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Plein Air Painting in Maine ~ Summer Is coming!

SUMMER PLEIN AIR PAINTING !  YES, SUMMER IS COMING AND ITS TIME TO GRAB YOUR TIME IN THE SUN !

IF YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT GETTING OUT UNDER THE OPEN SKY TO PAINT THE LANDSCAPE…. NOW IS THE TIME !

THIS CLASS IS PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS TO INTERMEDIATE PAINTERS.

The 2018 Summer Plein Air Painting Class is an outdoor painting class. A new location every week.  Student may work in oils, acrylics or gouache. Students will need to have a plein air easel and painting kit that they can carry or transport easily on location.

JUNE, JULY, AUGUST ~Monthly 4 week session. For beginners to intermediate painters. Capture the essence of the landscape. Understand the fundamentals of landscape painting, specific skills & techniques for plein air painting. Streamline your plein air painting. New weekly location- Diverse subject matter. Individual expression, growth & creativity are encouraged.
CLASS FEES : 4 week class session is $160. Single class $55 per class. There are no make up classes.

TIME:   MONDAYS  –   1-4 PM

DATES:   JUNE ~ 4, 11, 18, 25     JULY ~ 2, 9, 23, 30    AUGUST ~ 6, 13, 20, 27

REGISTER:  4 week class session – Mail me a check or Purchase here ~ https://squareup.com/store/mary-byrom/   

Single class purchase  here individually for $55 per class.
There are no make up classes.

If you have any questions, shoot me an email.

Warmly,

Mary

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How to Create Successful Plein Air Paintings II

The western skies at sunset are dramatic and beautiful at this time of year.
The western skies at sunset are dramatic and beautiful at this time of year.

Before I was swept into my busy summer schedule this past June I began to share my story on how I started my journey into plein air painting.  I was a studio painter for many years before I ever stepped outdoors with a paint brush and paints. Painting out doors changed me in many ways. As a studio painter I painted abstracts. I worked with oil, acrylic, watercolors, collage and assemblage.  Outdoors I work with markers, pens, pencils, oils, watercolors and acrylics. Studio painting was about materials, expression and  experimentation, with no model or subject matter to look at. The process was all about paint and form. Plein air painting is about materials, expression, interpretation and experimentation, and I have a constantly changing subject to paint. And that subject surrounds me!

Marsh Clouds. 8x10" Available.
Marsh Clouds. 8×10″ Available.

When I first started to paint on location I kept the paintings to remember where I painted  and how I handled the conditions, not because I liked anything that I painted. My paintings weren’t even close to what I hoped to capture of the scene in front of me.  I used to bring my paintings home and line them up on the floor in front of the couch.  I’d ask my husband what he thought of them. He’d look them over and encourage me to keep at it. One of his early observations was that from across the room they looked good. Only when you got up close could you see what a mess they were. I realized then that at least I was getting the form and value right.

I began to keep track of my progress, took notes and started to make a sketchbook of all my plein air locations. I showed my plein air work to other painters and received some good feedback, then continued on. I wanted to paint outdoors as skillfully as I painted in the studio.

I painted as often as I could. I went out in all kinds of weather and in every season. I painted lots of small paintings and I read as much as I could about landscape painting and the plein air process. This took some time and I painted a huge pile of paintings. I took a few workshops locally. I read lots of books recommended by other painters and I started taking a few plein air workshops.  It was here that I noticed a big difference in the way each painter approached the process and handled the paint. I also noticed that all these instructors were primarily studio painters. I was improving en plein air but felt I really needed to study with someone who was a very experienced outdoor painter. I researched and read everything I could about plein air painting. This was how I found a small group of instructors who were experienced in painting outdoors.  These instructors only taught in the western US  and usually taught just one workshop a year. So after trying for 2 years to get into a workshop  I managed to secure a spot in a 10 day intensive with Scott L Christenson in Idaho and Wyoming. This proved to be a key step in my progress and practice of painting outdoors.  To be continued…

Painting on a warm November day in a quiet, sunny location.

I love teaching my new studio class. We are going deeper into explorations of color and techniques. I love watching my students really gain insights and develop their skills. Their speedy growth is amazing me. They are on their way to becoming good, solid painters.

I am opening up enrollment for my new Tuesday Studio Class. Since there is enough interest, I am adding on a class.  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 send me an email.

NEW SESSION !

 ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced
COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2PM – 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 SESSION
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 has been immediate when I have listed a class opening. As of now I am not advertising this class publicly, I’m only sending notifications to my email list and blog.  Please contact me if you want to be in this class as registration is now open. Everyone who is on my wait list will have first option to register for this class.

