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Outdoor Painters Party


It is definitely summer when painters gather under a tent and friends and spouses sunbathe along side on the grass. Doesn’t this look like a contemporary plein air party ? Painters are hard at work and significant others come along for the trip to a pastoral destination.Photo: Marcus Gale.

You can tell summer is coming when painters are out in groups and they have tents to shade them. Now why didn’t I ever think of that? I’m always thinking of what can I do to lighten the load.  I wouldn’t think to bring anything that requires a Sherpa or beast of burden. The plein air painters of the 1800’s brought tents and gear. Why not? We now have cars to carry them rather than horses. So when I painted with my friends Will, Barbara, and Marian this week on Peirce Island in Portsmouth NH, Will offered to set up a tent for us so we could paint comfortably in the hot sun. What a treat!  We painted in the lap of luxury on a soft green lawn with cool breezes washing over us in the shade of a lovely white tent.  Three of us decided to paint the view of the shipyard and the river and we fit nicely into the shade of the pop-up tent that Will carries everywhere.


Marian set up on the causeway with a view of a neck of land that jutted out into the river. She stained her panel and worked with a knife. She had lots of visitors. We could hear them talking to her but couldn’t see her through the trees.   
Photo: Marcus Gale

It could only have been better if we had snacks and ice tea delivered during the afternoon.  I am always covering up when I’m out painting. Sunscreen, long sleeves, pants, socks and my permanent hat are always part of my daily attire. I get a sunburn in 15 min. I even burn in winter when the glare is strong on the snow. I do best in a foggy, cool climate, so the fog shrouded, misty days on the coast are some of my favorite ones.  Rainy days are nice if it isn’t pouring and I’ve had some of my best days painting with acrylics in light mist.


When I arrived on location the sun was baking the rocks. It was toasty warm. I needed my umbrella to keep me and my palette cool and shaded. Photo: Marcus Gale

Can we talk and paint when we are painting in close quarters? Well, that’s debatable.  Marian went off and found a spot  close to the water on the causeway to Four Tree Island. The rest of us laughed and shared painting experiences, plus a few other tidbits.  One of the nice things about painting with other painters is to see how they choose colors, design their painting and interpret the motif.  Barbara painted a large painting with negative shapes on a stained panel, Will did a grisalle on a medium panel and I painted three small ones on mixed media board one stained and the others white. The conversation was lively and animated. I rarely if every talk and paint so it was a challenge to switch concentration, but I was working small so it was easy to finish a painting a thought and then answer a question. Did we manage to paint anything that we liked?

  Will mixing colors after he finished his under painting.  Photo: Marcus Gale

I was happy with two of them and the last one I didn’t quite finish as we were packing up. So I just dashed in the shapes and called it a wrap. I needed to get out of the way as the tent was coming down. What a delight it was painting under a tent. I’m thinking about getting one. It does require 2 people to set it up and take it down. So it would be a group thing but I noticed I wasn’t as tired as I am after spending the day in the hot sun.  It was nice to be so comfortable painting and having a cool breeze refresh you. It actually got chilly late in the late afternoon!

 SUMMER IS HERE AND ITS GOING TO BE SHORTER THAN YOU THINK !

SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSES

THE SUMMER PLEIN AIR CLASSES HAVE STARTED.
CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED.
2016 summer classes “en plein air” are in a groove. Jump in and join us for a session. We are painting at beautiful locations, a different one each week.   I am teaching a new easy plein air method in a 6 week block of classes. This easy method really helps beginners get comfortable with plein air painting and it helps experienced painters improve skills dramatically. It’s a tried and true method and its great to see how fast students are improving.

SUMMER PLEIN AIR SESSION DATES
SESSION 2     JUNE 14- JULY 19
SESSION 3     JULY 26 – AUGUST 30
SESSION 4     SEPT 4  – OCTOBER 11

AUTUMN PLEIN AIR
SESSION 5  OCT 18 – NOV 22

SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE 6 WEEK SESSION.

SIGN UP HERE FOR ONE SINGLE CLASS 

DEMOS  &  A PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP AT YOUR LOCATION:  I am visiting art groups and associations giving demos and plein air workshops. If you or your group would like a workshop please don’t hesitate to ask for details and available dates for summer and fall.

