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The Quick Draw

Saturday afternoon was the quick draw event on the grounds of  Park McCullough, it was gorgeous, a perfect day.
Jack Haran, John Caggianno and I discuss where we might paint.

We are standing in the rose garden of the estate.  John decided to paint in the garden.  I have to say the painters at this event were really great people…haven’t met such a nice group at an event before- really supportive.  

Hui Lai is checking her gear before heading out.

This 1938 Dodge was parked in a great spot. 

The Lions club set up food tents so we wouldn’t fade away to nothing as we painted to make the deadline.

Frank Constantino held a quick meeting for the painters in the carriage barn to lay out the rules.  

I choose to paint the 1920 Ford. 

 Visitors came by the entire time we painted.  They loved watching the quick draw. 

Sharon Carson paints the large moose sculpture.

James Gurney paints the 1938 Dodge truck. 

Carlton Manzano focused on the carriage barns. 

Jame Ramsey went out to the edge of the  field to set up her umbrella.  

Tarryl Gabel painted on the edge of the property looking up at the hillside meadow and trees. 

Bill Cloutman painted the roof edges of the mansion. 

Everywhere you looked you saw painters scattered across the landscape.

This estate has its own gas private pump! 

Jack Haran paints the mansion. 

Vcevy Strekalovsky painted the multiple gables of the carriage barns.

Bob & Nan Lowary chatting with and some of their many high school volunteers. They were great! 

I’ve got the car blocked in…I really like Quick Draws.  I like to paint as fast as possible. 

John is deep into his painting. 

Andrew Orr worked away smiling.  

Chris Coyne studied the edge of the roof he was painting. 

  The finish lines looms!  What is this new habit I have of one hand on my hip while painting? To get it out of the way?  So I won’t grab a brush and start in with two hands ? Thank you Marcus for the great pictures !

Quick Draw Winners 
James Gurney (Rhinebeck, NY)
“1938 Dodge”

Vcevy Strekalovsky (Hingham, MA)

Bill Cloutman (Marblehead, MA)
“Park McCullough Carriage Barn”

People’s Choice 
Matthew Perry (North Bennington, VT)
‘Park McCullough and North Bennington”
Pen & Ink and Watercolor

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Painting in Vermont ~ 3rd Day

Saturday morning we painted, framed and dropped off paintings for the opening on Saturday night.
Tony Conner was hanging the show with the help of his high school volunteer team.

Jane Ramsey arrived right after I did and pulled out her paintings for us to see. We were all working so hard we hadn’t seen anything anyone was painting unless they were near us in the field! 

Tony is giving directions and they are listening.  These guys had to move fast!

Paintings were unpacked, lined up on the tables and Tony would tell the boys exactly where to place them.

They were practically synchronized- it looked like a dance.

Jane wanted our oppinion on which two paintings to enter in the competition. 

Hiu Lai arrived minutes later as Jane’s paintings were being hung – no kidding.  Go Tony- what a pro!  

Bob Lowary explained the reason for the color of the antique glass balls on the lighting rods.

Frank Costantino arrived with more painters right behind him. The show was going up fast! 

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Painting in Vermont ~ 2nd Day

We had a little sun & lots of clouds on our second day of painting. 

I set up on Main St with a view down the hill toward Mount Anthony.  

There were some nice shadows and light so I blocked it in fast.  It didn’t last long then more big clouds rolled in. 

People were dropping by all day to see the painters at work . Jim & Jeannette Gurney were down the street from me at the crossroads in the town center.

When I arrived Jim was painting with a mall stick and a sable brush…this guy is into refined detail ! 

Jeanette was painting in watercolors behind him.  They were both painting the Powers Market.  I loved Jim’s “Art Dept” orange cones…   they are so “official looking” they keep the coast clear of parked cars in big cities.   Go Jim!

Here is a close up of Jim’s painting.  A real gem. 

The next painting location we headed to was behind Park-McCullough where we found Andrew Orr set up and splashing paint!

