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Do you want to be a great painter?

5 NOCTURNE 15

For those of us who paint, who doesn’t want to be a great painter, painting something that makes us happy ?  Don’t despair, there are ways to get there. It just takes practice and persistence and one day you notice that something has changed. You are no longer struggling or feeling like you are paddling up stream, and you feel a little carefree. Sometimes its the location, the day, the weather or the mood that makes all the difference.  Sometimes it happens when you stop pushing to make it happen. Its called a breakthrough. And we all can use one…

Come paint in Maine this summer. Give yourself the opportunity for your own breakthrough in a beautiful place by the sea that you will never forget.

I am offering three Maine workshops this summer.

2015 SUMMER WORKSHOPS

2015 MAINE LATE SPRING WORKSHOP// JUNE :  “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”    DATES:  JUNE 8 -12   FOR: EXPERIENCED BEGINNER THRU INTERMEDIATE  $300  ~ Class meets from 9am-12pm each day. All levels welcomed- beginner to professional. Late Spring in Maine is beautiful with every thing in bloom and long days with lingering light. This workshop starts with a solid introduction to the fundamentals of good painting and strategies for painting outdoors in all kinds of conditions. The workshop includes lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, personal one-on-one instruction and painting on location in beautiful classic Maine coastal settings including lighthouses, surf, rocky coast, beaches, marshes, harbors and picturesque villages.  I will demonstrate my painting technique and students get the opportunity to paint in a fun, high-energy, 5 day class. Students must provide all of their own art supplies, meals and transportation to and from painting sites. To register for these workshops and for an  accommodation list please Contact me.

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP HERE.  JUNE 8-12  “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”

 

2015 MAINE SUMMER WORKSHOP// JULY : “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”  DATES: JULY  27- 31   FOR: EXPERIENCED BEGINNER THRU INTERMEDIATE  $300 ~  Class meets from 9am-12pm each day. All levels welcomed – beginner to professional. Mid Summer in Maine is glorious with warm days and cool nights. This workshop starts with a solid introduction to the fundamentals of good painting and strategies for painting outdoors in all kinds of conditions. The workshop includes lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, personal one-on-one instruction and painting on location in beautiful classic Maine coastal settings including lighthouses, surf, rocky coast, beaches, marshes, harbors and picturesque villages.  I will demonstrate my painting technique and students get the opportunity to paint in a fun, high-energy, 5 day class. Students must provide all of their own art supplies, meals and transportation to and from painting sites. To register for these workshops and for an  accommodation list please contact me.

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP HERE  JULY 27-31 “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”

2015 MAINE LATE SUMMER WORKSHOP// SEPTEMBER : “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE ”    DATES: SEPTEMBER 14 -18    FOR: EXPERIENCED BEGINNER THRU INTERMEDIATE  $300 ~ Class meets from 9am-12pm each day. All levels welcomed ~ beginner to professional. Late Summer in Maine is the best. The days are still warm, the leaves are beginning to turn and the beaches empty. This workshop starts with a solid introduction to the fundamentals of good painting and strategies for painting outdoors in all kinds of conditions. The workshop includes lectures, hand-outs, demonstrations, personal one-on-one instruction and painting on location in beautiful classic Maine coastal settings including lighthouses, surf, rocky coast, beaches, marshes, harbors and picturesque villages.  I will demonstrate my painting technique and students get the opportunity to paint in a fun, high-energy, 5 day class. Students must provide all of their own art supplies, meals and transportation to and from painting sites. To register for these workshops and for an  accommodation list please contact me.

REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP HERE SEPTEMBER 14-18 “CAPTURING THE LIGHT ~ PLEIN AIR IN MAINE 

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Twilight on the River

There are three kinds of twilight.  Who would have known?  Civil, Nautical and Astronomical are their names…I discovered this when I wanted to know the exact time of the sunset.


With my twilight chart in my back pocket I headed out to York Harbor, Maine, to paint some sunset pictures on the York River… 

I’ve discovered that if I set up early when there is enough light to see the lay of the land, I’m well prepared when it gets dark… 

   I wanted the twilight and tide to work together so I would have some nice light reflections.
Steadman Woods Study, 8×10 oil

 When I arrived in early afternoon the tide was going out, the sky was clouding up and things were looking gray.

I spent some time walking around looking for a spot that would offer me a view with water, land and sky and be interesting enough to paint several times as the light changed.

The tide was going out fast. Sand started appearing where there was once water and nice reflections.

