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Painting With Winslow Homer

Sunset, Winslow Homer 1875

When I first started to paint outdoors in 2004 I only wanted to paint like the Russian luminists. I don’t know where this desire came from. I wanted late light, soft shadows and mystery with a glow of light coming from somewhere below the horizon. This desire lead me to search for places where I could actually see this. It confined me to a specific time of day when the sun was below the horizon. I only had the options of early morning before sunrise or evening after sunset to witness this type of light.

I learned a lot about sunrise, sunset and dusk and how the speed of the light increases or lingers. I watched sunrises come way too fast and how the light changed rapidly. It was not favorable for painting that in-between glowing light. Sunset was the opposite. The light lingered and changed steadily but it was slow enough to have the time to capture it on canvas.

One of the first places I went to paint late afternoon light was on Harris Island and along the York River in York Harbor, Maine. Unbeknown to me I was drawn to the same location that Winslow Homer choose in 1875 to paint his sunset picture. Little did I know this when I went there. I picked the spot because of how the light looked on the water late in the day and after sunset. This spot is beautiful and serene even now 144 years later. And this location still has this beautiful, amazing light at that special time of day.

Now it even has a new bridge along the Fisherman’s Walk near the spot where Homer painted. There is a nice wide walk way where I can set up and get even better views of the flowing, golden light as dusk reveals its glory.

There is one spot left in my January 2020 Class “Quick & Easy Color”. If you would like to join us: CLICK HERE.

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The show catalogue from the Cape Ann Museum

I didn’t think for a minute I was going to see something so eye opening and revealing…

The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester just ended their Winslow Homer show a few days ago. I was lucky I was able to see it the day before it closed.

A sketch completed in York, ME. the first place Homer visited and painted in Maine.

The show was amazing. It included sketches, drawings, oil sketches, painting and photographs from 1869- 1880 when Homer transitioned from being an illustrator to becoming a marine painter. Step by step in stages through out the rooms you could literally see the artistic process of a young illustrator moving from highly detailed depictions of affluent families on seaside vacations, to fishermen at work, to paintings of the harbors, sunsets, ships and ocean.

So much of what he was thinking and experiencing and how he was changing was completely exposed by seeing this progression of work. It was amazing! When Homer began drawing and painting these beach scenes he was making his living as a successful illustrator in New York. The beginning of his seascapes began just four years after the end of the Civil War where he was in the battlefield as an illustrator. At this time he was selling his illustrations to earn a living.

Homer’s first painting of a fisherman at work. York Harbor, Maine

He began taking painting trips to Long Island, N.Y., Gloucester and Manchester, MA . It was during his time in Gloucester that he needed to earn enough money for a trip to Europe. He had taken an trip to Europe two years earlier and ran out of money. So this time he decided to earn more money for the trip by making and selling 30 watercolor paintings in 30 days. He began his month of painting with his usual approach of painting figures in the landscape. At some point he ran out of models and still needed to paint more paintings. So he began to go out and paint the scenes that were in front of him. He painted sunsets, ships in harbors and anything else he saw. The contrast of these paintings to his earlier ones is significant. It is in these incredible watercolors that you can see the beginnings of the marine paintings that he would later paint when he was in Prouts Neck, ME.

Homer’s painting influenced Andrew Wyeth and he made his modern sketch of this fisherman many years later.

I have painted 30 paintings in 30 days or 100 paintings in 100 days. I, of course, thought this was some recent trend started by someone on the internet. Now I realize it is not new at all. It’s a tradition. I did it so I could focus on certain themes, break through limiting practices and push my work to the next level. Now with my new perspective on the whole process I’m getting ready to do this again. Who knows where it will take me? I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

All of the images are from the Cape Ann Museum show . The show catalogue is “Homer at the Beach” A Marine Painter’s Journey,. 1869-1880.

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New: Quick & Easy Color

This is the class you’ve requested …Now you can mix the colors you want !

Wouldn’t it be great to spend your time painting, not struggling to mix the right color?

This class explains the key concepts for mixing color, how to choose the best colors for color mixing, how to use a primary palette and standard palette as your working palette, how to mix vibrant and semi-neutral secondary colors and how to develop a personal expressive way to use them in your paintings.

This is your chance to stop all the guessing as you mix colors! Know what you are really using for pigments and the properties of your paints. Stop relying on luck with color mixing !

