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Maine Paintings of Big Maine Weather

Storm ClearingThe weather in Maine can change in minutes. Things don’t linger here on the southern coast. Its one of the things I love about this region of Maine.  The coastline in my neighborhood is often hit hard by weather blowing in off the ocean. We don’t have islands off shore blocking the impact of the weather and protecting us from full impact.

I like weather. I like to experience stormy weather.  I like to paint the drama that unfolds before me. Some of my best paintings  happen when the wind and water are pounding. It isn’t easy to paint in these conditions.  If I have done my homework I can paint in almost any extreme conditions. Its that preparation that makes all the difference. Its all about being in a certain mental state and having all my tools and equipment close at hand.

“Storm Clearing”, 16×20. oil Available. $2500. Info Here.


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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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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.

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The Nubble, Motif #1

For class we sketched and painted at a beautiful location this evening. It is the most photographed light house on the Maine coast…maybe in the world! 

You can get really close to it. There is a deep chasm between the mainland and the island. 

We are having a hot July here, its in the 80’s and 90’s .  Lisa got there early and set up right away and got to work.  

Here’s Deb sharing and reviewing her sketches from the past week.

Lisa showed the work she did during the week.

We look at each others work from the past week and discuss the challenges and our individual process before we start painting . This way everyone can get some feed back on difficulties and how they approached their individual plein air situations.  

  The discussion is getting in depth. These students are doing a lot of fast sketches in plein air involving people and animals. Real challenging! Everyone gains so much from viewing  all the different styles and approaches.

The light was changing fast as the sun set.

The clouds and sky were taking on all sorts of great color. Love these long summer evenings! 

Here’s Marcus in deep concentration sketching. He’s working on drawing in these classes as he’s had much less experience than the others.

Lisa and Marcus moved to a new spot for a different view.   We are on the eastern side of a high rocky peninsula tucked down on the lower rocks. 

Deborah working away as the light departs.

Looked like she was alone. Right?  Ha!  There were piles of tourists from all over the world who were very quietly and politely watching what the artists were doing. 

Nancy is deeply focused on capturing the moment. 

Here’s what the audience was viewing from behind Deborah. 

A whole group was behind Nancy getting this view and whispering and tiptoeing around her.  These guys all did a great job concentrating and painting in the midst of all this attention. Its not easy! 

The end of the day. And it just kept getting better even as it got dark.