I started painting, focusing on completing my studies at timed intervals, so I would capture the different moods…
Sand & reflections study, 11×14 oil

The sun hadn’t even set and the moon was already up in the sky peeking over the tops of the trees ! 
As the clouds arranged themselves in attractive clusters I gathered up a variety of additional panels to paint on.  
It was now “civil” twilight and the view was expansive.
Lobster boats were returning from a long days work.
The light was shifting fast and “nautical” twilight was approaching. 
Twilight I study, 8×16 oil
I set up to paint facing southwest because the light would last the longest in that direction.
The banks of trees and wet sand on the edge of the river steadily changed colors as the clouds and sky deepened in tone. 

The lights came on in houses on the marsh edge and on the docks along the river front.
It was that time of the day when the sky and river surface were glowing.  

Sometimes the water looks like it is lit from within, the color is so rich and beautiful.
Twilight sky study, 8×16 oil

The last boat came up the river from the harbor’s mouth.

As the moon rose, the sky got darker and the moored boats on the river floated like blue ghosts on the surface of the water.
Twilight II study, 8×16 oil

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Dramatic Skies over Maine Farms

One of the great things about fall in New England is the dramatic, changing weather. 
In southern Maine it’s been a sunny warm fall with the trees turning colors in start and stops…
The turning leaves have been bright and colorful in some neighborhoods and dull in others.  Some trees are bare while others still have their green leaves.
Marcus and I went out for an afternoon drive to check out some of the neighboring farms.
We parked at the golf course and I set up to paint.  I wanted to try for a few sketches of the quickly changing light on the landscape.
The Dunn farm is one of those rare small dairy farms that are still in operation. I love this farm!
I used my large Gloucester easel because there was a strong wind from the west and my other easel wouldn’t have a chance in this steady onslaught…
The cows moved in slow motion across the pasture as clouds raced across the sky, alternately lighting and darkening the landscape. 
I moved briskly as I put colors on my palette.
It looked like mother nature had plans for a change in the weather.. the clouds kept building.
Ooh… it was getting pretty nice out there, the farm was face-lit, the trees and cows had nice shadows behind them and the distant trees were a deep wine color in the cloud shadows. 
Late afternoon low light offers such a nice dramatic contrast.  I was hoping there would be enough big sky holes so I could keep getting glimpses of sunlight on the farm.
The clouds got thicker, and soon everything was in shadow. 
I sketched in the outline of the farm.
The cows kept moving in and out of these great patterns across the meadow. I really like the challenge of painting cows, as they rarely stay still in one spot.
I had my panel set up facing the sun, so the light on it and my palette stayed consistent.
I put in more colors as spots of blue sky appeared overhead.
All the great dramatic contrast of shadows and light had disappeared from the meadow.
Hey, that’s the nature of plein air painting…here one minute, gone the next.  That’s what I love about it!
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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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Stowe, Vermont ~ Mountains, Valleys and Farms

Bright colors are beginning to show up in the hills of Vermont.

I was in Stowe last week painting in a plein air event during Stowe’s Octoberfest.
 Autumn Mist, 6×8 oil on panel

I stayed in a lovely 200 year old house deep in the woods on the eastern slope of Mount Mansfield.

The house was moved in pieces from China, Maine….  to this present location in Stowe. The barn was moved here from a nearby Vermont town.


The trees in the yard were turning lovely colors.

The barn has a slate roof with moss growing all over it . It was built in 1837.
I set out to paint on my first day in gray weather. Vermont is still getting more than its fair share of rain.

The four days  I was there were rainy, sunny, cloudy, rainy.

Even on overcast days the barn roofs were a shiny silver color.

The meadows and cornfields had the golden tawny colors of early autumn. 
With dark skies the meadows and farms were bright spots in the landscape. 

The valley below Mount Mansfield still has a few working farms… 

…though it isn’t unusual to see huge barns unpainted and looking forlorn. 
My hosts Lyndall and Scott gave me a map of some great places to paint in Stowe.
The variety was endless… it reminded me of my painting trips in Idaho and Wyoming.
As the rain clouds cleared out I set up to work.
I sketched a view of barns and mountains.
The light changed constantly. Big puffy clouds swept across the brilliant blue sky.

Cloud shadows drifted across the hills and valleys. 
I sketched my design and started putting in colors…
while watching the light change…
…and painting the patterns of dark and light.

This one was a wrap and …

…there was still some sunshine…
…and time to get in one more painting before sunset.

 The clouds were building in the west.
It was looking like more gray weather.
Sure enough, early the next morning… 

It was raining steadily.
Stowe has lots of hiking and walking trails.  

