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The New Year Focus

This is a tiny painting of late afternoon out in the marsh. We’ve had a little snow so everything has a nice bright reflective icing on it. Snow doesn’t last long in the marshes as the salt air seems to melt it. Only if its very cold and its very deep will it last for long. From my Haiku Series: Evening Clouds, 3 x 5 ” acrylic on board. Available.

Happy New year everyone! I hope you had a great holiday and that you are ready for the new year. I’m never ready for it!  How long will it take me to write “2016” correctly when I’ve finally gotten used to writing “2015”?  Time flies by too quickly for my taste. I like to linger and absorb things rather than rush through everything. I may be a fast painter but that is the result of lots of long leisurely observation. I noticed that if I am painting in a different climate or “strange landscape” as I call it, I don’t paint in my usual way. That is a result of not having had the leisurely time to observe and experience the essence of a place.  Its like styles of vacationing – some people like to take a trip and go from place to place on a tour.  I discovered that I actually like to go somewhere and hang out and immerse myself in a place/culture/country and get to know it a bit.

“Hanging out” has really made it easier for me to paint.  All those years of looking around in every season, under all kinds of lighting conditions and in every manner of weather has paid off.  I totally understand why some artists paint the same subject many times. I never tire of wandering in the marshes or along the seacoast. It is different every day.  Today was a day where I had a little bit of time in-between appointments. I was near the marshes and the seacoast. I remembered I was going out to paint later this week,  so I spent my entire hour looking at the snow conditions on the marshes and the rock ledges along the coast.  What a difference a little snow makes!  And now I know exactly where I am heading when I go out to paint later this week.  And I know precisely the warm clothing and extra gear I will bring along. The wind was shockingly cold as it blew in off the ocean this morning. It finally really feels like winter. The streets were deserted, the air was crisp and clean, and I could park anywhere I wanted to.  It made my cheeks rosy and put a smile on my face.

A stiff wind on the beach in the off season is part of the territory of fall/winter/spring painting. My Gloucester easel is the best easel I have for painting in a heavy wind. It is incredibly stable. I use it when I work on large paintings and when there is a steady strong wind to deal with. Photo: Marcus Gale.


I have 1 opening left in the New Studio Class.
The first session begins on Tuesday, January 5th, 2pm-5pm.
If you would like to join this studio class please contact me.  If you work with oils, watercolors, gouache or acrylics and want to gain some solid skills, comfort in your chosen medium and rapid improvement this is the class for you.

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

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.

I look forward to seeing you!

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Late Summer in Maine

Late afternoon light on the cottages on the Nubble. No wind, big surf and perfect temperatures. A fine day
Late afternoon light shines on the cottages on the Nubble. It was a great evening to sketch, paint while listening to a concert in the gazebo. No wind, big surf and perfect temperatures. A fine late summer day.

Late summer in Maine has this special feeling. This past week the temperature was warm in the day and cool at night. The heavy humidity of the dog days of summer is gone. The air is dryer and  fresh, sweeping down from the northern forests of Canada on the jet stream.  There is this lingering feeling of the laziness of summer yet a crispness to the blue sky. Its the perfect time to paint in Maine. The air is so clean and fresh right now and the skies are an amazing, shocking blue.  I saw my first flock of geese heading south this week through the early morning fog.  We know autumn is knocking at the door…

Now is the perfect time to get out and paint ! Come and paint with the Brush & Sketch Club! Details here. The Brush & Sketch Club will be painting on location till Oct 28th.

NEW STUDIO CLASS ! I am now registering students for a new studio class I am starting in October.  There will be a limit on the number of students. 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.

Share the good news with your friends!

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Summer in Maine

Kittery Point Plein air
A bit of the rocky coast. A small plein air demo of wild sweet peas, rocks and pines painted on Kittery Point, Maine. 6×8 oil on panel.

Summer in Maine is at a full tilt boogie. We are in the midst of the dog days of summer where the muggy, hot, humid temps are hitting the high 80’s and low 90’s. In August? That’s shocking when normal highs this week are usually in the low 80’s.  It does cool down at night and it might feel like early autumn in couple of weeks. This week its perfect for plein air painting, swimming, drinking iced tea and eating ice cream. (And not necessarily in that order) If you want to come out and paint with me  check the schedule here.

Join my email list for the latest scoop.

See reports from the field here.

Share the good news with your friends!


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Deep Summer

Jane Ramsey on the Beachmere Inn lawn drawing as she starts her watercolor painting.
Jane Ramsey and I setting up to paint on the lawn above the Marginal Way. Ogunquit, ME

My annual summer artist residency is in an awesome place . The Beachmere Inn has the most incredible views of the Marginal Way and Ogunquit Beach. I love the view of the coast from their front lawn. The skies are amazing. The sound of the surf against the rocks makes you want summer to last forever.

If you are thinking of coming out to paint this summer  you are still practicing in your back yard  (to make yourself comfortable) before you head out, come have some fun and do it with some like minded souls. Join the Brush & Sketch Club here.

For first dibs on everything join the email list here.


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What is the Brush and Sketch Club?

painting class
Students painting at Brave Boat Harbor, York, Maine.

What is the Brush and Sketch Club?

The Brush and Sketch Club is an ongoing plein air class practiced in a wide variety of mediums. Each class session lasts 3 hours. We meet at a different location for each class.  Student may work in any medium wet or dry, painting or sketching, with a plein air easel and paint kit or with just a sketchbook, some pencils or markers, some watercolors and a folding chair.

painting class 2
Student painting at Hamilton House, South Berwick, ME.

