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How to Feel Good Fast!

Feel good fast. What is the little thing that makes the biggest difference?

Nature is the best medicine for the soul.

Being outside everyday makes a difference in our mental and physical health. It makes you feel good. Be it sitting quietly listening to the birds or walking, hiking, golfing, sketching or painting it is a positive thing and a wonderful gift to ourselves. Every painting I make outdoors is a gift. I don’t forget how lucky I am to be in these beautiful places and I can look at these plein air paintings to remind me of that great day.

It’s really quite simple… go outside!

I always tell students to get outside.  I think that sketching and painting outdoors have more benefits for peace of mind and general happiness than many other things that we do to make ourselves feel good.

  • 1st –  You slow down and step out of the age of information overload.
  • 2nd  -You give your full attention to one thing – no multi-tasking.
  • 3rd – You immerse yourself in the environment – sniff the air, feel the temperature, really pay attention to what is going on.

  •  Clouds over the Lake – Belmont, New Hampshire.

  •  The Foaming Surf on Marginal Way, Ogunquit, ME.

  •  The Egrets in the Marsh, Rachel Carson in Wells, ME

Find Out More

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Cold or Cozy, Warming up with Gold

The first in my new gold marsh series. The gold is very subtle it peeks through and glows in bits here and there. It isn’t easy to see the gold reflections in a photograph.  Diptych Marsh Clouds 1, 2.5x 6 oil on gold. $175. Limited Edition Prints $35  Available. Photo: Mary Byrom

Winter arrived sometime in the past few weeks. Cold winter temperatures are here along with the pure clean arctic air that swoops down every now and then from the North Pole. I love the smell of this air. It’s so clean and fresh. The temperatures have dropped below zero and my office in this big old house with its drafty windows feels chilly.  Who cares how cold it is? My new studio is so toasty that it is a delight to spend any time in there! This week I’m doing inventory on paintings that are newly finished, waiting to be finished and on my to-do list. I’m finishing several paintings that have been waiting for my attention since they were started on location during the summer. I’m looking at my plein air studies for a new series that I’m starting and I just completed another haiku landscape series.

Marsh Clouds 2 2.5×3  oil on gold . $85  A storm clearing out over the marsh. Photo: Mary Byrom

The new Marsh series is a bit different for those of you familiar with my recent work. They are painted on gold. A number of years ago when I was primarily an abstract studio artist I painted on gold. I was organizing my studio this fall and saw a few canvases with gold on them. I love gold and the warmth it reflects. It glows in such a beautiful way. For these uncertain, tumultuous times I thought it was perfect to dish a big dose of warmth out into the world. So I picked up the phone, called my supplier and had some new gold leaf sent to me. My new haiku Marsh series is painted on gold. In the genre of religious paintings, gold symbolizes eternity. I’m getting flashes of 14th and 15th century religious paintings. If I can fit it in, I’m thinking a trip to Florence and Rome is in order to view some of those wonderful paintings. It might be just the perfect thing to see the timeless masterpieces that reside there.

MORE NEW PRINTS RELEASED THIS WEEK …(7 new ones) on my site on Fine Art America

“Ready to Go” is now available in a variety of sizes as a high quality giclee.

If you wish to purchase prints of my paintings, they are being posted on my page at Fine Art America. You can follow my page on Fine Art America for notification of the release of new paintings into print editions.
A select collection is available now and more will be posted soon on a regular basis. I will be releasing small studies and reproductions of some of my larger paintings.



Class meets WEEKLY on Tuesdays 10am  – 1pm.
The 2017 session will be focused on drawing perspectives, developing design, developing your color “voice” and painting large landscapes from plein air studies.
Register for 6 week STUDIO CLASS here.

If you are interested in joining the class that begins January 10, 2017 and have questions, please contact me here. 