YOU MAY REQUEST TO BE PUT ON THE WAITING LIST FOR THE  JANUARY CLASS SESSION HERE.

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

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Why Painting Outdoors Makes You A Better Artist

Plein air water color sketches 6x8" in my sketchbooks
Plein air.  A view of my sketch book, water color sketches.

Painting outdoors has huge benefits. It is not only awesome and loads of fun , but in the end you actually are better painter, not mention a happy one too. I’m not kidding, it’s incredible! Being outdoors makes you feel great and after you have painted in every type of weather and light condition known to man you discover that after the dust settles you actually have some decent paintings to look at. Don’t just take my word for it. There are piles of studies that show the benefits of being out side.

From 2010 to 2015 I painted outdoors almost exclusively. Every day I headed out to paint under the open sky.  I think this was the most important thing that guided and developed my work. By painting consistently outdoors I developed my ability to see and increased my skills.  So…because I love painting outdoors… I started The Brush & Sketch Club.

What is the Brush & Sketch Club?

The Brush & Sketch Club is an ongoing plein air class practiced in a wide variety of mediums. Each class session lasts 3 hours. We meet at a different location for each class.  Student may work in any medium wet or dry, painting or sketching, with a plein air easel and paint kit or with just a sketchbook,  some pencils or markers, some watercolors and a folding chair.

How does the club  work?

It works like your favorite yoga class. You can purchase a block of 5 classes ($180) and use them on any day a class session is scheduled.  Or if you just feel like trying out a class or being spontaneous and dropping in at the last minute you can pay for a single class.($45)

When does the club meet?

Summer session is posted on my website .  Most class sessions in June & July are on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-6pm. With a few evenings sprinkled through out the summer.  So we can capture those beautiful night lights!  View Calendar here.

It will put a smile on your face.  Not to mention how you will feel after a day of painting in nature, when you tuck in to a dinner of  lobster, corn on the cob and blueberry pie at the end of a perfect day painting in Maine.

Questions? Contact me at:  mbyrom@maine.rr.com

Sign up for classes here.

Sign up for mini- workshops here.

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Do you want to be a great painter?

5 NOCTURNE 15

For those of us who paint, who doesn’t want to be a great painter, painting something that makes us happy ?  Don’t despair, there are ways to get there. It just takes practice and persistence and one day you notice that something has changed. You are no longer struggling or feeling like you are paddling up stream, and you feel a little carefree. Sometimes its the location, the day, the weather or the mood that makes all the difference.  Sometimes it happens when you stop pushing to make it happen. Its called a breakthrough. And we all can use one…

Come paint in Maine this summer. Give yourself the opportunity for your own breakthrough in a beautiful place by the sea that you will never forget.

I am offering three Maine workshops this summer.

2015 SUMMER WORKSHOPS

2015 MAINE LATE SPRING WORKSHOP// JUNE :  “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”    DATES:  JUNE 8 -12   FOR: EXPERIENCED BEGINNER THRU INTERMEDIATE  $300  ~ Class meets from 9am-12pm each day. All levels welcomed- beginner to professional. Late Spring in Maine is beautiful with every thing in bloom and long days with lingering light. This workshop starts with a solid introduction to the fundamentals of good painting and strategies for painting outdoors in all kinds of conditions. The workshop includes lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, personal one-on-one instruction and painting on location in beautiful classic Maine coastal settings including lighthouses, surf, rocky coast, beaches, marshes, harbors and picturesque villages.  I will demonstrate my painting technique and students get the opportunity to paint in a fun, high-energy, 5 day class. Students must provide all of their own art supplies, meals and transportation to and from painting sites. To register for these workshops and for an  accommodation list please Contact me.

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP HERE.  JUNE 8-12  “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”

 

2015 MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOP// JULY : “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”  DATES: JULY  27- 31   FOR: EXPERIENCED BEGINNER THRU INTERMEDIATE  $300 ~  Class meets from 9am-12pm each day. All levels welcomed – beginner to professional. Mid Summer in Maine is glorious with warm days and cool nights. This workshop starts with a solid introduction to the fundamentals of good painting and strategies for painting outdoors in all kinds of conditions. The workshop includes lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, personal one-on-one instruction and painting on location in beautiful classic Maine coastal settings including lighthouses, surf, rocky coast, beaches, marshes, harbors and picturesque villages.  I will demonstrate my painting technique and students get the opportunity to paint in a fun, high-energy, 5 day class. Students must provide all of their own art supplies, meals and transportation to and from painting sites. To register for these workshops and for an  accommodation list please contact me.