How does the club  work?

It works like your favorite yoga class. You can purchase a block of 5 classes ($180) and use them on any day a class session is scheduled.  Or if you just feel like trying out a class or being spontaneous and dropping in at the last minute you can pay for a single class.($45)

Me painting and demoing in Kittery Point, ME.

When does the club meet?

Summer and Fall Class sessions are:

Mondays 3-6pm.  June 15th – October 26th.

Wednesdays 3-6pm ~  June 24th, July 1,8, 29th, August 5th – October 28th


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How to Create Successful Plein Air Paintings

Painting the marsh in Ogunquit, Maine. Oil on panel. 15×30. Available at Beth Ellis Cove Gallery.

I was thinking the other day about how to create successful plein air paintings. When I first went outdoors to paint in 2004 painting the landscape was overwhelming to me.  I would  think about what I saw and what I would choose to paint.  I remember I would be in these gorgeous, awesome places and when I got home the painting wouldn’t even look close to the beauty that I had experienced. It looked like a struggle of paint on a panel. I was painting a picture of my struggle to paint in plein air, not the beauty that was in front of me. I decided I wanted to have more control over the painting and not get over whelmed by the elements.  This idea and a process I went through helped me improve my plein air paintings and reach a certain level accomplishment.

O beach
“Infinity” oil on panel. 11×14″ Plein air on Ogunquit Beach. Available at The Beth Ellis Cove Gallery.

At a gallery opening on Friday night a studio painter shared with me how she is always struggling when she goes out to paint en plein air. As I listened to her I remembered the time when I had my “plein air break through” and no longer struggled while painting en plein air. It had to do with a series of plein air painting experiences and a change that occurred in my thinking.

When I first  painted outdoors it was in the winter.  I had so many failures. I  pretty much had to learn plein air painting on my own. There seemed to be a shortage of plein air painting instructors in New England in the winter. I didn’t have any real guidance. As time went by I had fewer failures but couldn’t really see a method or pattern to my success. I decided I was going to learn how to create successful plein air paintings.  I was going to strategically try specific things to get me on the right track.

Late Light, oil, 4×8 $250. Available here.

The first thing I did was research lots of painters to find one who was accomplished at painting outdoors.  The second step was to find one who offered instruction in plein air painting. It was difficult. Only a few artists offered instruction in plein air painting and most of those were far away in the western states and only offered one workshop a year. I was wait-listed trying to get into workshops that were filled. To be continued….

If you are interested in painting outdoors and learning how to really get good at it join the BRUSH & SKETCH CLUB click here.


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Painting in Fog

K fog setupIt was a clear, hot, sunny afternoon when I headed over to the beach. Little did I suspect I would soon be painting in fog !  The high tide was coming in bringing in cold sea water.  A bank of fog floated above the chilly water.

fog scene kbunkThe air was dense, cold and wet. Water beaded on my palette.  Birds, trees and houses appeared and disappeared into the fog. The sun floated in and out. It was gorgeous and peaceful.

InletK beachThere was no wind, but the clouds of fog kept rolling in. As soon as the tide turned and started to go out the fog disappeared as rapidly as it appeared.

An hour later everything was crystal clear with a glowing, golden, pink sunset.

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Ocean Park, Maine Plein Air

Ocean Park, Maine hosted a Plein Air Festival this past week. What a surprise it was for me to paint in a new location near my home that I’ve never heard of or visited before. op mary painting I painted in the marshes, in the village, on the beach and the fireworks at night.op 2 paintings on the beach It was a pleasure meeting the residents who love this place.

It is so mellow in Ocean Park you would think it was the 1950’s.  Everyone has summered here for generations or married into a family that has been here for generations. You would only know about OP if you met someone who lived here.

It is part of the Chautauqua Institute. It has a beach, a village center, historic buildings (1800’s), woodlands and marshes.OP beach houses

The beach is edged with a big dune. Ocean Park is next door to Old Orchard Beach, the only place in Maine that reminds you of Atlantic City, NJ.  Go figure!

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Painting ’til Dark

I just love painting ’til dark. The colors change slowly and beautiful things happen. This weekend I painted the surf at dusk and the July 4th fireworks after dark. It was awesome!

I set up on the huge sweeping lawn of the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, Maine. The view of the beach and the Maine coastline from the lawn is second to none.

I planned to paint small paintings so I could capture the ongoing changes in the light. First, I painted the surf below me foaming over the rocks. A group of little children gathered around me to watch me paint.fireworks 1

Hundreds of people began to appear on the Marginal Way with their folding chairs to watch the fireworks. Everyone was happy and excited!fireworks 2

Then as darkness fell the towns up along the coast started their firework displays. I had a choice of which one to paint. It was beautiful !



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Ogunquit Beach, Perfect Evening

Summer arrived yesterday on Ogunquit Beach, it was a perfect evening. The tide was going out. The temperature was balmy and everyone was in a mellow, relaxed mood.  Children flew kites. Clusters of people played bocci.  Frisbees flew, sail boats glided by and boys on flat boards skimmed across the thin sheet of water left by the receding tide.  Everyone was out for a walk on the huge expanse of sand. The nicest people stopped by to chat. Obeach painting

I headed to the beach hoping for a big showy sunset.  It didn’t happen. It was a quiet sunset with a pink afterglow reflected on the water. I had lots of visitors. I painted several small studies. Here is a start of a tiny one.  I decided to take a picture before it was finished as it was getting dark and I didn’t know when I’d next get a chance. Painting in Ogunquit in the summer requires the ability to really focus! Sail boat O beach