I will be hosting a painting demo, artists talk and pop up sale in the quiet, beautiful time of the year – January !  (I’m watching the long range weather reports – which may or may not help on choosing the date…we shall see!)
I will have small paintings from my haiku series and selected plein air landscapes available for purchase at unbelievable price points! If you are looking for paintings of the seacoast region – you will find them here.
This will be a fun & wild pop up happening!
If you love tiny paintings, adventure, unusual locations and hot chocolate this event is for you.
If you would like to receive the date, location and time of this festive event please click here! 
This event is by invitation only. Get your invite here ! 



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Why do I Paint 15 min Paintings?

img_3401Here I am standing next to the display of my portrait and paintings at the opening of the This is What Artists Look Like” Exhibit in Portsmouth ,New Hampshire .  It was a great big impressive party !  I tried to meet all the other artists but locating them in the crowd was daunting. Photo : Marcus Gale


I finished and showed the big wave painting, painted in the marshes and villages of Cape Ann Massachusetts, won an award for a 15 minute painting and shifted gears into painting the scenery of the autumn plein air season! I don’t know if you noticed but I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog. I haven’t had a speck of time to sit down and collect my thoughts till this week. I feel the crush of summer activity beginning to subside. Its not quiet and tranquil yet, but it is moving in that direction.

It was a gorgeous day painting in Cape Ann Plein Air 2016. Here I am set up painting in the 2 hour Quick Draw competition. I saw a spot on the harbor that was perfect for me. I set up and focused on painting a scene of light and dark patterns across the water from me.  It was a perfect morning. I am a fast painter so I finished my 8×16″ painting before the deadline. I looked at my watch and saw that I had a whole half hour of time left. It was then that I thought well why don’t I just paint another one – just for fun?  That’s exactly what i did. It was so much fun! I painted it in 15 min then headed over to my car and framed my 2 paintings on the hood of my car and delivered them to the museum. Photo: Marcus Gale

I’m transitioning into the palette and mood of the season. Its been a warm October and November (I’m not complaining!) so I haven’t even cleaned up all the gardens yet.  The leaves are almost off all the trees except for the oak trees which are a beautiful russet color right now. I’m really happy with the early sunsets as I can start painting nocturnes at 4:00 pm, as its dark by 5:00 pm and be heading home for dinner by 6pm. So much nicer to be packing up at 6pm rather than 10 pm.

This is the 15 min painting that I had so much fun painting! I really didn’t think too much while I was painting this. I grabbed a 6×8″ panel figuring I could cover that pretty easily in a short amount of time.  I set my timer for 15 min and the paint flew off my brushes.  (I didn’t clean any brushes while painting this I just used designated brushes and cleaned everything up afterwards.)  I didn’t know this painting had received any award till a day or two later when I saw a picture of the other winners on facebook with mention of someone with a name sort of close to mine who was missing from the awards ceremony.  (Ha very funny.) No I wasn’t there. I headed off to the next thing on my “to do” list after the morning paint out.  Photo: Marcus Gale


If you are interested in joining the class at the beginning of the next new session in January 2017 please contact me here. 

Class meets on Tuesdays 10am  – 1pm.
The 2017 session will be focused on drawing perspectives, developing design, finding your color “voice” and painting large landscapes from plein air studies.
Register for 6 week STUDIO CLASS here.



I will have small paintings from my haiku series and selected plein air landscapes available for purchase at unbelievable price points! If you are looking for paintings of the seacoast region for  that special someone you will find them here.
This will be a fun & wild pop up studio happening!
If you love tiny paintings, adventure, unusual locations and hot chocolate this event is for you.
If you would like to receive the date, location and time of this festive event please click here!
This event is by invitation only. Get your invite here ! 



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“Marginal Way Surf ” 4×8 oil.$250 Available. I love painting the late light on the surf as it rolls in and hit the rocks.



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

This class starts 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 the southern Maine and New Hampshire Seacoast region. Register for 6 week session here.

Golden Marsh Light, Study. 4×8 oil $250 Available. I painted really fast to capture the feeling and the glow on the marsh as the lingering light departed. This was painted in a favorite spot in Ogunquit, Maine on the edge of Rachel Carson marsh land.