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP HERE  JULY 27-31 “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”

2015 MAINE LATE SUMMER WORKSHOP// SEPTEMBER : “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”    DATES: SEPTEMBER 14 -18    FOR: EXPERIENCED BEGINNER THRU INTERMEDIATE  $300 ~ Class meets from 9am-12pm each day. All levels welcomed ~ beginner to professional. Late Summer in Maine is the best. The days are still warm, the leaves are beginning to turn and the beaches empty. This workshop starts with a solid introduction to the fundamentals of good painting and strategies for painting outdoors in all kinds of conditions. The workshop includes lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, personal one-on-one instruction and painting on location in beautiful classic Maine coastal settings including lighthouses, surf, rocky coast, beaches, marshes, harbors and picturesque villages.  I will demonstrate my painting technique and students get the opportunity to paint in a fun, high-energy, 5 day class. Students must provide all of their own art supplies, meals and transportation to and from painting sites. To register for these workshops and for an  accommodation list please contact me.

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP HERE SEPTEMBER 14-18 “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE 

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Home for Dinner

12 NOCTURNE 4The lights in the cottage on the edge of the cove went on shortly after dark and I immediately knew the owners had arrived home for dinner.  With these gorgeous autumn sunsets and twilight setting in so early dinner time and preparing for dinner is almost at the onset of darkness. In summer, which was just such a short time ago we’d be having supper in the sunshine,  unless I was painting a summer moonrise which wouldn’t happen till 9 pm.  Then dinner was at 10pm.

Night Lake, 5×7, oil. Available @ “A Pictures Worth” Gallery, Exeter, NH

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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.

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Captains, Cranes, Boats and a Bridge

Sometimes you have a perfect day.

That happened last week when I set up to paint in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
I’ve been having a great time painting this winter.  For the past 8 weeks I’ve been in Portsmouth, New Hampshire painting subjects that I’ve never painted before…

…man made objects, buildings, machines, ships, bridges, metal, industrial things….dark,  gritty, heavy, non-cozy, non-pastoral stuff.   
Not really what you’d call friendly, or human-sized, it’s the substance of big industry. 

I’m painting this industrial landscape with fellow painter Barbara Carr who is just as interested in this new subject as I am. 
We pick a general location every week then scout around to see what has shown up. Portsmouth is a busy seaport, the setting changes all the time.
 Right now the well-known and well-used Memorial Bridge, an aging drawbridge, is being removed so a new one can be built in the same location.  

    
Unusual looking tug boats have appeared to move the barges and cranes for the workers as they dismantle the bridge.

Its a big deal. Hundreds of people love this bridge. It’s the only one you can walk across to get to Kittery, Maine. Everyone comes by to see the “de-construction”.  
We were lucky to find a quiet corner.  

Barbara wasted no time locating her spot and setting up.
I sketched in my design.

It wasn’t easy. Not only did the barges move around while we were painting…

…but the reason they were moved soon became apparent. A huge ship needed to get up the river, and one barge was in the way.
It looked like a tight fit getting through the channel.

 The ship was so big that the tugs had to keep the barges and cranes in place as it passed.

All kinds of frameworks are being put in place to dismantle the remaining sides of the bridge.
A visit from Captain Leo Smith of the tugboat “Miss Stacy” made our day! How often does the captain of your subject visit you? 

Then as if that wasn’t enough… the next group of experts to arrive were from the barges. Emmanuel Jefferson(on right) is the operator of the monster red crane I was painting ! 

These ironworkers usually work in the Chesapeake Bay region and wanted to see what these northern artists were painting. 

Heck ! The pressure was on. Get those painting done. Back to work!
Its a real party scene down by the bridge. People pour in all day, looking, chatting, taking pictures and watching everything the workers do.
Jeff Weaver stopped by after finishing a painting he started the day before when the crowds were so thick he couldn’t even find a place nearby to park. 
We kept painting until sunset. 

The scene on the river keeps changing. Tugs, cranes and barges move around.



 When they stopped work for the day the two tugs tied up on the barge anchored in the middle of the river. They were all lit up. It looked like a small industrial island.

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Maine: Sturdy Workers




Two Tugs 4×6 oil on canvas panel


Huge ships are guided up the river in Portsmouth Harbor to the numerous docks to unload their important cargo. These sturdy work horses do the job.
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Food for the Palette

I’ve discovered that painting is an endurance sport, especially if I’m outdoors painting for long lengths of time.  I notice that if I make good choices and eat enough food I’m fine no matter how long I’m out there.  
I change what I eat according to the season. We are having our first snowfall in Maine as I write this. The really cold weather hasn’t arrived for real… yet. 
Back Road Field Study 8×16 watercolor
This morning I changed my breakfast to my cold weather menu.  I had a huge cup of steaming hot decaf coffee and a slice of baked oatmeal. Yum !  It’s the best stuff ever!  I’m hooked!
I’m trying it out as my new cold weather breakfast. I can have it packed and ready when I have to dash out early in the morning to paint.  
Ogunquit River Field Study 8×16 watercolor

This week I’m doing some big chunks of studio time in-between my plein air trips. 
Carvers Harbor Field Study 8×16 watercolor
 Vermont Pasture Field Study 8×16 watercolor
I’m finishing up some paintings I started outdoors and beginning some new larger paintings from field studies.
My wonderful husband Marcus was home today and fixed lunch for me! I eat the same thing almost every day and never get tired of it. 

