It was about 30 degrees when I started painting today. I promised myself this morning I was going out to paint. It was -11 at 7:00 AM. I worked indoors until it warmed up. Then I headed out to the marsh to paint snow and shadows. Oops, no snow on the marsh. So we went up the road to Laudholm Farm. There was a bit of snow there and some nice shadows. And it was an hour or so till sunset.
I think the big problem with winter is we don’t get outside often enough. It makes you feel good to to spend a few hours in fresh air. That’s why kids have recess. Adults should have it too. When I was going outside to paint everyday in January it was great. As soon as February rolled around I slid back into my habit of diving into the pile of “things to be done.” Now I’m focusing on not doing that. I’m shaking it up and moving plein air into my schedule. If I put it in my “to do list”, I will go out.
This was the last painting I did during the last week of the month of daily paintings. I was so happy to have warm temps this night that I just kept painting one panel after another. It’s so nice to paint outdoors in winter and have mild, comfortable temperatures. This means any temp above 32! Oil paint behaves differently in really cold temps. Often its stiff and acts like concrete when its well below freezing in the single digits.
This past month I painted close to home. I stayed in town and my neighborhood. It was a treasure trove! I had no idea that I would see so many paintings in my backyard. The biggest thing I learned was that this little piece of landscape was always changing. The changes in light, weather and snow cover made a huge difference in how the neighborhood looked. I mostly painted in the afternoons, evenings and at night as that was when I had a chunk of time and I could usually rely on the light being most interesting then.
This night the neighbors had floodlights on lighting their driveway. A car was sitting parked in the pool of light. During the whole month of painting I hadn’t seen this area lit like this. While I was painting the scene the back porch door opened and a couple of people came out. Oh,oh I thought, I hope they don’t drive that car away. I painted the car quickly. They walked to the car, turned the headlights on, then slowly drove it out of the driveway. I painted the headlights, the tail lights and the light beams on the snow. As I was finishing up the last strokes on the canvas they were already gone. It was fitting that this was the last painting in this series.
Thank you all for following me during this month! It was great to get messages from you and hear which paintings & stories were your favorites!
SHOW ~ 31 PAINTINGS IN 31 DAYS : NEXT MONTH I will be having a show of all the little jewels that were painted during the month of January. You are invited to come by for tea & celebration ! As soon as they are all dry I will post a show date !
It was a nice warm night. I went out and set up my easel in my back yard near my studio. I looked at the cluster of houses across the field. I started painting them and the different lights that were on. My paints were behaving normally, flowing smoothly off the brush. It was great!
I work with a limited palette so it was very easy to grab a dark or a light and find my way with my brush around the different shapes. My headlight was getting dim. The batteries were worn out. No problem, I moved my easel closer to my studio flood lights. I just kept painting and guessed at what I was seeing.
I notice when painting in the dark it actually helps to not see very well. Hard and soft edges are easy to discern. If I can see it clearly and it is really bright it must have a hard edge. If its subtle and dim it must have a soft edge. When I paint it that way all the shapes emerge and all these lights appear. There is a beautiful mystery to it all. I liked this view of a back porch light, warmly lit windows and other random outdoor lights. I could see the different lights in the dark but I couldn’t tell you what they all belonged to ! The warm glow, the bits of scattered lights and lit windows were enough to hold my attention in the darkness.
It might be because this is the 30th day of painting with only one more to go, but I broke loose and surprised myself today. As usual It was another day full of things that had to be tended to. I was out and about all day and by late afternoon, when I was originally planning to paint, the light didn’t look very interesting.
So when I got home I worked in the studio until after 5, then went out to look around as it got dark. I walked into the back yard and looked toward my studio. It was all lit up like a birthday cake, light was pouring out of the windows. In the dark blue sky just above the studio rooftop Venus was peeking down at me. High up overhead was the crescent moon all wrapped in a misty layer of light.
I grabbed my easel, and placed a tall vertical panel on it. I wasn’t planning on painting a picture of my studio and the moon. t was just that kind of night. The sky was this lovely deep blue, the air was still and quiet and the stars were twinkling. Distant planes flashed their lights across the sky. I could hear a girl singing and laughing in her back yard across the field. It felt like a chilly spring night. And I was in the right place at the right time.
Little did I think this afternoon that I was going to get home so late from running errands. I pulled into my driveway after 5pm. It was dark enough to know I had missed all the last light and dusk views.