I’ve been out painting in the marshes this past week as stormy weather was passing through. It was gorgeous. The birds are flocking and traveling south. The white egrets are gathering in big groups in the marsh. They are quite striking. They are large and easy to see compared to the blue herons that blend into the grass. The egrets in this marsh have a funny habit. They like to hang out in what looks like a chorus line on the edge of the water.  I also see a few egrets scouting off on their own fishing. But its more common that I often see groups of eight or nine of them all lined up in a row. From a distance they look like thick white fence posts until they move.

Heading Home, Study 8×8 oil Available. Painted from my sketch on location in Boothbay, Maine.

I like the quiet mood in the marsh when its foggy or rainy. After the busy bustle of summer it is so peaceful. On Thursday I set up my easel near my car so I could easily move it or put an umbrella up over it if it started to rain. That morning I originally planned to paint out on the beach but it was steadily raining when I arrived. I didn’t feel like setting up my equipment in the rain and in the wet sand! Ugh. The last thing I need is sand in tripod or an excessive amount of water in my paints !  After I waited around a few minutes wondering when it would stop I decided to just drive out of the shower. It was a simple easy solution. All I had to do was drive north up the coast a quarter of a mile and I was out of the micro shower. There I had the choice of landscape, painting big surf or the foggy, tonalist, moody marsh. I decided on the foggy, muted colors in the marsh. It was awesome. I am looking forward to all the wonderful, moody weather autumn promises.

Storm 3×6″ acrylic. Haiku Series. This is one of my memory paintings. I don’t look at images or or references. I painted this series from memory. All these years of looking at storms on the ocean pays off. I just finished another series of rough sea paintings this week. I really like painting these. Photo: Mary Byrom


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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Painting Winter & Snow

12.13.15 HAIKU WIND SWEPT.3X9.$85
My haiku series. Another late light scene over the winter marsh. Wind Swept, 3×9″. Available.

This week it felt a little bit like winter. The arctic vortex dipped down and chilled it up a bit. I paint outdoors in every season and that includes winter in New England. Snow scenes are gorgeous and Aldro Hibbard painted some of my favorite paintings of snow scenes in Vermont. We haven’t had much snow this year as El Nino is keeping our temperatures warmer than usual.  I’m not complaining! Last year’s bumper crop of snow is still in my memory and I don’t mind in the least that I’m not shoveling mountains of snow this year. I’m busy painting in the studio this winter, but I emerge at least once a week to paint en plein air. What a difference this is for me! I’ve transitioned from painting for ten years solely en plein air to moving indoors into the studio most of the time. I miss painting outdoors every day.  I had to convince myself to go back into the studio to paint. After all those years painting outside, I really love painting outdoors.  I’m in my element and love the challenges of it.  I’m now trying to reach a balance of studio and plein air time as each complements the other and new work is coming from it. Much of my Haiku series come from my time spent outdoors and are based on my sketchbooks I did on location.

12.13.15 HAIKU VILLAGE LIGHTS 2.5X8. $85
A tiny painting from my Haiku series of clouds racing across the sky in the late afternoon above the silhouetted church tower and roof tops . Haiku Series: Village Lights, 3 x 8 ” acrylic on board.

I’m friends with this hearty little group of painters who love to paint outdoors in the winter. We have a great time when we go out. When I am choosing a painting location for a group location on a winter day I try to locate a spot that is out of the wind and gets some sunshine.  I check out the wind conditions and predicted weather changes. And I always double check with another painter who is as much of a “weather fanatic” as I am. We compare the different forecasts then narrow down the selection till we have the best day possible. We managed to get out to paint all last winter and painted in complete comfort even when the temps were in the lower digits.  This past week we headed to a good location with sunshine, a little protection from the south westerly wind and a variety of subject matter. There was enough different scenery so that everyone was happy and we ended up with a wide variety of paintings. I stayed near my car, setting up my easel behind it using the car as a wind block. The temps were in the high 20’s & low 30’s.  The gentle wind made it feel like the teens. The sunshine was so toasty it felt perfectly fine to paint with just my wool sweater wind and a wind breaker over it.  I was fine until the sun started to dip really low in the west. Then the chill really set in. My paint started to behave  strangely – and shortly after that my toes were chilled. This means I will really have to break out my winter gear and put on the long johns,down jacket and my big Iditarod boots. I do have real winter painting gear. I can dress to stay warm at -4. It’s been so warm this winter I’ve been holding off till it feels like the real deal. Some painters wait till it gets warm to paint. There is nothing like painting en plein air in winter. I feel so good when I’m out there and the benefits of being outdoors in that crisp fresh air lasts all week.

