Posted on Leave a comment

Painting Subtle Grays

Evening Mist, 16x20 oil on panel, The Acadia Centennial Show, The Capital Building, Augusta, ME.
Evening Mist, 16×20 oil on panel. I love the grays that are created by the thick clouds of mist and spray from the waves crashing on the rocky shoreline of Maine. This painting is in the The Acadia Centennial Show, The Capitol Building, Augusta, ME.

I really love painting the subtle grays of late fall. There is a certain mood when most of the green leaves are gone and lovely blues, mauve and browns move into their place. The color of the bark of the branches and trunks of the trees takes on importance when all the foliage is gone.  I begin to notice so much when all the leaves are gone. What appeared to be a heavily wooded area in summer now reveals itself to be a large open field behind a thick row of trees that hid it when they were in full leaf.  I can see the curve and slope of the land easily through the bare branches.

Subtle sensitive grays are mixed intuitively.
Subtle, sensitive grays are mixed rapidly and intuitively by students in my studio class.

The best time to see rich grays in the landscape is during fall and winter.  I’m taking full advantage of the natural colors of the landscape and the specific type of light that comes with fall and winter to teach understanding and painting intuitive color. The students are mixing some beautiful colors and painting some rich combinations in this process.

Mixing grays from a variety of primaries.
This is the start of mixing intuitive, sensitive grays from selected primaries.

Enrollment is now open for students for the Winter Studio Class. It begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.  If you spoke to me or emailed me regarding a spot in my filled morning studio class please contact me ASAP if you would like to be in this afternoon class (2-5pm). If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us please send me an email.

 WINTER STUDIO CLASS

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced
COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2 PM – 5 PM

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

PLEASE NOTE THIS A NEW STUDIO CLASS
REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US PLEASE
PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SECURE YOUR SPOT.

PLEASE NOTE:  Class size is limited. The response was immediate when I announced a class opening. This notice is going out to my email list and blog. I will start advertising to the public a few days after this announcement.  Please contact me if you want to be in this class as registration is now open. Please note: if you are already on my wait list you will have first option to register for this class.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Create Successful Plein Air Paintings II

The western skies at sunset are dramatic and beautiful at this time of year.
The western skies at sunset are dramatic and beautiful at this time of year.

Before I was swept into my busy summer schedule this past June I began to share my story on how I started my journey into plein air painting.  I was a studio painter for many years before I ever stepped outdoors with a paint brush and paints. Painting out doors changed me in many ways. As a studio painter I painted abstracts. I worked with oil, acrylic, watercolors, collage and assemblage.  Outdoors I work with markers, pens, pencils, oils, watercolors and acrylics. Studio painting was about materials, expression and  experimentation, with no model or subject matter to look at. The process was all about paint and form. Plein air painting is about materials, expression, interpretation and experimentation, and I have a constantly changing subject to paint. And that subject surrounds me!

Marsh Clouds. 8x10" Available.
Marsh Clouds. 8×10″ Available.

When I first started to paint on location I kept the paintings to remember where I painted  and how I handled the conditions, not because I liked anything that I painted. My paintings weren’t even close to what I hoped to capture of the scene in front of me.  I used to bring my paintings home and line them up on the floor in front of the couch.  I’d ask my husband what he thought of them. He’d look them over and encourage me to keep at it. One of his early observations was that from across the room they looked good. Only when you got up close could you see what a mess they were. I realized then that at least I was getting the form and value right.

I began to keep track of my progress, took notes and started to make a sketchbook of all my plein air locations. I showed my plein air work to other painters and received some good feedback, then continued on. I wanted to paint outdoors as skillfully as I painted in the studio.

I painted as often as I could. I went out in all kinds of weather and in every season. I painted lots of small paintings and I read as much as I could about landscape painting and the plein air process. This took some time and I painted a huge pile of paintings. I took a few workshops locally. I read lots of books recommended by other painters and I started taking a few plein air workshops.  It was here that I noticed a big difference in the way each painter approached the process and handled the paint. I also noticed that all these instructors were primarily studio painters. I was improving en plein air but felt I really needed to study with someone who was a very experienced outdoor painter. I researched and read everything I could about plein air painting. This was how I found a small group of instructors who were experienced in painting outdoors.  These instructors only taught in the western US  and usually taught just one workshop a year. So after trying for 2 years to get into a workshop  I managed to secure a spot in a 10 day intensive with Scott L Christenson in Idaho and Wyoming. This proved to be a key step in my progress and practice of painting outdoors.  To be continued…

Painting on a warm November day in a quiet, sunny location.

