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Summer Plein Air Days & Nights

Evening Skies, 16×20 oil on panel. $3200 This is a new one in my new series of evening paintings that I am working on this summer.    Available.

Getting ready for evening and nocturne painting…

Summer is in full swing. My flower gardens are in full bloom. The long lazy days of summer are here. But I don’t feel lazy and I do feel like summer is moving by at a steady clip. The days are shortening a bit. But only by a few minutes. I am looking forward to the full moon evenings of summer.  I am aware that I have just 3 full moons left in warm weather. And I’m hoping the next  full moons are on relatively clear evenings. So far every summer I’ve been lucky. Its been gorgeous!  During the evening of the August full moon on Thursday, Aug 18th I will be teaching an evening/night time plein air class on the coast of Maine to a small group of painters. Registration is open now. Details are below.


4:00 – 9:30 PM    Fee $75
LOCATION: Coastal Maine, Southern York County

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Painting fast on York Beach, where the rising full moon and the lights of the summer cottages create amazing scenes for painting.

I will be painting in gorgeous Castine in July!
If you live nearby or feel like taking a road trip… the reception and wet paint sale will be on Saturday, July 23rd 4-6 pm. at the Alfond Student Center, Maine Maritime Academy, Pleasant Street, Castine, Maine.  You are all invited !

If you want to try out  plein air or drop into a plein air class for an afternoon shoot me an email. I have room for 2 painters.  Six week session~ $227
Locations : EACH WEEK A NEW LOCATION –  Seacoast region. Register for one class here. Register for 6 week session here.


This day long workshop will help the student focus in depth completing one or more paintings on location. This workshop is at a beautiful, private, lake front location. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the subject/location.  Guidance will be given based on each students individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.Fee for a one day plein air workshop is $125. Registration will open up on July 11th. If you are interested in joining this workshop please contact me.

I loved painting this lake scene. It was a peaceful,quiet evening with clear skies and a beautiful full moon. I painted four paintings back to back, until the moon was high in the sky and I was thinking about dinner. Dinner was very late that night. I didn’t get home till after 10pm. It was worth it. I couldn’t believe how happy I was with all the paintings I did that night. Sometimes it all just flows smoothly.
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Why do I like Painting at Night?

Blue Hill Overlook, Cadillac Mountain, 6×6, oil

This week I started thinking about why I like painting at night. As it gets dark earlier every day I find myself looking at scenes as the lights come on in the streets and buildings.  Often these scenes are something I find boring in daylight. When it gets dark the scene changes dramatically.  As the western light dims in the sky and the forms in the landscape get muted and mysterious, I become curious and interested. I find myself looking into dim, barely lit areas trying to figure out what I am really looking at.  When I’m out in the country away from towns or villages and night is coming on I think about the landscape and what it looked like before there were electric lights. As a child, my family spent Memorial Day at an old home out in the country that did not have electricity or running water. As children we loved the adventure of being there, fetching our water from the well, using oil lamps and flash lights at night and worrying about bears when going to use the out house in the dark.   Years later I lived in a big old house that still had the original fixtures for gas lights. It made me think of the people who lived there before me, how this was the light source for them.  For me there is some kind of connection to history after the sun sets and evening descends.  There are elements of mystery, history and the present that all swirl and coalesce.  And this is what I want to paint.

Here is a short clip of me setting up and painting as it gets dark.

Painting on a showery day in the Adirondack Mountains.

A quick NOTE for you painters out there -THE NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTING IN OCTOBER IS NOW FULL.  If you are thinking of joining the next session, now is the time to sign up !

THERE IS STILL ROOM FOR NEW STUDENTS IN THE BRUSH & SKETCH CLUB. This is the perfect time for plein air painting !  For the month of October we will meet weekly to paint the beautiful landscape as it displays its amazing color and dramatic skies.

JOIN US FOR PLEIN AIR IN OCTOBER ! There is still time to get out and paint and the temperatures are much more comfortable than mid summer! Come and paint with the Brush & Sketch Club! Details here. The Brush & Sketch Club will be painting en plein air on location till Oct 28th.

NEW STUDIO CLASS ! If you want to take your work up a few notches, or have a break through, this is the class for you.  CLASS IS FULL for new studio class starting October 6th. REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW FOR NOV 17TH CLASS . You can register now for the second session of class. (NOV 17th starting date)  There will be a limit on the number of students, early registration is suggested.  For details click here.


ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Intermediate


Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.

See reports from the field here.

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Painting in the Dark



There’s nothing quite like painting in the dark. You can’t really see anything. What color is that sitting on the left side of my palette?  I thought I put all my mid gray paints lined up on the left near the top. They sure look like blue in this head lamp.

It’s a total immersion adventure painting in the dark.  I  just get really comfortable trusting my values to do the work.  Making sure I’m hitting my darks and lights right. And holding down the fort with midtones of the right temperature.