The class is taught in 4 week clusters, each focusing on specific topics and aspects of color, mixing and painting. Students may work in one or multiple mediums of their choice.

DATE: January  7th- 28th 2020
TIME: 10AM – 1PM
LOCATION: North Berwick, ME
MEDIUMS: Oil, Acrylic, Gouache, Watercolor
LEVEL: Beginner to Experienced

Materials list and class location will be sent upon registration.


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New Fall Classes

A quick study of the rapidly changing light on the York River.

Its the end of summer and the beginning of new classes ! There are new plein air, studio and sketchbook classes starting.

Check out the listings below and click on the link for class details and registration links.

Plein Air Class ~ Starts September 10th

Class Dates are; September 10, 17, 24, Oct 1. Beginner to experienced painters welcome.Come paint outdoors in the best season.  :

  • Tuesday 10am -1pm
  • Mediums: Acrylic, oil, watercolor, gouache
  • New Location each week.

Plein Air Class Details & Registration

Studio Painting Class ~ Starts September 18th

Class Dates are; September 10, 17, 24, Oct 1. Beginner to experienced painters welcome. Learn to design and paint powerful landscapes!

  • Wednesday 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Mediums: Acrylic, oil, watercolor, gouache
  • New focus each session.

Studio Painting Details & Registration

Traveling Sketchbook Class ~ 4 mini workshops

Class Dates are; September 28th, October 19th, November 9th, December 7th.  Beginner to experienced sketchers are welcome. Come sketch outdoors in awesome locations!

  • September 28, 10 am -1 pm
  • October 19, 10 am to 1 pm
  • November 9, 3 pm to 6 pm
  • December 7, 3 pm to 6 pm

Traveling Sketchbook Details & Registration

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Plein Air Demo & Paint Out this week!

At the Pier. Plein Air. Private collection.



The Kittery Art Association is hosting Mary Byrom doing a plein air demo at the Hosmer’s property at the end of Raynes’ Neck Road ,York Maine.

Everyone is welcome. If you’d like to paint on the property bring your gear and set up after the demo. Fee: KAA Members $10, non members $15.
I will show how I choose a subject, start a painting and complete a block in. Q&A will follow.


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Painting in Ocean Park, Maine

A beautiful summer day on the marsh.

Ocean Park is a nice seaside community that feels like a village lost in time.

It is made up of a patchwork of connected streets forming a small village that is cozy and friendly. Every summer it comes to life when the cottages and streets are filled with families that have been vacationing here for for generations. When winter rolls in, the quiet of marsh and the sea descends over empty cottages and streets.

But now it’s August, the last hurrah of summer, so the streets, the beaches and the ice cream parlor are full. And this is the time when “Art in the Park” artists visit Ocean Park to paint summer memories. One of the best things about Ocean Park is that it is a traditional place. It doesn’t have the big anonymous estates or sea side mansions you find in Kennebunkport or Cape Elizabeth. It’s mostly small cottages or houses that are remnants of the faith based community that first settled here in the 1800s. It was once all seasonal cottages that are now slowly being converted into year round homes.

I count myself lucky to to be painting in Ocean Park during the peak of the summer. Actually I would be happy painting here at any time of the year!

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New Fall Painting Classes

Evening on the Lake – Painted on a late summer night as it was getting dark enough to have trouble seeing exactly what the colors were on my palette. That’s when its handy to always have them in the same place so you can “paint in the dark” no problem.

Yes, its still summer. But, I did get a phone call the other day from a student who was curious about when my fall painting classes were starting. My evening studio classes are starting September 18th. The studio classes are good for the nuts and bolts of painting. Its in the studio that you get to experiment and try out new things. This is the place where you can paint notans, try new color triads, check out new brushes, new pigments, the works. The studio is where I do my memory work. I design from my sketches and paint from my field studies. Its a time of exploration and experimentation. Like the time I decided I wanted to use cold wax. But it was in the middle of winter and no one told me that it stinks! I’d be better off using it out side where I can’t smell it !

My studio classes are very different from my plein air classes. We have watercolor, gouache, acrylic and oil painters in the mix. I teach the fundamentals like drawing, design and color. This is the real deal that enables students to solidly improve their skills and grow as painters. This is not a paint and sip class!