I love teaching my new studio class. We are going deeper into explorations of color and techniques. I love watching my students really gain insights and develop their skills. Their speedy growth is amazing me. They are on their way to becoming good, solid painters.

I am opening up enrollment for my new Tuesday Studio Class. Since there is enough interest, I am adding on a class.  If you spoke to me or emailed me regarding a spot in my FILLED morning studio class please contact  me ASAP if you would like to be in this afternoon class (2-5pm). If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and are interested in joining us send me an email.

NEW SESSION !

 ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced
COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~
TUESDAYS 2PM – 5 PM

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions. There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

PLEASE NOTE THIS A NEW STUDIO CLASS SESSION
REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US PLEASE
PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SECURE YOUR SPOT.

PLEASE NOTE:  Class size is limited. The response has been immediate when I have listed a class opening. As of now I am not advertising this class publicly, I’m only sending notifications to my email list and blog.  Please contact me if you want to be in this class as registration is now open. Everyone who is on my wait list will have first option to register for this class.

YOU MAY REQUEST TO BE PUT ON THE WAITING LIST FOR THE  JANUARY CLASS SESSION HERE.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.
See reports from the field here.
Share good news with friends!

Posted on 2 Comments

"The Moods of Nature" in Stowe, Vermont

This weekend I have a show opening at Galleria Fine Arte’ in Stowe, Vermont.



I’ve been working for weeks selecting and finishing paintings for this show. 
Dusk 11×14 oil


I looked through my plein air work and chose ones that fit the theme of the show.
Afterglow 11×14 oil

I added finishing touches to some of them, while others were ready to varnish.
Moonrise 16×8 oil

I wanted to show a variety of seasons and landscapes.
After the Snow 12×16 oil

 I noticed a lot of water images in this group of paintings .
Red Sky 8×16 oil

I painted some of them along the Maine seacoast and others in the mountains of New Hampshire.
Reflection 24×24 oil

One was painted in a meadow very close to where I live.
Winter Walk 12×16 oil

Another on a deep ocean bay just a few towns away.
Safe Haven 28×38 oil 

I also noticed that I really like capturing reflections…and moods. Twilight is becoming a favorite time for me to paint.  
Twilight 11×14 oil

I’ve never been a big fan of painting buildings. I noticed at night they change into something else. Their boxy shapes merge into the landscape and their lit windows are beacons. Their reflections transport them into another world.
Cabin Glow 8×10 oil

It is this other world that I am interested in.   
Reflection Study 11×14 oil

This desire to paint nocturnes arises from a childhood memory.  I was six years old the first summer I went cat fishing at night.  It was magical being out in a row boat on a pond in the dark. The stars twinkled on the surface of the water.  Farm lights glowed in the distance. It was only when you hooked a fish and hauled it up in the beam of the flashlight did you remember that you were floating on deep water. 
Quiet Cove 8×10 oil

“Day and Night: The Moods of Nature,” a collection of new paintings of peaceful, luminous New England landscapes, by Mary Byrom , opens on Friday, Dec. 9, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Galleria Fine Arte, 6 Sunset St., Stowe. 

Posted on 1 Comment

Painting Big from Field Sketches

I paint out doors all the time. Sometimes I’m out painting in the field everyday for weeks, it all depends on the weather and the season. Then…I’m back home painting the big paintings  in my garden or in my studio from the small plein air studies…
Posted on Leave a comment

Food for the Palette

I’ve discovered that painting is an endurance sport, especially if I’m outdoors painting for long lengths of time.  I notice that if I make good choices and eat enough food I’m fine no matter how long I’m out there.  
I change what I eat according to the season. We are having our first snowfall in Maine as I write this. The really cold weather hasn’t arrived for real… yet. 
Back Road Field Study 8×16 watercolor
This morning I changed my breakfast to my cold weather menu.  I had a huge cup of steaming hot decaf coffee and a slice of baked oatmeal. Yum !  It’s the best stuff ever!  I’m hooked!
I’m trying it out as my new cold weather breakfast. I can have it packed and ready when I have to dash out early in the morning to paint.  
Ogunquit River Field Study 8×16 watercolor