My field sketches are so important when I am painting in the studio. I paint large paintings en plein air finishing them on location and sometimes in the studio.

I also paint large paintings completely in the studio using my field studies as the basis for the paintings.
Clouds Moving Out Field Study 11×14 watercolor
For years I was only a studio painter, then I was only a plein air painter. Now I do both. The two have merged and I am really focusing on this development.
Lobster boats in N’oreaster 8×16 watercolor
I have a super lovely studio. It’s all bright and airy. In the summer it’s cool and shady. It is also warm and toasty in cold weather. On sunny winter days it fills with light. 
I travel a lot in warmer months to paint on location so I don’t often get to spend much time in my studio.  In winter I usually paint closer to home so I can work on large paintings in the studio.  
Winter Marsh Field Study 9×12 oil
I’m coordinating my winter indoor/outdoor schedule so I get enough fresh air and studio  time every week…I’m looking for that nice balance.
Marsh Evening Field Study 11×14 oil
I notice I burn a lot of fuel when I’m painting outdoors in the cold. And I notice that I have to eat hot food at the beginning of the day and the end of the day to feel right.  If I eat cold food for breakfast or a salad for dinner I get chilly.  
I keep my studio temperature in the 50’s.  If it is too warm I become overheated while painting.  I’m always moving and walking around when I’m at the easel.  It’s a habit. When I’m outdoors I walk away from the easel to get a view of the painting from a distance.  I do the same thing indoors…I like staying in motion.
Moon Night Field Study 8×16 oil 

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MEADOWOOD ~ A VERMONT FARM

In southwestern Vermont there are some really beautiful places to paint. 

Open meadows are plentiful because farmers have kept the land clear. You can see for miles and miles.  
Chickens, 6×8 oil
Meadowood Farm is a lovely place on the upper slopes of West Mountain in Shaftsbury, Vermont

Jane Ramsey and I were invited by Cliff and Donna the owners of Meadowood to paint on their property. 

Not only did they invite us to paint, but they insisted that we also come for breakfast.
They operate an elegant Bed & Breakfast inn at the farm.
We arrived at the house and were treated like royalty.
Jane immediately started sketching our breakfast. 
It was a 5 star breakfast cooked to order! It was so perfect and delicious it felt like a dream… we had to keep pinching ourselves.
After breakfast we were ready to paint ! The hen house seemed like a good place to start. The chickens were lively and friendly. 
I made a large variety of sketches.

The chickens never stopped moving; running around eating bugs and little things in  the grass.
We tried to gather them in one place so we could paint them.  Ha ! Ever hear of “herding chickens” ? 
Jane and I set up near the fence to paint them in the yard.
They promptly took off, jumping the fence and running all over the lawns and woods. 
Jane had some crackers in the car… so we tossed them bits… to tempt them to come back.
Some of them stuck around long enough for us to sketch and paint them.
We were working fast… it’s difficult to paint chickens-in-motion. 
I  finally knew what “herding chickens” really means !
Chickens Too, 6×8 oil 
Soon Cliff came by with his bucket loader to carry our gear to our next painting location.
Jane and I walked down the stairs to the large open meadow below the house.
This farm is pristine. It has everything, a babbling brook, acres of hardwoods, open meadows and a river.
Cliff drove through the woods on a road he built down to the meadow. 
It was a perfect late summer day in Vermont… the Green Mountains were dusty blue in the distance.  
For the past two weeks Vermont had a ton of rain. Flooding was everywhere. Why was this meadow so perfect ? Cliff had built a berm at the top of the meadow where the river curved and he managed to keep it from flooding the meadow.
Is this man amazing or what ? The farm is a reflection of his care for the land…not to mention how thoughtful and kind he and his wife were towards us.  
Jane painted quickly with her watercolors.
The shadows steadily crept across the meadow.
We decided to call it a wrap. We were expected back at base camp, Taradin, for an art opening that evening. 
We packed our gear and Cliff drove it up the hill delivering it to our cars.  
The meadow was now all in shadow.  
The tops of the trees caught the last rays of the setting sun. It was the end of another perfect day on West Mountain in Vermont.