I set up down the lane behind him…

…where I could get a view of the barns and meadows… 

…and I drew it in as fast as possible as sunset is early these late summer days.

Finally the sun broke through a short while later and, wow what a difference! 

I’m working fast.

The horses loved having the painters around – these must be some of the most intelligent, gentle horses I’ve ever met. 

They frolicked in the sun as we all painted like mad!  Day 2 was ending fast! 

Check out James Gurney’s blog on his hot reports of North Bennington Plein Air….
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Painting in Vermont ~ Day 1

Every AM we check in at the railroad station to tell the organizers where we are painting for the day.
The station is an awesome piece of architecture!

At the station we met Bill Cloutman who was setting up to paint along the street.

Out behind the station along the rail road racks we found Hiu Lai Chong painting away. 

Thirty feet away was painter Jack Hobbs.

As we came round the corner we ran into painter Frank Constantino. Frank is part of the North Bennington team.     

Rain showers were predicted for the day.  Banks of clouds raced across the mountain tops. I went to Taraden to paint.

I set up my easel next to my car with my umbrella so I could paint through the showers.
I blocked in the view before a light rain began to fall.  
What a surprise ! My old friend Stapleton Kearns dropped by at Taraden to paint with Chris Coyne and I for the day.   

This was the view behind us …a lovely old Vermont dairy barn.

Check out James Gurney’s hot blog post on NB PLein Air.
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North Bennington, Vermont Plein Air

I just returned from painting in Vermont at the North Bennington Plein Air Competition . Marcus came along to sketch and take pictures when I was too busy painting. It was great!

Check-in was at Taraden B&B where the event was held in a huge barn on the property.

Minutes after we arrived artists Jane Ramsey, Ruth Randall and co-director Bob Lowary showed up.  
The barns on this property once housed a large amount of dairy cows.  They are completely renovated inside with the original exterior intact.  Perfect!

Taraden sits on acres of land full of open meadows, trails, trees and views of the Green Mountains. 
 We were early for the check-in, so we took a ride up Burgess Road to scout out the dairy farms and the view of Bennington from the high ridge.
When we returned to Taraden we found Tony Conner and James Gurney hanging out in front of the barn.  Everyone was arriving and boarding….

…a large wagon hitched up to a pair of huge American Cream horses.

We all got on board and the guided tour of North Bennington began.
The center of town has all these old mill buildings built right along the river. 

While the wagon was rocking and rolling around town Jim continued to sketch away – what a trooper. I was busy just trying to keep the camera steady.

These barns housed a black smith shop. Now they are full of repaired lawn mowers, bikes, cross terrain vehicles and anything else that needs fixing…  
After our horse drawn wagon tour of North Bennington, Marcus & I walked up a trail to the top of the ridge behind Park-McCullough. 
At sunset the sun finally broke through the cloud cover that rolled across the mountains all day.

Looked like we might have a nice sunny painting day for tomorrow. 
Check out James Gurney’s blog of  hot reports of North Bennington Plein air
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Painting Large in the Marsh

OK. Time for true confessions. A while back I used to paint large abstract paintings indoors in a studio.  Then I went out doors to paint landscapes – all the time.  When I studied for two years with Scott Christensen  I painted small paintings – “starts” – hundreds of “starts” outdoors. 

Last year a friend of mine, Stapleton Kearns suggested I paint large paintings again – outdoors.  Plus, Marcus had been bugging me forever to paint large again….so I started to think in that direction. Well, one day it just happened… I was painting in Wells Harbor in the afternoon. As it was moving toward sunset I liked the misty light on the marsh.   

 I parked along the edge of the marsh on Harbor Road. I set up my easel. It was so peaceful and quiet Marcus decided to practice Falun Gong. Here he is doing an exercise called Falun Cosmic Orbit, it is a series of slow, smooth movements. He’s standing near me in a nice spot with a view of the salt pans.
I looked at the view then pulled out a small 9×12 panel, then a 11×14 then I dug deeper into my car studio and pulled out my BIG panels!  Oh no! The only one that would fit on my Easy L was  the 15 x30. So I went with it and threw on the paint fast, with a big brush. 