I painted at an entrance to one that was named  “The Quiet Path”.
My painting stayed dry under the hatchback of my car. The temperature dropped. It got cold.  It was a perfect day for wool sweaters, hot coffee and hot chocolate. 
The sun never came back during the rest of my stay…but at least it stopped pouring. 
On my last day I wandered over to the property of the Von Trapps (of “Sound of Music” fame) to sketch and paint along the quiet dirt roads.
In the middle of their cow pasture a vivid red maple caught my eye.
These cattle are a long haired Scottish breed… and very feisty.
  
A bull actually jumped the fence into the road where I was painting. 
He ignored me, and I didn’t pay any attention to him and kept painting.
A friendly Vermonter stopped by to see what I was painting. He told me the bull had jumped the fence twice that morning. He did it all the time. 
Autumn Sonata,  9×12 oil on panel


PAINT EAT SLEEP

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Painting the Landscape with Confidence

The 20 minute field sketch…or how to get a sure fire handle on painting en plein air.

So many  people go outdoors to paint and get overwhelmed when on location. 

That used to happen to me when I first started painting outdoors.

It wasn’t easy being in the middle of my subject! 

Not to mention the wind, tides and the light changing all the time. 



I really needed some guidance. 


I registered to take some workshops with some of the top landscape professionals in the field…only to be wait listed…

Then one day the tide turned. I was accepted ! I went to Idaho to study with Scott Christensen for 10 days… It was painters boot camp! I returned to New England with a different perspective.  

The night after I arrived home I drove to the York River to see what I would do with this paradigm shift. After sunset I painted a very quick painting of the York River.  
York River Autumn, oil 6×12. 

In this class I will share what I learned.
  
The 20 Minute Field Sketch ~ Painting the Landscape 
Plein Air Class
Half Day Outdoor Class
MEDIUM: Oils, Acrylics, Watercolors
LOCATIONS: Southern Maine & New Hampshire Seacoast 
DATES: October 15th to November 12th ~ 6 Weeks ~ Saturdays 
TIME: 1:00 ~ 4:00 PM 
TUITION: $180  
LEVEL: Beginning Plein Air to Intermediate 
CLASS LIMIT ~ 12
INFO: & Registration: Great Works River Studio: MARY BYROM; info@marybyrom.com 
CONTACT: Mary Byrom, Great Works River Studio, 102 Wells Street ~ North Berwick, Maine 03906 ~ 207-676-9933
This class will hone skills and improve painting and decision making abilities. Each week the class will be in a different location (seacoast, woodland, marshes, ponds, farms, village) to learn the specifics of working with diverse settings, subject matter, light, and changing weather. Each class will help you to learn to think on your feet through the process of making choices and decisions of subject matter and design that are influenced by location, light and weather.
This class is for anyone with some experience painting with oils (in plein air or the studio) who wants to improve their skills.  We will paint at different locations and situations that might be challenging on your own. 
We will follow good, solid procedures using the guidelines of the fundamentals of landscape painting en plein air. The more you understand the fundamentals of making good paintings the more you will be in control in the field.
We will learn and practice 6 steps for use on location to guide us in making decisions. We will ask questions, make decisions and work deliberately as we focus on rendering the motif. We will learn to study outdoors, learn to design and to make deliberate choices. We will key paintings, mix colors and select elements to make a good design. 
In each class we will be painting at a new location covering the specifics of the motif, lighting and weather for that day.  This will give the student good tools for painting in all seasons and all kinds of weather. 
Suggested canvas/panel/sizes (6×8, 8×10, 9X12).  Paper sizes can be larger.
If you are a beginner, intermediate OR experienced painter you will gain confidence and skill. 


Materials list provided upon registration. 


QUESTIONS? Email me !  mbyrom@maine.rr.com

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Pierce Island

Pierce Island is a small island in the Piscataqua River that belongs to the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Piscataqua River has some of the fastest tidal currents of any river on the eastern coast of the U.S.
Bridges  4×6 watercolor

The island looks across the river at Badger’s Island and Seavey’s Island in Kittery, Maine which were the homes of famous shipyards that built fleets of clipper ships. When I first moved to the seacoast I lived in a house in a tiny, quiet neighborhood on Badger’s Island.  
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is on Seavey’s Island.  It is a hub of activity where they repair submarines. 

Pierce Island is a quiet place on a busy harbor. It has walking trails, picnic areas, a swimming pool, a boat launch and the state wharf. 

