summer I’ve been lucky. It’s been gorgeous!  I am offering a special event… on the evening of the August full moon on Thursday, Aug 18th I will be teaching an evening/night time plein air class on the coast of Maine to a small group of painters. Registration is open now. Details are below.


I loved painting this lake scene. It was a peaceful, quiet evening with clear skies and a beautiful full moon. I painted four paintings back to back, until the moon was high in the sky and I was thinking about dinner. Dinner was very late that night.  I didn’t get home till after 10pm.  It was worth it. I couldn’t believe how happy I was with all the paintings I did that night. Sometimes it all just flows smoothly.

 

I hope you can take advantage of this rare full moon class!

 

Summer Plein Air Days & Nights

Evening Skies, 16×20 oil on panel. $3200 This is a new one in my new series of evening paintings that I am working on this summer.    Available.

Getting ready for evening and nocturne painting…

Summer is in full swing. My flower gardens are in full bloom. The long lazy days of summer are here. But I don’t feel lazy and I do feel like summer is moving by at a steady clip. The days are shortening a bit. But only by a few minutes. I am looking forward to the full moon evenings of summer.  I am aware that I have just 3 full moons left in warm weather. And I’m hoping the next  full moons are on relatively clear evenings. So far every summer I’ve been lucky. Its been gorgeous!  During the evening of the August full moon on Thursday, Aug 18th I will be teaching an evening/night time plein air class on the coast of Maine to a small group of painters. Registration is open now. Details are below.

JULY & AUGUST EVENTS

FULL MOON NOCTURNE CLASS 
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18TH
4:00 – 9:30 PM    Fee $75
LOCATION: Coastal Maine, Southern York County
REGISTRATION OPEN: Register here.

DSC_0973 copy
Painting fast on York Beach, where the rising full moon and the lights of the summer cottages create amazing scenes for painting.

CASTINE PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL  JULY 21-23rd
I will be painting in gorgeous Castine in July!
If you live nearby or feel like taking a road trip… the reception and wet paint sale will be on Saturday, July 23rd 4-6 pm. at the Alfond Student Center, Maine Maritime Academy, Pleasant Street, Castine, Maine.  You are all invited !

JULY PLEIN AIR TUESDAYS  an AFTERNOON CLASS
If you want to try out  plein air or drop into a plein air class for an afternoon shoot me an email. I have room for 2 painters.  Six week session~ $227
Locations : EACH WEEK A NEW LOCATION –  Seacoast region. Register for one class here. Register for 6 week session here.

ONE DAY PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP on  AUGUST 11TH
LAKES REGION, NEW HAMPSHIRE

This day long workshop will help the student focus in depth completing one or more paintings on location. This workshop is at a beautiful, private, lake front location. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the subject/location.  Guidance will be given based on each students individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.Fee for a one day plein air workshop is $125. Registration will open up on July 11th. If you are interested in joining this workshop please contact me.

I loved painting this lake scene. It was a peaceful,quiet evening with clear skies and a beautiful full moon. I painted four paintings back to back, until the moon was high in the sky and I was thinking about dinner. Dinner was very late that night. I didn’t get home till after 10pm. It was worth it. I couldn’t believe how happy I was with all the paintings I did that night. Sometimes it all just flows smoothly.
 Mary

Why do I like Painting at Night?

1 ACADIA
Blue Hill Overlook, Cadillac Mountain, 6×6, oil

This week I started thinking about why I like painting at night. As it gets dark earlier every day I find myself looking at scenes as the lights come on in the streets and buildings.  Often these scenes are something I find boring in daylight. When it gets dark the scene changes dramatically.  As the western light dims in the sky and the forms in the landscape get muted and mysterious, I become curious and interested. I find myself looking into dim, barely lit areas trying to figure out what I am really looking at.  When I’m out in the country away from towns or villages and night is coming on I think about the landscape and what it looked like before there were electric lights. As a child, my family spent Memorial Day at an old home out in the country that did not have electricity or running water. As children we loved the adventure of being there, fetching our water from the well, using oil lamps and flash lights at night and worrying about bears when going to use the out house in the dark.   Years later I lived in a big old house that still had the original fixtures for gas lights. It made me think of the people who lived there before me, how this was the light source for them.  For me there is some kind of connection to history after the sun sets and evening descends.  There are elements of mystery, history and the present that all swirl and coalesce.  And this is what I want to paint.

Here is a short clip of me setting up and painting as it gets dark.

Painting on a showery day in the Adirondack Mountains.

A quick NOTE for you painters out there -THE NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTING IN OCTOBER IS NOW FULL.  If you are thinking of joining the next session, now is the time to sign up !

THERE IS STILL ROOM FOR NEW STUDENTS IN THE BRUSH & SKETCH CLUB. This is the perfect time for plein air painting !  For the month of October we will meet weekly to paint the beautiful landscape as it displays its amazing color and dramatic skies.

JOIN US FOR PLEIN AIR IN OCTOBER ! There is still time to get out and paint and the temperatures are much more comfortable than mid summer! Come and paint with the Brush & Sketch Club! Details here. The Brush & Sketch Club will be painting en plein air on location till Oct 28th.

NEW STUDIO CLASS ! If you want to take your work up a few notches, or have a break through, this is the class for you.  CLASS IS FULL for new studio class starting October 6th. REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW FOR NOV 17TH CLASS . You can register now for the second session of class. (NOV 17th starting date)  There will be a limit on the number of students, early registration is suggested.  For details click here.

NOVEMBER STUDIO CLASS  ~  COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Intermediate

COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~ TUESDAYS 10AM -1PM    BEGINS NOV 17TH.

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

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See reports from the field here.

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Warm Lights on a Cool Night

11 NOCTURNE 6As night moved in the warm lights in the lakeside cottage windows glowed in the growing darkness. The moon grew brighter and brighter as the sky turned a deep blue.  It was quiet. The temperature started to drop and the cool night air made me reach for a sweater while a slight breeze moved the surface of the water in the cove.

Quiet Night, 6×12, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH.

Painting at Night in Castine

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

Night hse

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

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

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