This year the studio classes are focused on painting stronger landscapes. We will be hitting the basics and moving into the advanced stuff. It is a lot of fun and so great to see these students understand the lessons and improve as painters. I’m watching the growth of some knockout painters.



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New Fall Plein Air Classes

Rain Over Perkins Point, Castine, ME

It’s hot here in southern Maine, but nothing an ice tea and a swim won’t fix…or standing in the water while painting.

It’s August so that means it’s mid summer here at my house. This is the only time of the year I wish I’d kept that swimming pool in the back yard. For about 2 weeks I wish I had it. But, the rest of the year I could care less.

We are in the thick of summer vacation land. If you live here and are not on vacation you feel like you are the minute you get out of work as everyone else is ! Plus, its full tilt painting season and plein air season, so I am going out to paint as much as I can. and…even though we are in the midst of summer all you organized folks out there are asking about fall classes. Good idea ! I know that before we can blink an eye September will be upon us! Here’s the fall plein air class schedule.

SEPTEMBER PLEIN AIR – 4 WEEKS – Sept 10, 17, 24, Oct 1.

OCTOBER PLEIN AIR – 4 WEEKS – Oct 8, 15, 22, 29.

NOVEMBER PLEIN AIR – 4 WEEKS – 5,12, 19, 26


You can register for class here.

Marsh Mood, oil.

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Sketching & Painting the Landscape

How it all began….in 2004 a good friend suggested we go outdoors and paint the landscape. She had read a book a water colorist had published of plein air landscape paintings and it looked like fun. We were both experienced artists in a variety of mediums so it looked really interesting and easy. We researched materials and tools, (there were not many to choose from) picked what looked good and set out.
This was the beginning of a wild, fun, amazing journey that is still continuing.

First of all it really helped that we didn’t know anything about plein air painting. We couldn’t find anyone we knew who did and could give us advice… that was 2004.

Now its the summer of 2019 and my students have asked me to write down everything I’ve learned along the way. I’m starting with the tools and materials . The funny thing is I know I’ve painted and sketched a lot but I don’t really have any markers along the trail that show me how far I’ve come or what I’ve learned until I show it to someone else. Then I see where I’ve traveled and what I’ve learned.

Last week one of my students said, “What you just said sounded to me like a different language, I don’t even know the meaning of what you said”. Another one said “Can you write this down?” You say so much that is important and I can’t remember all of it.”

So I’m doing just that. I’m writing it all down. Its more than I thought, so it may take a little bit of time to get it organized and into a simple, legible format. I’m starting the organization of the information this week and when it’s all done I’ll put it into a nice package so you all can read it.

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Wave: On the Rocks. New Haiku series. 2.5×7″ $175 Available.

Happy Spring! Beauty makes us feel better. The last skies of winter and the first skies of spring have been putting on a spectacular show! Now the snow is gone here in southern Maine, I hope you are enjoying the first blush of spring with all its blossoms and bird song.


Night: Moonlight on the Water. 4×6″ $240 New Haiku series. Available. Unframed.

Collector alert ! A new Haiku collection. If you are looking for a special gift …give me a shout! The new Night, Wave, Marsh and Cloud collections will be available in my studio only until May 24th.  
Night: Moonlight on the Water
Available. Unframed


Spruce Creek from New Castle. Oil on paper. Available.


NEW!  PLEIN AIR CLASSES  Plein Air Classes start next week !  MAY 7th. Tuesdays 10am – 1pm. Pack up your gear  and come out  with us. Beginner to advanced students welcome.


JUNE 29th, JULY 27th, AUGUST 17th Saturdays 10am – 5pm. Pack up your gear  and come out with us. These special one day intensives are offered for experienced beginner to advanced students.


The Traveling Sketchbook. Enjoy sketching en plein air at a new location every week.

Sketching is totally fun. Every Monday in June, July & August meet me in a new beautiful location to try out your skills drawing & painting the world around us. Registration & details.


Rain Showers Over Perkins Point. Oil on board. 6×12″ $700. Available.

Friends, fans, collectors, painters & sketchers – would you like to watch a painting appear in front of your eyes? You are invited to join me on June 20th 4-7 pm at a private seaside location in Kittery, ME to watch the birth of a plein air landscape! Hosted by the Kittery Art Association.  Detailed invite coming soon!