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Painting on Marginal Way, Ogunquit, Maine

Marian, Willek and Dennis headed up to Maine to paint for the day with me.  We were hoping for big surf as our subject matter.  This is the view from Israel’s Head looking south on toward Perkins Cove.   

No such luck!  It was as calm as a lake.  Such is the life of plein air painters 
Marian set up facing north looking toward the rocks with Ogunquit Beach in the background. 

Willek & Dennis of course went out farther into the big craggy stuff and set up on the edge.

Willek is down on the rocks on the side of a crevice which in rougher weather would be dicey.

Dennis was on the side of the path tucked into the hill side. A least he could step back and not worry about falling off. 

A couple of big guys who were walking by were so impressed with Willek’s start that they wanted his biz card so they could see the painting when he was finished.

Here Marian is working away .  It was calm and peaceful so she even had her umbrella up! 

I decided to paint this view of the rocks. 

Here is my start. See Marian holding her hat? Well, a big wind came in and blew her umbrella inside out and then it was gusty for the rest of the time. A front was coming in.

This is where I decide to stop on this painting.

I went and found Wilek packing up .

And Dennis cleaning his palette. We then headed off to pick up some lunch and set up in our afternoon location, Perkins Cove.  
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Mackerel Cove

I spent the afternoon painting in Mackerel Cove on Baileys Island. This is a busy working harbor, all year round it is packed with boats going in and out all day. 
I set up on Abner Point Road and had a good view of the wharf and lobster coop. 

It was sunny and warm when I started to block in the wharf and small cove.
Soon the wind picked up, the temperature dropped, I could see my breath and I pulled on a wool sweater(& my wool mitts).  I had to stand behind my car and paint to stay out of the wind. 
At the top of the cove there was a tiny beach and park that local families came to walk and sail kites. Boats were pulled up on the beach.
This small shack sat on the edge of the cove.  I fell in love with it.  It was so old and hadn’t been touched in years. 
Here’s a quick sketch I did of it in my book.  Marker & watercolor 60 lb. paper.
For my last painting of the day I decided to paint a boat that was moored at the wharf. 
Here’s the beginning of the sketch. The boat was driven off while I was painting it.  Typical and not the first time my subject was taken away while I was painting it in plein air! 

This is the view of Mackerel Cove at sunset from Harpswell Island Road as I was getting ready to head back home.  

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Painting on the Run

I paint in oils …most of the time.  I used to paint in oils all of the time… until that trip when the weather was really, really bad and there was no place to set up out of the wind and rain.
I grabbed my camera took some photos then dug into my “car studio” and pulled out a sketchbook and some watercolor pencils.
 I designed my picture, put in the color notations with the pencils.
 …and when I got to a nice warm, dry, place I pulled out a brush & water and finished the pictures.  
Wow, I had something and it was my interpretation of that scene …not a photo. 
Soon it was sketching from a moving car (no I was not driving)and on the terrace of a mansion…
Here we are tucked in a corner with our paints out of the 30 mph winds. See we had it all to ourselves…on a calm day all the tables would be out , the umbrellas unfurled and the place packed with visitors. 
From the edge of a pasture at the William Cullen Bryant homestead…
And… sitting in the stands at a Yankees baseball game ! 
The whole world at any time and any place is now my subject –  !  
I got hooked on sketching and painting in the fast lane.
It has a nice influence on my oils and it is improving my drawing and  “seeing”, which in turn improves my painting.   
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The Gear for Sketching & Watercolors on the Run

Here is the bag I carry for sketching and watercolors when I am traveling and teaching.

It is made for plein air painting by Judsons and can be carried as a back pack, shoulder bag or hand bag. It has a flat compartment in the bottom that fits watercolor kits and carries them flat, not vertically so no wet paints run…
It is small yet fits every thing I need plus lunch, a water bottle and bug & sun spray

Here are some of the supplies I carry, custom sketchbook(Rives BFK), water bottle, pencils, markers, pens, paper towels, glass water jar, blue folding water bucket, Koi watercolor paint set. 

Derwent watercolor pencils, sponge, plastic watercolor mixing tray, pen, small watercolor sketchbook(125 lb.), black nylon paint brush holder. 

Homee watercolor palette, medium sketch book (90 lb), large sketch book (9×11, 90 lb.) watercolor set and palette. 

My mixing areas and water color set. Paints are Daniel Smith tubes.  I can carry extra tubes with me but for day trips don’t need to.

My pencil, pen, marker container with contents, brush holder with brushes and water bucket unfolded.

Derwent watercolor pencils (36) and sample of plein air sketches using them. 

The Sakura Koi set with water brush, additional water supply in bottle and sample of plein air sketch from this kit. 

This is the smallest kit I carry if I want to go really light and leave the bag behind. This is enough to do really great sketches and water colors on location !

Here is the bag repacked with the palettes sliding back underneath.   

Here I’m ready to go .  It probably weighs about 6-8 pounds.  The heaviest thing I am carrying in this is the water so I keep a gallon of water in my car incase I’m not in a place to find easy access to water.

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Lands End on Bailey’s Island, Maine

On Bailey Island if you keep driving by Mackerel Cove and go straight you will end up at the southern tip of the island.
It was getting late but I was so close to lands end I had to go and get in a few sketches and maybe a few nocturnes before I headed back up to Brunswick for dinner. (There is no food to be had unless you go up to Brunswick.)  
It was lovely at lands end- it was very quiet, just us and a local elderly couple sitting and watching the water from their truck. 
The sun had set and the light was gorgeous.  I walked around and sketched rocks, land, water and any shape and arrangement of forms that caught my eye.
This statue is out on lands end, in memory of all the lobstermen who have such hard lives on the water.  I have a deep place in my memory bank for this lobsterman.  What a classic. Its bigger than life size.  Every time I see him he’s so familiar…that’s what you do with something you first saw as a youngster.  