Here I am out on Kittery Point sketching the view before I start to paint. I am purposely set up in a sunny spot, behind my car, out of the direct wind taking advantage of the view and the westerly facing location so I have a warm, sun filled, afternoon for toasty winter painting. Photo: Marcus Gale.


If you are thinking you’d like to improve your painting skills before the warm weather arrives  you can sign up now for the next session. Classes are small with lots of personal attention.
Be prepared for a lot of painting and a lot of fun!
The next session begins on Tuesday, February 16th.
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. 6 Week session is $220.
There is one make up class every session for (sick/ice/snow days) if needed.
Class size is limited.

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Why Painting Outdoors is so Great

Dusk on the marsh. Low tide. A perfect evening in the marshes..

I love painting out doors in all conditions and in all seasons. Why? Because beauty is every where and I am always surprised by the changing conditions of nature and the perspective it  gives me. If you have never painted out doors in fall, winter or spring try it. You will never regret it and you may just get hooked on another season than the good ole summer time.

Now that we are deep into November the colors and the light are incredible.  There is nothing like being out in nature at that perfect moment when everything seems to click into place. I am  an afternoon painter. I love that lingering light on the landscape and the sky. I love when I am out painting in the wide open spaces in the marshes and along the the ocean where the light seems to linger for hours.

A quartet of paintings from my Haiku series. These paintings are the newest ones in my Evening Collection.
A quartet of paintings from my Haiku series. These paintings are the newest ones in my Evening Collection. Available.

New Exhibition !
The Centennial Celebration of Acadia National Park.

I am showing a selection of my Acadia paintings in the Acadia National Park show hosted by the Maine Arts Commission at the Maine State House/Capitol  Building in Augusta.  What a delight!  I paint in Acadia often. It is one of my favorite painting locations in Maine. We are so lucky to have this beautiful place in Maine accessible to all. Details and hours here.


 ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Experienced

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



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I look forward to seeing you!
Lots of love,


PS. If you would like a cheerful start to your day follow my blog where I share little snippets of art and life in Maine.
Please feel free to share this newsletter with your interested friends.

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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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Mud Season

Up here in rural Maine we have 5 seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter and mud season. We have one extra short season that overlaps late winter and early spring. All the rural areas of the New England states share this season to varying degrees.

A Force of Nature, 8x16 oil on panel, $1200. Available.
A Force of Nature, 8×16 oil on panel, $1200. Available.

I notice if we have a few weeks of warm days with freezing nights we have a nice long mud season.  These same weather conditions are also perfect for the maple syrup producers. The sap starts running during the warm days and slows when the temperature drops below freezing over night.

Evening Mist, 16x20 oil on panel, $2500. Available.
Evening Mist, 16×20 oil on panel, $2500. Available.

This is a great time of year for plein air painting. We have the best of both worlds,  bright snowy landscape and  temperatures above 32 degrees that feel absolutely tropical after the minus zero temperatures from a few weeks back. Spring weather makes New Englanders act crazy. This week I  painted without gloves, a jacket and a hat. If I had been thinking clearly I would have worn my hat. I got my first sunburn of the season surrounded by huge piles of melting snow while standing in large puddles of water in 50 degree sunshine.

Blueberry Country, 28x32 oil on panel, $6000. Available.
Blueberry Country, 28×32 oil on panel, $6000. Available.

I’m spending a lot of time in my studio these days. I have a pile of paintings that need to be finished and delivered and a new show coming up at the beginning of April.  I’m organizing my spring/ summer/ fall plein air events and workshops and and planning my summer schedule.  I’m trying to slow down the departure of winter. I’m trying to stretch mud season? I really want to wear my bean boots for another month? Right now it is snowing.  Its covering the field out back, and turning the exposed bits of grass  white.  At the same time the snow on the roof is melting, the puddles and mud in the yard are liquid and the pavement on the street is wet.  Its OK with me.