This week I’m doing some big chunks of studio time in-between my plein air trips. 
Carvers Harbor Field Study 8×16 watercolor
 Vermont Pasture Field Study 8×16 watercolor
I’m finishing up some paintings I started outdoors and beginning some new larger paintings from field studies.
My wonderful husband Marcus was home today and fixed lunch for me! I eat the same thing almost every day and never get tired of it. 

My field sketches are so important when I am painting in the studio. I paint large paintings en plein air finishing them on location and sometimes in the studio.

I also paint large paintings completely in the studio using my field studies as the basis for the paintings.
Clouds Moving Out Field Study 11×14 watercolor
For years I was only a studio painter, then I was only a plein air painter. Now I do both. The two have merged and I am really focusing on this development.
Lobster boats in N’oreaster 8×16 watercolor
I have a super lovely studio. It’s all bright and airy. In the summer it’s cool and shady. It is also warm and toasty in cold weather. On sunny winter days it fills with light. 
I travel a lot in warmer months to paint on location so I don’t often get to spend much time in my studio.  In winter I usually paint closer to home so I can work on large paintings in the studio.  
Winter Marsh Field Study 9×12 oil
I’m coordinating my winter indoor/outdoor schedule so I get enough fresh air and studio  time every week…I’m looking for that nice balance.
Marsh Evening Field Study 11×14 oil
I notice I burn a lot of fuel when I’m painting outdoors in the cold. And I notice that I have to eat hot food at the beginning of the day and the end of the day to feel right.  If I eat cold food for breakfast or a salad for dinner I get chilly.  
I keep my studio temperature in the 50’s.  If it is too warm I become overheated while painting.  I’m always moving and walking around when I’m at the easel.  It’s a habit. When I’m outdoors I walk away from the easel to get a view of the painting from a distance.  I do the same thing indoors…I like staying in motion.
Moon Night Field Study 8×16 oil 

Posted on 5 Comments

Short Days, Long Nights

I painted outdoors for 5 years. I did not like painting in a studio once I painted en plein air. I knew I’d have to go back inside one day… so in preparation for that day I built a new studio. 

It is painted off white(including the floor) and has banks of 5,000 lumen lights overhead with a mixture of color balanced spot lighting.  These past few weeks I’ve been in the studio painting…I”m painting large paintings from sketches and field studies; both water color and oil .


I have a practice of doing sketches, watercolors and oils on location. 
Some are very rough.

I stand in one spot and keep recording what I am seeing.


I turn to my left and sketch and paint that view …


…then turn to my right and do the same…


I will walk around and try to capture enough detail and a feeling of the place for me to be able to remember what was important to me at that time. 


I used the watercolor sketches to put together this oil painting. I’m trying for the essence of the place, the soul of the day…its not quite finished.


I do these very quick value/temperature studies to sample colors and see how much chroma the mood will bear.

I’ll do a fast watercolor just to get the feel of the action. These clouds were racing out to sea after a thunder storm cleared out.

A  quick watercolor value study gives me a feel for the simple masses and the shape of things, like wandering with my mind through a place before I decide how I want to depict it. Its very liberating to do this. It helps me to get familiar and comfortable with a place.
   

On location I do rough sketches first, quick watercolors..then I often will do a series of quick 20 minute oil sketches back to back. Why?  I’ve found that if I paint like this I will often have something good from the lot that I can take home and work with.  I’m a real process painter. I do hundreds of starts, 5×7, 6×8, 8×10’s on location.  So now I’m painting in the studio I have no shortage of reference material for these large paintings I’m working on. 

Water colors ~ 6×8’s, 90 lb. sketch paper 6×10, 90 lb. sketch paper  8×12  300 lb. Arches rough 
Oils ~ 8×10 linen on panel, canvas on  panel

PAINT EAT SLEEP for more views of paintings.


Posted on 6 Comments

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!