 I am so at home in this place. The way the land reaches out into the water, the way all the paths of water travel up into all the bays and coves on the land.   I just want to stay here and set up my studio.  Ok now I have to photograph all the watercolors I did of this place and post them! 
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Watercolor Workshop en plein air at Canterbury Shaker Village

I have a few workshops coming up in some gorgeous places….

The first one is The Sketchbook Journal – sketching and painting with watercolors in Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, NH. 
The workshop is May 22nd & 23rd.  

This workshop is great for all levels.   

You will get a chance to try a number of techniques. Materials list available.

  The setting is spectacular with great open meadows, interesting architecture, and big sky action. 

Of course these pictures were taken a few weeks ago, when we are up there painting all the leaves will be out, the flowers will blooming and sheep will be dotting the hillsides…

Come paint some juicy paintings !  

To see more samples of some of plein air watercolor sketches check out  Field Sketches
You can get all the details for the workshop at  Canterbury Shaker Village
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Making Panels for Oil Painting

I have been trying out different materials and seeing what I like. Recently I’ve been painting on linen panels with an alkyd primer.  I really liked the way the oil paint behaved.  But they are way too expensive for my painting habit so I’m making my own….

I went to a big box store, bought two 4×8 sheets of masonite, and had them cut it in specific sizes.  The guy was great and I came home with a pile ready to paint. We did this project it out side. We?  Marcus (my hubby)  took charge… and wow – two of us did it really fast.

 Marcus is a real professional .  He painted the oil primer on the panels.  Fine with me.  I carried the panels to lay them in the sun to dry. Sherman Williams is 7 miles from my house, they sell the primer .

Here is the drying area.  We had a thunderstorm in the morning so the blue tarp on the wet grass created a nice drying “table.” As you can see the sun is moving fast. 

Ok, Here we are getting a little closer to finishing!

Evening is here , all the panels have 2 coats of primer on the front side and tomorrow we put a layer on the back to seal the panel.  Thanks to Stapleton Kearns for sharing his system! 
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Spring in Cundy’s Harbor

Cundy’s Harbor is a small harbor a little way down on the peninsula from Brunswick, Maine.   The sun was warm in this spot and we were protected from the breeze off the ocean that was chilly.

I set up on the back lawn of the public library. No leaves on the trees yet so I could see the harbor pretty easily .
This is the view looking south down the length of the peninsula toward the open ocean. A few boats were in the harbor.  There were many empty moorings. I did a quick 20 minute sketch. 
Behind me was a dock that had a stone tank built along side it . I think its for holding lobsters before taking them market. I’ve never seen one of these before – no one was around to ask.  This harbor is not busy year round. 
 Here I am starting a sketch of a dock on the north side of the harbor.
Here’s the sketch on its way to being finished, 8×10 oil on panel.  This was it for the morning location. After this I packed up and headed over to Abner’s Point for an afternoon of painting.
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Willek’s Pochade Box

Willek, Marian and Dennis drove up to Maine to paint surf with me along the Marginal Way in Ogunquit.  Willek is a Renaissance man which I sort of suspected and Marian confirmed.  She’s been painting with him for maybe… 15 years?


When we finished our morning paintings decided to head over to Perkins Cove.  Willek went to his car and fetched this priceless little item that he had made.  He wanted to give to me. Here he is showing me how to use it.  
Tis a simple wooden cigar box.
Open it and you are gazing at a palette with a thumb hole.  
Behind the palette is a black mirror with value viewer, a miniature copper brush washer, an adjustable  brace to angle the lid/easel to your specifications, a plastic one hand flip bottle to hold your mineral spirits, a big clip to hold your panel on your easel/lid and plastic wrap to put over your wet paint on the palette when you need to move to another location!

Here is this little cigar box pochade in action holding one of my 6×6 square panels.  Do I love this or what? !!!!!!

Of course here is Willek using his cigar box while sitting on the dock and half in a dory in Perkins Cove in the warm afternoon sun. He’s one of a kind ! I love this guy ! 

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Vermont & Upstate New York

When I take a trip in the early fall through Vermont and upstate NY I’m always looking for some autumn color and hoping I will hit it right. Its so weather dependent. Temperature and moisture determine how vibrant the color is, when it starts and when the leaves fall. Its always earlier than the color on the southern Maine coast so I usually come home and have more great scenes to paint.

On my way over the mountains from Williamstown into NY I pulled off onto a dirt road in Berlin, NY. This farm looked quiet, possibly abandoned, but all the fields around it were planted with corn.
There had been a hard rain the day before so the dirt road was full of big puddles in the low spots where the tractors had driven. This valley was edged with the Taconic Mountains.
When we headed north into Vermont the next morning and then east to get back home to Maine there were maples turning red on route 9 just outside of Bennington in the Green Mountains.
As route 9 headed up higher into the Green Mountains near Wilmington the whole hillside was turning a faint golden yellow mixed in with dark late summer greens.

We stopped in Brattleboro along the West River in the late afternoon. It was mostly green with the fields of corn turning golden brown. The hills across the river in NH were a vivid blue. I love that town and the way it is tucked in along the river with those steep hills on the NH side. I used to live there. It is really a nice community.
All sketches are marker and watercolor on 60 lb. paper.