In this darkest time of the year up here in the north land I always promise myself that I will get out to paint after dark. It’s the perfect time to grab the sparkling lights and long lingering  darkness of night that moves into our afternoons. At 3 pm it’s looking like dusk.   I’m reminding myself that this is the mystery time, the time I love and it will be gone soon. I’d better grab it while I can.

On that note after an afternoon of painting in the studio I went out yesterday at dusk (3pm) and painted till dark (6:30pm) and I only stopped because it started raining and water was flooding my palette.  My umbrella was packed away somewhere in the dark. Next time I’ll have it near me.

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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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Painting in the Dark

The moon was full this past week…with perfect Indian summer weather to accompany it… 

…so of course I stayed out late almost every night painting.
Cottage Lights, 8×10 oil 

It was clear that these were the last days of warm weather for a long time.
Low Tide, 6×12 oil

Marcus and I headed over to Long Sands Beach in York, Maine.

 I parked on the edge of the beach and set up to paint.

The summer people are gone.

I painted a beach scene as I waited for the moon rise over the ocean.

 The colors were vivid and beautiful and changing every few minutes.

The sun was still in the western sky when the moon rose over the ocean.

Moonrise, 6×12 oil

The sky was a bright blue for a long time after sunset.

Large flocks of migrating birds are on the beaches now with the sea gulls.

The sky slowly darkened and the moon got brighter.

The sun sets so early now ! 

It was dark by 7:30 pm.

I wear this great head lamp when I’m painting at night. 
I can see my painting and my eyes adjust easily to the dark.

There were lights across the street from the beach but I didn’t notice them while I painted. 

My headlight is designed for cave exploring, so it is very bright. 

The tide was going out… the reflections on the water and sand were spectacular! 

I’m looking all around at night now…getting ideas for the next series of nocturnes.  With all these months of long nights coming up I’ll have plenty of time to paint in the dark !

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From the shores of Ossipee Lake in southern New Hampshire you can hear the loons calling from across the water.
It is a beautiful haunting sound, one I don’t often hear living here on the seacoast. 
5:45 PM…. Ossipee Lake, Study, 8×10 oil

I hitched a ride up to Ossipee Lake with my husband who was performing a music concert at a private beach on the lake. Last year I went with him to this same location to paint. 
6:45 PM…Storm Clearing Ossipee, Study, 8×10 oil
It was one of those perfect late summer days. Warm and sunny with a slight breeze on the water.  
Scattered thunderstorms were predicted for the White Mountains of New Hampshire and along the seacoast of Maine. 

As soon as we arrived I unloaded my painting gear and set it on a picnic table in a stand of pines near the water’s edge while I walked around looking for a place to set up . 
Suddenly a gray mass of low clouds moved rapidly across the lake from the west.  It was a column of pouring rain.  
The sun was shinning where I was standing.  Several large rain drops fell for a few seconds.   Everyone on the beach stopped and stared as this bright double rainbow formed a short distance away.
The storm cleared out in a few minutes.  The sun lit up the departing clouds. 

I set up my easel and sketched in my first design.  This evening I had a plan to paint a series of paintings as the sun set and darkness descended on the lake. 
Planning was required for this. I set up in a location where I had a variety of scenes to paint. 

I premixed some of my colors so I could paint really fast, changing colors slightly as I went. I knew I would have enough daylight to finish two studies easily.

The sun began to drop as I was working on my second study. 

The light and colors were beautiful! 

As the sun set behind the White Mountains I made sure I had all my color groups in certain spots on my palette.  
As dusk arrived the lake became very quiet. The wind stopped and the mosquitoes attacked. I painted faster. 

A big camp fire was lighting up the beach. People gathered around and began to sing songs. The music drifted across the water. I could still see the difference between the colors on my palette…but they were beginning to look muted.  
7:45 PM….Camp Songs Study, 6×8 oil
The lavender sky reflected in the water. Lights came on in cottages across the lake. I took out my flash light and put it in my apron pocket. It would be needed soon. Now it was so dark I was almost painting by intuition. I knew where the colors were on my palette.  I could see the values of the paints and by shinning a flash light on my palette every few minutes I could make sure the colors I choose were correct.
8:15 PM… Lavender Evening Study, 6×8 oil
At 8:45 PM it was dark. All the colors I was using looked like gray values. I painted as if I was making a value painting of many grays. I checked my batch of mixed colors with my flash light every few minutes to make sure I was picking up the right color. A voice behind me in the dark asked “What are you doing? Painting?”  It was so dark he couldn’t see the painting till I turned on the flash light.  I put in my finishing strokes and called it a night. By then the stars were twinkling in the sky.
Summer Lake Night Study, 6×8  oil