What a relief it was to paint on a large canvas out doors. There was enough room to say something!

I was having a really good time. So of course the wind picked up and my little easel started to sail away…I had to move it in closer to the back of my car out of the full blast of the wind.

The sky started to do some nice things.  Then I heard a voice behind me taking about me . I glanced around and saw a trolley stopped right in middle of the road. The driver was explaining to the passengers what I was doing  and everyone was leaning out of the open sides looking at me and the painting.   

A guy yelled from the back of the trolley, “I’ll buy it!”  I yelled back, “It’s not done! ”  I turned and went back to painting. I was loosing my light so no time to hang out and chat. 

The sky just kept getting better!   A few moments later a van pulled up and the driver – called out, “Acrylics?”  “No”, I said, ” oils”.   He then said, “Alla prima?  You are good! ” (Now I’m getting the educated passerby, I’m thinking… I paused to ask him if he was a painter; no, high school art teacher)

I love painting big ….but I’m finding it does cause traffic to stop… more tales to come…
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Big Paintings Need a Big Easel

I didn’t need a studio for about five years. I just painted outdoors,  brought them home and put them on a table in the garage to dry.  I couldn’t stand painting indoors. When I started painting in plein air after years of being in a studio I wanted just the sky as the roof over my head. 
Things change. I just bought a Beauport for painting outdoors and on Friday a local painter wanted to sell a large studio easel. Since I’m painting larger these days I thought I’d better get it. I went to Janet’s studio to pick it up. 

Marcus came to help me.  We brought tools to take it apart. No need ! It fit easily into the Subaru.    

The only piece we had to take off was the pole. 

Marcus was very happy we didn’t have to use the half mile of rope we brought with us!

The hatch closed easily and the trip back to my studio was a leisurely cruise.  Just not liking moving stuff to my studios in my 20’s. Then it was always a hair raising adventure. 
Marcus could practically do this himself.
It came with extra parts to telescope the pole even higher.  No need for that right now.  
Here’s a 30×40 canvas sitting on it.  Theres plenty more room for a bigger canvas
And here is the poor old easel that was sitting in my studio with that larger canvas on it.  It just about filled it up .   Marcus eyed this lonely little easel with a delighted look on his face. I can see he will be using it soon.  Next, he will want to move into my studio to paint next to me.  Good thing he has a job and won’t be around all the time …or I will have to build a bigger studio! 
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Plein Air in Canterbury, NH

New Hampshire is gorgeous in the summer!  I live near the ocean in Southern Maine but…a short drive from my house takes me into the foothills of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
We headed up to Canterbury, NH for the afternoon. 
Marcus decided to come along with me to do some sketching.

Here’s the view of the top of the meadow where we parked the car. 

I started to set up and Marcus got down to work a right away.  He’s working on perspective and sight measuring.

He decided to sketch my pochade box all set up and ready to go. He is experiencing the difficulty of designing the landscape to make it interesting and hold your eye.  All that editing.  Much harder than a still life or person.  So at this stage in his plein air experience he picks a specific object or person to sketch and is doing really well.  

Of course here we have 2 sketch books with totally different focuses and purposes. 

 I’m well into the my first field sketch.  I’m painting with my back to the scene to keep the moving dappled sunlight off my canvas and palette.

Here’s the 12×12 , oil on panel. 

The big cross road behind me had a road sign for every destination these roads will take you to – yes, it goes to 
 Boston!  Note the granite post. Up in these hills we see pasture fence posts made out of granite.

A granite watering trough is near the sign. This is a spot to stop and water your horses. The road was once a highway(1700’s?). Its now a country road.   

Here I am taking that step back to see if the design is making sense on my second start.