Then, as I was walking around the back yard checking out the different views and looking for a spot to set up my easel, I saw a brilliant star in the west. I walked up onto my back deck and saw the crescent moon shinning through the big pines trees behind the studio. By the time I had my easel, paints and brushes, the moon had climbed above the trees and was moving south west toward the bright sparkling star. This star was so bright I realized this was not a star but a planet. It was Venus. It was quiet and peaceful. No wind and the temperature was still a warm 35. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be outside painting this lovely evening as the waxing crescent moon and Venus were meeting in the sky. Last night and tonight are the only times this happens this year. What a delight!
I started painting just before the sun set this evening. I could see the houses clearly in the rapidly declining light. I knew one thing was for sure. I had to paint the structures fast before they disappeared as the light dimmed. Suddenly the overcast sky was not so gray. The sun must have found an opening in the clouds and had dropped to that spot where the light was bouncing back up into the clouds. I saw a slight pink, then a violet , then more pink and peach. It was so quick. Maybe I saw it for 3 minutes before more clouds moved back in. It was enough time for me to paint it.
I love times like this. The whole scene was warm and rosy. Cars drove up and down the street and people parked cars into their driveways. I could see headlights and red tail lights at different houses here and there. Then the house lights came on and it was time for dinner.
A quick reminder! The special pricing (half price) on this 31 in 31 series of paintings ends on January 31st.
Another warm quiet day! How lucky we are that this is not a sub-zero Arctic January like last year! It started off sunny this morning, then big, gorgeous clouds swept in. Oh, I thought maybe there will be a nice sunset tonight…wrong. More and more clouds came in and it got a bit gray. So I waited till it got darker and the lights came on. When you’re painting en plein air in a short time frame you don’t always have what you expect. I can roll with it.
The focus this month is to make a painting every day. I don’t have time to jump in the car and drive around till I see something I want to paint. Instead I’m slowing down, stopping and watching. I’m waiting till the light changes and reveals what I am looking for. Plus, there is the challenge of limiting myself to my neighborhood. This is all great fun. Sometime I’m surprised when I see what I painted. Not my usual stuff. So this adventure is really delivering the goods!
Today was lovely. A quiet, warm, sunny day before another snow storm tonight. No wind. This view is of the neighborhood from the field behind my studio. It was a race to get the slice of light before it all moved on to the east and disappeared. Skies with clouds are one of my favorite subjects. Because a fast storm is moving in overnight I had all kinds of cloud shapes to work with. The big challenge was to grab them before they disappeared. I really like the mood of these evening paintings. There’s no hustle bustle. It’s all about lingering light and coming home at the end of the day.
Tomorrow we are promised a snow storm dropping an inch and hour in the morning. It will clear out by midday and then the sun will show up. And the temperatures will drop. So I will have fresh sunlit snow to paint tomorrow! We shall see how accurate they are with this prediction.
Happy New Year Everyone! Wishing you health, happiness & peace in the New Year.
I don’t know if your past year has been like this but it feels like time is racing by and I’ve been playing catch up for the last 3 months ! I am finally almost up to date with all the important things on my calendar. It’s been a whirlwind year with little time off. Whenever I did have a few open days it was to regroup or catch up or prepare for the next event on my schedule. The good news? Its been fun, rewarding and so enriching. And I’m being recruited to teach painting in lovely places like Italy. Would you like to come with me to Italy to paint near the birth place of Raphael? Or maybe take a mini vacation to sketch and paint for a long weekend in Quebec City? These are a few possibilities of sketching & painting adventures for 2020.
Plus, due to popular demand, I will be releasing one of my first online classes, “Color” in 2019. The filming and production of this is one of the extra things I’ve been trying to fit into my already active schedule. Also, I will be publishing my first book & color mixing guide in 2019 ! I promise , I will try to post more regularly to my blog to keep you updated on everything. My blog might show up from time to time as a vlog as I am able to post my painting & plein air videos quickly and easily. It’s been harder to find the time to sit down and write. I hope all of you are catching your breath after your adventures of 2018 and looking forward to a enriching new year. I want to thank all of you for your friendship, support and positive messages in 2018. I’m wishing you all the best for 2019 !
Why? Because now that all the summer people have departed we can wander around freely and enjoy this beautiful weather.
I’ve often felt that the best time on the Maine coast is September and October.
The soft light, the warm days, the cool nights, the colors changing and the slower time at the beach makes this a favorite time of year. Everything is more relaxed.
The recent mornings with their crisp, cool air and the early sunsets remind us winter is heading our way. But now is the time to relax, catch our breath after a busy summer and just sniff the air. It’s just heavenly!