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Island sketch 6×8″ oil on board. I set up to paint in the dark as the sun set. I laid out my colors, took out my headlamp and painted a house in the trees on a small island as I waited for darkness to fall and the moon to rise. My plan for the evening was to paint a lot of quick sketches as the light and the scene changed. The tide had turned, high tide was coming in.

This past week I discovered that what I did everyday had a name…the process I go through day after day and week after week is called mastery.  Wow, was that a surprise. I knew what I set out to do wasn’t easy but I didn’t know that I had so many kindred spirits out there on the same path doing the same process. Its great to encounter this.  The four things I do in my painting process are 1. Practice  2. Persistence  3.Patience  4. Perseverance.  5. Repeat #  s 1- 4 over and over.

Full moon sketch #1 5×9″ oil on board. The moon rose so fast I missed it coming over the horizon. It was still so light from the setting sun that it didn’t even grab my attention. It seemed to move as I painted it. Thin wispy clouds passed in front of it in a variety of patterns. I could still see lots of landscape colors.

On You tube I bumped into a series of book reviews about a book by George Leonard titled “Mastery” presented by an artist/educator named Jeffery Watts.  You all know how the internet wander goes…I googled videos on painting with gouache and Jeff’s gouache video came up at the top of the list.  I’d been thinking about bringing my gouache out to paint en plein air so I wanted to see how some one else did it. He had a great video on hassle free traveling with gouache instead of oils (and all the solvent issues).

Full moon sketch #2 6×8 oil on board. The boats were moving all over the place, they were appearing to make big clusters and shapes that were linking together in value as it got darker. The moon was moving, the tide was moving and it was getting dark. It was now harder to see different colors in the landscape.

I also noticed that he had a number of other videos on You Tube.  Watts runs an art school in California and generously provides informational videos of all kinds for students who are looking for an art school/atelier education and are interested in learning real skills, like how of how to paint and draw. This school is filling in a niche for teaching solid skills that most of the mainstream colleges have dropped or trimmed since the 60’s.

Full moon sketch #3 5×9 oil on board. The boats were still moving , the moon was beginning to move in an arc and climb over head. It was so dark the shades of green in the landscape were turning blue. The path of moon light was moving across the harbor. I finished one more sketch and called it a night.

When I was in college there were a few drawing classes that were good but as soon as I started painting courses it was “express yourself”.  My professors were very nice but didn’t offer much guidance.  I was on my own figuring out how to paint. After college I took classes with individual artists in order to learn figurative, portrait and landscape painting.  Now there are a number of schools/ateliers that offer a substantial art education, are vetted and can be found on the Art Renewal Center list. I was really on my own for a long time trying to put together what I was missing. I was painting in the dark often “inventing the wheel” on my own.  It sure would have been easier to have someone share what they knew. Things have certainly changed in the the past few years. And we are all benefiting from it.



Now is the perfect time to get out and paint !
Students are welcome to join the Tuesday plein air class.
You can come to a single class or the full 6 week session.
All levels are welcome. Email me or see Info in the link below.

This class started Tuesday, September 6th, 2-5pm, and runs for 6 weeks.  If you want to attend this plein air class  Please email if you want to join us.   Space is limited. Six week session~ $220
Locations : EACH WEEK A NEW LOCATION –  Beautiful locations in southern Maine and New Hampshire Seacoast region. Register for 6 week session here.


Class meets on Tuesdays 10am  – 1pm. Focus this session will be design and painting large landscapes in the studio.  Register for 6 week session here.


Jay 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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