Here is the cross road behind me that goes to Lake Winnipesaki.

I’m laying in some paint fast on the 16×20 panel. The light is changing, the clouds are flying and  I’m moving fast!  

 As we packed up to head back to the coast heavier clouds moved in over the meadow.  What a great day!  

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Antique Cars in Plein Air at Par Sem

I was invited to be the artist-in-residence at an antique car show for a museum in Maine. What a delight!  The Parsonsfield Seminary Museum is a treasure.   The place is sublime.
The museum grounds were packed.  It was a perfect summer day. 
Antique cars arrived from everywhere.

The lawns filled with all kinds of cars…

And trucks!

The deep cool shade of the old maples was fully appreciated by the visitors.
The cars of the sixties are very popular among collectors now. 
Hot rods were fancy and in wild colors.
There were over 150 cars all parked in groups of ten year spans. 
This was a new plein air experience for me.  Wow! I’d never see so many antique cars in one place before.  Which ones to sketch?  It was overwhelming.  How to choose? So many great models . So little time! 

This convertible sparkled in the sunshine.  Did I forget to mention these cars are so clean and shiny they look like mirrors?
Here was the first sketch of the day .  I did it in ink and watercolor.  Fast.  Good lesson, I  knew I needed to the do the next ones in pencil so I could correct lines if needed as I was having to move fast and wasn’t familiar with the different lines and shapes.  Plus onlookers gathered fast, even before I could get started. They were interested and excited.  
Next, I decided to just stop, “park” myself in the shade and get going.  Here’s the setup.  The antique cars had complex shapes and curves. 
Here’s the little 1930’s car I sketched. 
I was sketching just across from  the gazebo where a great band was playing. Live music all day!  Imagine an artist in plein air serenaded all day- it was delightful. 
I sketched this car after the owner came and visited with me while I was painting the sleek convertible on the other side of the campus.  What a sweet car! Such personality. 
I stayed in one spot, just kept turning my chair and sketched next car.

Everyone began to gather for the awards ceremony.  
This car won a blue ribbon! The husband of Wendy Newcomb  is the owner, what a blast!  He knew what I was dealing with painting en plein air.
This was the oldest car at the show.  A 1917 Model T.

In late afternoon the museum campus sits with a few cars left after everyone else has headed home.  The only hint of the big event were a few tire tracks left on the grass. 
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Real Lobstermen like Art

My friend Libby told me I had to go and paint up in Friendship, Maine.  Well, she is right.  Its a gorgeous place, a busy working year round harbor and the people you find there are gems.

These are photos from my scouting trip up there this spring.  The harbor is awesome. The bay is sprinkled with islands. I’m heading back up there to paint next week. I’ll post what it looks like in summer!

I invited my sister Marcia with me on this trip so she could see a bit of Maine off the beaten track.   Lib took us to all her favorite places.  We started with Martins Point. This worn out house with its freshly painted boat was a Maine classic.

This is the town dock. The gray building has a workshop in the back of it where someone is painting lobster buoys .  They hang from the rafters like icicles.

Meet Derek and Vincent.  They are lobstermen out of Friendship.  Derek owns a nice big lobster boat and offered to take me out for a trip to the islands for a 12 pack of beer.  These guys work very hard.

The place was packed with dories.
The wharves were lined up one after the other as far as you could see. The harbor was packed with working boats. A lot of people fish out of this port.
 Derek & Vincent liked my sketches.  They had an eye for art.  They jumped out of the truck to get a closer look at my sketchbook. They both knew Andrew Wyeth.They went to parties at his house and Derek took care of an island for him. They know everyone around there and on all the islands.  Derek informed us that Vincent in his younger years was famous for being a champion athlete – best in the State. Derek lives simply, he doesn’t have a computer or phone at his house.  He does have electricity, an alarm clock and a cell phone though.

I set up and sketched like mad before the sun set.  I loved this  lobster trap table I found – it was the perfect  height for me! I am looking forward to next week.