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Painting in the Dark

Spring Moon Oil, 6×8. Available.

It doesn’t get dark at 4:30 pm anymore. Now that it’s warmer it gets dark at 8 pm. I went out the other night and painted the full moon as it was rising over my neighborhood. I like painting in the dark in warmer weather, the paint behaves nicely. You should try it, you might just like it! It’s nice painting outdoors at night with the melodic chorus of distant peepers floating on the evening breeze. It feels like a very hopeful new beginning. It really is Spring!

Promise yourself that you’re going to get outdoors to sketch and paint. It will be a gift to yourself. It has been raining a lot lately (April showers!) so you can paint in your car or dash out to sketch in between showers.

I fit the sketching and painting into my day after all my class prep work is done. My online classes are such a welcome break to this current isolation. It is fun to see, talk and paint with everyone.

The days have been a nonstop blur for me since mid-March when we all had to stop meeting in public places. I hustled to get my 3 weekly classes transformed into online classes. For my first online class I had only one day’s notice that our classroom was closed. It was a scramble to set up and figure out how the platform worked. I did it, and now we are in full swing!

I know some of you are working full time, but some of you have time available that you’ve never had before. If you do have open time I hope you are taking full advantage of this rare opportunity to do things that you’ve been wanting to do .

If you live far away and have always wanted to study with me now is the time! One of these new online classes just might be a good fit for you!

Stay healthy and happy!

Warmly,

Mary

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Daily Painting ~ Night Moves

2.8.2020 ~ After Dinner , oil, 4×6, SOLD.

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 !

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Daily Painting: Lights in the Dark

2.8.2020 ~ The Back Porch Light, oil, 4x 6.5, $150. Available.

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.

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Day 31 ~ 31 Paintings in 31 Days

Day 31 ~ 1.31.20 Into the Night, oil, 5×7, $175. January only. Available.

A while back the month of January used to be a quiet month, a pause from the intensity of my summer and fall schedule. Now I’m pretty much in the thick of it all year. Still, I wanted to do this 31 day challenge as I knew it would be an opportunity to get into a daily painting schedule and try out new materials, new tools and new paints !

Again today was a busy day, just as it has been all month during this 31 paintings in 31 days challenge. I was away all day and arrived home around sunset. Nothing was looking particularly interesting at dusk so I set up and waited for it to get dark. It was warm, calm and quiet with thin clouds covering the sky. The lights started to come on in the houses in the neighborhood. I watched and painted a cluster of house lights glowing in the dark. The painting was finished before I knew it.

Tonight is the last night of my 31 day painting schedule! It’s liberating and a bit sad at the same time. I want to go out and paint often, like I did this month.These daily painting sessions afforded me precious moments of peace and tranquility everyday no matter how busy my day was. I was out there breathing the fresh air and fully focused, enjoying some quiet time painting.

If you see a painting posted that you like in my preceding 30 blogs, today is the last day to take one of these little gems home for the special January prices listed. They will all change to regular pricing tomorrow on February 1, 2020. Contact me ASAP.

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Day 29 ~ 31 Paintings in 31 Days

Day 29 ~ 1.29.20 Venus Rising, oil 5.5×5.5, $180. January only. Available.

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!

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Day 15 ~ 31 Paintings in 31 Days

Day 15 ~ 1.15.2020, End of the Day, oil, 2×7,$95. January only. SOLD

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.

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Day 7 ~ 31 Paintings in 31 days

Day 7 1.2.2020 Snow Moon 6×6, oil, $185, Special price January only. Available.

It was a busy packed day. Taught a class to a great group of enthusiastic painters this morning then came home to work in the studio and get it organized. I stepped outside around 5 to see the moon rising into the misty clouds that moved in this afternoon. We are getting snow tonight.

I originally planned to paint my house after dark from the back yard. Then I saw the moon over my neighbors house and little lights in the street beyond. That was it! I set up my easel in the side yard next to my studio and went to it. It was still, calm, cold and quiet. Within minutes I was just so happy. It is so awesome to be outside painting in winter. It’s the quiet season. I could hear my neighbor the next block over letting their dog outside to run around the yard. He was dashing around in the cold having a great time. Everything was a deep shade of blue and violet. It was beautiful. Tomorrow is another great day to paint. See you then….

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Summer Plein Air Days & Nights

Evening Skies, 16×20 oil on panel. $3200 This is a new one in my new series of evening paintings that I am working on this summer.    Available.

