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“Afternoon Light on the Marginal Way” 9×12 oil. This is the second painting I finished on Saturday afternoon in the Marginal Way Plein Air Event Ogunquit, Maine last week.


Painting outdoors is always an adventure. Painting in the middle of the high summer season is often exciting. Last weekend I participated in a one day plein air event in the seaside town of Ogunquit, Maine. This wet paint event was hosted by the Marginal Way Preservation Foundation. A small group of five artists painted along the Marginal Way on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to help raise money for preservation of the Marginal Way.
Late August is peak vacation season for Maine, so I knew that I would have throngs of visitors walk by me as I painted on the Marginal Way. It was a hot day, there were no clouds in the sky and very little shade to be found. I decided to paint in the only spot of shade I could find on the Marginal Way, in the shadow of a little light house on the side of the trail on a point of land called Israel’s Head.

When I set up my easel it was almost high tide. The surf was lackluster, it looked lazy, a bit sluggish, but the colors of the sea and sky were awesome. It was a challenge to fit my easel in the shady spot. There was only so much space to set up an easel without having some one trip over it or try to push a baby carriage into it. I really wanted to paint in the shade as there wasn’t even a breeze. I knew I would be able to concentrate better if I wasn’t frying in the sun. I set up my tripod carefully making sure that the legs did not stick out too much into the walk way.  I managed to do a few sketches of different compositions of the views. While sketching five or six people stopped to peek over my shoulder to see what I was drawing and to encourage me.

I pulled out a panel and began to put paint on my palette. Another 3 or 4 groups stopped to look at my paint colors and see if I had started painting. At this point some children ran up excitedly. A painter ! A painter !  They were so disappointed to run around behind me and see a blank canvas!  “Come back later”, I told them. “You will be able to see something then,” I promised.

After Carol Douglas finished her paintings down on the rocks in the midsection of the Marginal Way, she walked north on the path to discover me painting next to the lighthouse. The second wedding party had just arrived and was just starting to disembark from their trolley. They began to gather around the lighthouse and around us. Most of them didn’t even notice us even though they were standing 5 inches away from my easel. They were very focused toasting and cheering the bride and groom. Photo: Marcus Gale

I dipped my brush into some thinned burnt sienna to start my drawing when a large stretch limo pulled up and parked next to me. A bride & groom got out, a minister arrived and proceeded to marry the couple in a simple wedding ceremony in front of me over on the rocks…. yes, they were eloping. This is how my painting afternoon started and continued.  A hundred people and two weddings later I’d finished two paintings. I kept it simple. I stood in one spot and just turned 90 degrees and painted that view, turned another 90 degrees painting that view. Timing is everything when painting outdoors. I was lucky that I finished my second painting just before a trolley pulled up and deposited 50 guests for another wedding party that decided to locate themselves right in front of my view.
It was getting late, the sun was now out of sight behind the trees when another artist, Carol Douglas came walking up the path after her afternoon of painting out on the rocks. We pause for a discussion and decided to stay and paint one more painting as the sun set. As it got dark we packed up our gear and headed out to dinner.

Frank Constantino at the Beachmere Inn next to his watercolor paintings from his two days of painting on the Marginal Way. Photo: Mary Byrom


A gentle reminder for all of you painters out there who were buried in summer activities, travel, and house guests.
The Tuesday afternoon PLEIN AIR class is starting on September 6th. Info in the links below.

This class starts Tuesday, September 6th, 2-5pm, and runs for 6 weeks.  If you want to attend this plein air class Please let me know ASAP to reserve your spot.   Space is limited. Advanced registration is suggested.  Six week session~ $220
Locations : EACH WEEK A NEW LOCATION –  Beautiful locations in the southern Maine and New Hampshire Seacoast region. Register for 6 week session here.UPCOMING EVENTSJay Goldsmith Exhibition at Discover Portsmouth Museum
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!



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Froth and Foam

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The Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine is a perfect place to watch waves.  The open ocean crashes on this rocky coastline that is a favorite of many visitors to our state. 
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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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Big Storm, Big Waves

We just had a monster storm in Maine with rain & 90 mph winds here along the coast. We had 7.5 ” rain in the coastal plain over night, inland they got hit with heavy snow. The big wind and the water combination was wild! 150 roads were closed in our county.

Two days after the storm departed it still kept sending bands of snow and rain in off the ocean. I went over to Israel’s Head in Ogunquit to paint the surf. This is the surf at the mouth of Perkins Cove as the tide is going out.

There is usually some wave action on the rocks on the Marginal Way. Today it was quite lively and even a bit too rough for the usual surfers. Nobody was out on their boards. It started to snow heavily so I moved inside the car to do some sketches.

View of surf hitting the point from Perkins Cove. This one is watercolor pencil & watercolor on 90 lb. paper.

The point awash in foam. Never seen so much beautiful white frothy foam – made you want to jump in it. This sketch is ink, water color pencil & watercolors on 125 lb. paper.

More rocks and foamy waves.

A big one hits the ledge and delivers a sloppy foamy crash.

After the foamy crash, now pulling back into the briny deep.

The following day the clouds were beginning to break up so I went to Moody Beach and Wells to see what was happening. The weather was better – no sideways snow so I could set up and get a painting in before dark.

It was low tide and still the surf was crashing.

Here’s a quick wave sketch I did.

As I packed up the sun was peaking through tiny openings in the clouds as more of that big storm headed out to sea. Its really nice living& painting in this land of big sky, big water and big weather!