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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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Thinking and moving fast

When I am out sketching, I am thinking and moving fast. You might think that it’s a pressurized situation, but actually its very relaxing. I have my sketchbook, a pen, ink and some water colors. It is very easy. I draw what catches my eye. Then I splash some color on.

Watercolors have a carefree feeling to them. I’m not making a painting, I’m playing. So they are light-hearted and fun!DRAFT HORSE

If I don’t like what I painted I turn the page and do another one, and another and another… One of them is bound to look pretty good!  SUNSET 2

And I am relaxing and getting plenty of drawing practice; that is the best thing a painter can do. Draw!

If you would like information on the Art-venture to sketch and paint in a beautiful spot in north western York County at a Victorian Tea click here!

Sign up here!


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Plein Air Art-Venture

You are invited to a plein air “art-venture” session with me this summer!  An art-venture is when I am traveling light and carrying just the essentials I need for my objective. Soon I will be going to a Victorian Tea carrying my smallest watercolor painting kit. sketchbook 2

It includes a small sketch book, a pen and a pencil, two “waterbrushes,” a mini Windsor Newton watercolor field set, a sponge and a bottle of clean water to fill my “waterbrushes”.  This all fits into a small shoulder bag. watercolor 1

Sometime I bring the bigger Koi watercolor kit with me. It offers options of more color.sketch book 1

Sometimes I bring a bigger sketchbook as this fits easily into my shoulder bag and it doesn’t weigh much.  It’s all about taking half the gear and traveling light!

My first plein air art-venture this summer is on Sunday July 20th!  It’s at a fabulous event in the Maine countryside called;  Victorian Tea.

You can find more information and sign up for the session here!


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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



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Lobster Picnic in Maine

Lobster 1Lobster & Lemons, 6×6 oil.

I set up a lobster picnic in my back garden the other day. A landscape painter doing a still life painting?  Well, at least I painted it outdoors in the open air, in the continuously changing light.

Lobter set upFood paintings were a big thing for me this past winter. It looks like they are circling back. I adjusted to painting these square panels and now I like painting them.Lobster 2

Lobster & Lemon Wedges. 6×8 oil

I never knew I would get hooked on painting small, still life paintings of food. They are so much fun!

Lobster 3Lobster Picnic, 5×7 oil

Now I’m trying out a few other sizes just to see how they work. The weather has been perfect for this!

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Plein Air Demo in the Cove

mary demoYesterday I gave a “plein air” painting  demonstration hosted by Beth Ellis Cove Gallery in Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine. It was a mob scene when I set up on the docks overlooking the harbor. Summer has arrived in our neighborhood, and there were lots of people walking around, sitting on benches, eating lobster and arriving and departing in sail boats.mary demo3



I painted three paintings in a row. There were two groups of viewers. The first group was mostly artists and they asked very technical questions about materials and procedures. When I finished they spontaneously burst into applause. Pretty funny!  As I was cleaning up my palette the second group arrived looking sadly at the finished paintings on the dock and asking if they were too late.  I assured them I had 30 min left to paint another demo, so they smiled as I started a third painting.

That morning I packed a good selection of small panels in my gear so I could show a series of small finished field sketches to the group, not once thinking that I would have two different groups watching. That was a first.

demo 2 boats

What I observed during the demo is that some people think it’s easy to paint. They believe that you are a born, gifted genius and you just pick up a brush and do it instantly.  (Not true!)  One group murmured “Magic” when the image emerged after a series of brushstrokes. This session was just a warm-up for the big crowds that will gather next week and for the following 10 weeks. Summer is here and the season doesn’t stop till October !

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Beach Day at York

york beach1It was a great beach day at York Long Sands, big surf, sunny skies and lots of people. I headed over to the beach to meet three artist friends. We had to grab parking spots as soon as we saw them. The tide was going out so vacationers were coming in droves to grab a spot on the sand at midday. I painted small 4 sketches of people enjoying the beach.

Mary York beach

I stayed near my car as the wind picked up and it offered a bit of protection. Toward the end of the day the other cars were gone and I did have to grab my easel as it was lifting off the ground. The temps dropped into the 60’s and we needed to put on layers to stay warm. Its the nature of early summer in Maine!

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Painting Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine

mary painting  Summer is here! Oh yes. The day before yesterday I was painting Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine. The place was sublime. People were drifting about like they were in a dream. It was that perfect.Boats in Perkins Cove

The water in the cove was quiet and the reflections were fantastic ! Did I paint the lobster boats? skiff paintingNo I focused on a tiny skiff. Directly below me. I had to race to get that paint on the panel as the tide was going out and that little boat ended up sitting high and dry on the rocks.  Ah, the joys of painting on the ocean, you know its going to change but you just don’t know what that might look like !


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A Perfect Marginal Way Evening


It was a perfect Marginal Way evening. I headed over with all my painting gear to the Beachmere Inn. When we arrived  the tide was high and the waves were foaming around the rocks as I set up my easel just off the foot path on the Marginal Way. I really like painting at this location late in the day.  If the tide is right and the sun is out the colors are wonderful.


It was a quiet evening with thunderheads on the far distant western horizon. It was still and there wasn’t even a breeze off the water. People stopped to chat with me as they strolled along the path on their way to dinner in the restaurants in Perkins Cove.

Easel on MW

The rain clouds stayed in the distance, they never arrived at the coast. Right before sunset the clouds cleared and the sun lit up the rocks, waves and beach just before it disappeared behind the horizon.