Getting ready for evening and nocturne painting…

Summer is in full swing. My flower gardens are in full bloom. The long lazy days of summer are here. But I don’t feel lazy and I do feel like summer is moving by at a steady clip. The days are shortening a bit. But only by a few minutes. I am looking forward to the full moon evenings of summer.  I am aware that I have just 3 full moons left in warm weather. And I’m hoping the next  full moons are on relatively clear evenings. So far every summer I’ve been lucky. Its been gorgeous!  During the evening of the August full moon on Thursday, Aug 18th I will be teaching an evening/night time plein air class on the coast of Maine to a small group of painters. Registration is open now. Details are below.

JULY & AUGUST EVENTS

FULL MOON NOCTURNE CLASS 
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18TH
4:00 – 9:30 PM    Fee $75
LOCATION: Coastal Maine, Southern York County
REGISTRATION OPEN: Register here.

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Painting fast on York Beach, where the rising full moon and the lights of the summer cottages create amazing scenes for painting.

CASTINE PLEIN AIR FESTIVAL  JULY 21-23rd
I will be painting in gorgeous Castine in July!
If you live nearby or feel like taking a road trip… the reception and wet paint sale will be on Saturday, July 23rd 4-6 pm. at the Alfond Student Center, Maine Maritime Academy, Pleasant Street, Castine, Maine.  You are all invited !

JULY PLEIN AIR TUESDAYS  an AFTERNOON CLASS
If you want to try out  plein air or drop into a plein air class for an afternoon shoot me an email. I have room for 2 painters.  Six week session~ $227
Locations : EACH WEEK A NEW LOCATION –  Seacoast region. Register for one class here. Register for 6 week session here.

ONE DAY PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP on  AUGUST 11TH
LAKES REGION, NEW HAMPSHIRE

This day long workshop will help the student focus in depth completing one or more paintings on location. This workshop is at a beautiful, private, lake front location. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the subject/location.  Guidance will be given based on each students individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.Fee for a one day plein air workshop is $125. Registration will open up on July 11th. If you are interested in joining this workshop please contact me.

I loved painting this lake scene. It was a peaceful,quiet evening with clear skies and a beautiful full moon. I painted four paintings back to back, until the moon was high in the sky and I was thinking about dinner. Dinner was very late that night. I didn’t get home till after 10pm. It was worth it. I couldn’t believe how happy I was with all the paintings I did that night. Sometimes it all just flows smoothly.

 Mary
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Why do I like Painting at Night?

1 ACADIA
Blue Hill Overlook, Cadillac Mountain, 6×6, oil

This week I started thinking about why I like painting at night. As it gets dark earlier every day I find myself looking at scenes as the lights come on in the streets and buildings.  Often these scenes are something I find boring in daylight. When it gets dark the scene changes dramatically.  As the western light dims in the sky and the forms in the landscape get muted and mysterious, I become curious and interested. I find myself looking into dim, barely lit areas trying to figure out what I am really looking at.  When I’m out in the country away from towns or villages and night is coming on I think about the landscape and what it looked like before there were electric lights. As a child, my family spent Memorial Day at an old home out in the country that did not have electricity or running water. As children we loved the adventure of being there, fetching our water from the well, using oil lamps and flash lights at night and worrying about bears when going to use the out house in the dark.   Years later I lived in a big old house that still had the original fixtures for gas lights. It made me think of the people who lived there before me, how this was the light source for them.  For me there is some kind of connection to history after the sun sets and evening descends.  There are elements of mystery, history and the present that all swirl and coalesce.  And this is what I want to paint.

Here is a short clip of me setting up and painting as it gets dark.

Painting on a showery day in the Adirondack Mountains.

A quick NOTE for you painters out there -THE NEW STUDIO CLASS STARTING IN OCTOBER IS NOW FULL.  If you are thinking of joining the next session, now is the time to sign up !

THERE IS STILL ROOM FOR NEW STUDENTS IN THE BRUSH & SKETCH CLUB. This is the perfect time for plein air painting !  For the month of October we will meet weekly to paint the beautiful landscape as it displays its amazing color and dramatic skies.

JOIN US FOR PLEIN AIR IN OCTOBER ! There is still time to get out and paint and the temperatures are much more comfortable than mid summer! Come and paint with the Brush & Sketch Club! Details here. The Brush & Sketch Club will be painting en plein air on location till Oct 28th.

NEW STUDIO CLASS ! If you want to take your work up a few notches, or have a break through, this is the class for you.  CLASS IS FULL for new studio class starting October 6th. REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW FOR NOV 17TH CLASS . You can register now for the second session of class. (NOV 17th starting date)  There will be a limit on the number of students, early registration is suggested.  For details click here.

NOVEMBER STUDIO CLASS  ~  COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK

ALL LEVELS WELCOME : Beginner to Intermediate

COLOR, STYLE & BRUSHWORK ~ TUESDAYS 10AM -1PM    BEGINS NOV 17TH.

Class is ongoing in 6 week sessions.
Class size is limited so early registration is suggested.

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