Wild roses grow in profusion all over the island.

It’s July so the rose hips are ripe. They are high in vitamin c and make the best jam and tea! 

Plein Air Painters of Maine were meeting on the island to paint for the day. I found a  parking spot right on the river front.  My good friend Ellen arrived and set up to paint near me. 
It was overcast with fast moving clouds heading out to sea. The weather report predicted thunder storms. I stayed close to my car to paint. Everyone who sees my car loves to look in it at all my painting gear. It looks like a treasure chest to them.  
Ellen was painting in pastels. What a different set up than mine ! She needs different types of pastels and a variety of colors.  She has all these boxes of colors she brings. She sets them up on a small table.
She showed me how she sketched in her design and the types of pastels she used for sketching.
I was painting with a limited palette of lemon yellow, medium red, ultramarine blue, burnt sienna and white. I premixed all my color groups before I started to paint.
The sun broke through the cloud cover every now and then. The tide was going out and the light was changing drastically.
  Ellen was laying down areas of different colors, then blending them together with her fingers.
I moved my easel and palette into the shade so I could see the colors I was mixing accurately.  
The sun was out, it became warm and I loaned Ellen my hat. It was actually getting hot !
After she placed in her foreground Ellen drew in the placement of the bridges. Wow, what a different approach with this dry medium. She drew right on top of all the other colors.
I can’t do that easily with wet oil paint. 
I have to wait for it to set up or use something to speed up the drying time. 
The tide was now all the way out and the Memorial Bridge opened up to the top. People watching were getting excited hoping a big ship would come through.  
 When I lived on Badger’s Island I used to watch ships come and go all the time. I could  look out my  kitchen window and a ship bigger than a five story building would go by. I got used to it. It was part of life on an island in a busy harbor. 
Three Bridges 6×12 oil

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Ten Weeks of Color! Starts March 1st

Ten week Color class starts Tuesday, March 1st.  6-9 PM.  All levels welcome. Beginner through Advanced.  All Mediums ~ Oils, pastels, acrylics, watercolors – any medium that uses color.  A Small class for individual attention.
Color is mood, feeling, cold, warm, bright, dark, light, dim, weak, strong…it can mean a number of things and evoke many feelings… learn how to see and handle color. 


Learn about color relationships and how you can develop an eye for color.

Learn how to mix color.
Work with hue, chroma, and value….


…warms, cools, analogous and complimentary…

Gain an understanding of the strength of color gamuts.

Work with harmonious color.


Learn to mix clean colors and beautiful grays.

Vaughn Island Fog 
6×8, colored pencil, gray marker, watercolors on Rives BFK

10 Week Class   $295 


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These Old Houses

We had a true Nor’easter yesterday and it delivered piles of fresh snow and a sunny, quiet day today.
Nothing beats snow for the best plein air experience.  On a clear day the air is crisp…
…the shadows are blue and the snow is a brilliant warm white.
I headed over to Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth, NH to meet to friends who wanted to paint old buildings in winter light. The collection of old buildings in Strawberry Banke is excellent! 
Meet Chris Volpe and Todd Bonita!… who were all set up and in the thick of it when I arrived.  It was about 20 degrees. These guys were set up painting in the shade as if it was a summer day!   
Todd was painting a view of a small building in a sunlit patch of snow that was rapidly being swallowed by the shadow of a big house.  He was measuring carefully to make sure his drawing and perspective were correct.

Today was the first day of a trial run for a new plein air set up, a Julian half size french easel.
It was a second hand special and missing the palette.  This is the new replacement palette a woodworker at the Button Factory made.  It is very handsome.
Todd used a neat custom made maul stick to get his lines straight on the edge of the building and windows. Don Demers was the artist who passed on this neat idea. Its great to learn and see these unique tools painters use. 
While these guys were painting I was walking around sketching a number of views…

And I dropped into the Banks Gallery up the street near us to see the contemporary American paintings and talk to Jamie the owner.
We had very nice visitors pause on their way through the lane. The Museum is closed until spring.  Many people in the neighborhood enjoy walking through the quiet lanes. 
The afternoon sped by and soon the whole area was in shadow.  The sun was dropping below the horizon and it was beginning to get chilly.  Todd put the last notes on his sketch.
The sky became a peachy color after sunset and the half moon and stars came out.  It was a nice ending to the first plein air outing of the new year.  
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Friendship Skiff

This small boat in the crowded harbor at Friendship looked like a good thing to anchor the view.  It was getting dark so I had to move fast.