You are invited to “Local Color 2015 ” the first exhibit of the 2015 season at Bayview Gallery. Friday, April 10th 5-7 pm. 58 Maine Street, Brunswick, ME.  I’d love to see your smiling face !

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To see upcoming plein air workshops go here.

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Thinking of Summer ?

Fall Weather Study 5x7. oil.
Fall Weather Study 5×7. oil. Rachel Carson in Wells with a storm moving in.

I wasn’t really thinking of summer this week . I was just looking through some of my plein air studies from last year. I’m looking at all my sky studies and noticing all the different kinds of weather I’ve painted. After I gathered these studies all together in one place I notice a wide variety of moods and seasons. These studies are really interesting to see in one large group.

2.2.15Bluebery bluff
Blueberry Bluff Study. oil 6×12. A quick sketch painted on Mount Agamenticus looking west.

I find after all these years of painting from life I have stored away in my brain all the many scenes and places I’ve traveled to paint. This makes a difference when I am painting a large painting of one of these awesome locations. This past fall I went back to paint in the studio for the first time in over 10 years. Since 2004 I have painted exclusively outdoors. After 10 years of totally painting en plein air I wanted to see if I could get a perspective on what I had gained from all that exposure. I certainly change my approach, style, colors, technique and brush work as I develop as a painter, but I also wanted to see if there anything else I might notice.

2.2.15across the marsh
Across the Marsh. Study oil 5×18 Parsons Beach marsh.

Wow. What a surprise. I found that I have this ability to really focus and get down to the matter at hand.  Its very interesting to watch how I paint still life, portraits and figures. I size up a situation and work very fast getting in the important elements. I treat everything as if it is a landscape.  I look at shapes and forms first. And I organize it all so that I’m seeing those big shapes and values in a sequence that gels in my mind. In 3 seconds I can see what I want to paint and I can see the arrangement of shapes and how I want to put  on the canvas. Its as if it flies out of the atmosphere into my pen as I sketch it into my sketch book. Somehow I think this is the result of painting a few thousand studies in plein air.  It feels organic.  And even though I really like my new figure group and I totally enjoy the experimentation with new materials in the studio,  I still find that my favorite place on earth is a place that has no walls, fresh air and the open sky above my head.

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A Hint of Something Big

"Evening Clouds" 4x4 oil on canvas panel
“Evening Clouds” 4×4 oil on canvas panel. Study

When I am out painting pictures on location I often get a hint of something big when I’m working. I can be forced  to work small as its getting dark or  a storm is coming or I’m traveling and have to reach a destination by a certain time. When I have time limitations like this I just pull out a small or tiny canvas and paint really fast. Often I paint a series of them back to back, recording the light as it changes.

Low Tide at Cape Porpoise, 4x6, oil
Low Tide at Cape Porpoise, 4×6, oil. Study

I love doing this as its like having painted postcards from a trip. I like that they are loosely painted. This is the mood I’m feeling while immersed in this spot  and I’m painting the things that strike me most noticeably at that moment.

" Harbor Islands", 4x5 oil
” Harbor Islands”, 4×5 oil. Study

We are now in the middle of winter here in Maine. This year it feels like  we are actually living in the tundra ! Its been snowing almost three times a week for the past several weeks and when its not snowing the temperatures plunge below zero.  I’m deep at work painting everyday in the studio. I’m painting something big from all these tiny paintings that surround me.  I’ll share a few of the big ones with you and you can see how much I took from the studies and how much I added from my memory of the place.

Don’t worry I’m still escaping outside to paint in the snow. The open sky is still the favorite roof over my head at any chosen moment. I should have been born a cowboy or a sheep herder living in one of those tiny wagons, sleeping out in the big open spaces under the stars. Or maybe I was one and that’s why I want to paint outdoors so much !