THE PLEIN AIR EXPERIENCE ~ If you like to spend time in nature and are interested in painting outdoors but are not sure you will like it a good way to check it out is to attend a plein air demo. Some people like to paint or draw but feel shy about doing it in a public place. Others don’t have the equipment and want to see what it is like before investing in a lot of stuff they might not end up using. The best way to find out is to watch someone and see how it is done. Come to one of my plein air demos and see for yourself.

JUNE EVENTSPLEIN AIR DEMO & INSTRUCTION
JUNE 16TH    4-7 pm
Location : GOVERNMENT STREET,  DOWNTOWN KITTERY, MAINE
$15 NON-MEMBERS
$10 MEMBERS
Hosted by : THE KITTERY ART ASSOCIATION

This is a great chance to see how I paint and how I design a plein air painting. If you think you’d like to paint outdoors come to this event. It’s a great sampler of plein air painting. After the demo I will answer questions and share experiences.
SUMMER & FALL WORKSHOPS IN MAINE

JULY 9  10-5
AUGUST 6  10-5
SEPTEMBER 10  10-5
OCTOBER 8  10-5

All workshops are in southern Maine in the coastal towns of Kittery, York, Cape Neddick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport and Cape Porpoise. Painting locations include quintessential Maine places including beaches, rocky coastlines, harbors, marshes, farms, historical homes and classic small villages.
These are one day plein air workshops. All workshops begin at 10am with a one hour break for lunch. The day will start with a demo and a short talk on the specific aspects/advantages/challenges of the location.  Guidance will be given on choices of subject matter tailored to each student’s individual painting experience. Students can expect to complete one or more paintings.
Register for a workshop here. Price: $100.

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I look forward to seeing you!

Mary

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Plein Air Painting in Winter

Cloud study after sunset.
Cloud patterns after sunset.
Cloud patterns after sunset.

There is something incredible about plein air painting in winter. Winter is a wonderful time to paint outdoors. Its actually one of the best times. There a magical quality to everything. Tonight everything was still and quiet.  I watched a full moon rise over the white landscape and had a thought… how many more full moons will we have on this white snowy landscape? Maybe March will have snow,  but April is doubtful. Spring will be here sooner than we think.

Painting in softly falling snow on the harbor in Portsmouth, NH.

The winter landscape is peaceful and a feeling of solitude envelopes everything. The dry, cold air makes the stars seem brighter and crisper. Even on cold days the sun is toasty and warm. The light is great all day long with the low sun in the sky creating perfect shadows at any time of day.

We’ve been having a series of storms here on the coast. The snow is piling up. I’m loosing track of how many storms and how much snow we have. I just know its up to my waist in the back yard. The snow is deeper than the back deck, the driveway is looking like a small canyon and its been snowing every few days. The weather reports keep changing.  I can’t plan my outings ahead of time so if the sun is out for a few minutes  I grab my paints and paint nearby!

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The Three Bridges

9 NOCTURNE 20As I stood on the river bank looking up stream at Kittery and Portsmouth the lights on the three bridges twinkled and glowed in the blue twilight.  This was a fast one. I painted this as the last light faded. The tide was going out and the rocks along the rivers edge created patterns in the bright reflecting water.  I was painting from the lawn on Pierce Island and as it got darker the temperature dropped rapidly. “Night Light on the River” oil, 11×14. Available @ “A Pictures Worth”, Exeter, NH

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Painting People, Portsmouth Picnic

couple ports 2Last year I started painting people on location. I really like doing it . They remind me of lobster boats as I never know when they are going to just get up and leave. I have a strategy I use, the same one that I use for painting boats and animals. When subjects keep moving I sketch a lot. I do a pile of sketches with all the different movements the model makes. This cements the image in my brain. When I find one that I like, that is the one I paint. So even if they move around or get up and leave I have a master plan to work with. Plus I work small,  so I can be sure to finish in 20 -30 minutes or less.

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Cherry Cake Downtown

Cherry Cake

Most of you know that I spend a lot of time painting outdoors. This new food painting series has taken me indoors. It’s exciting and so much fun!

I’m accustomed to people stopping by to see what I’m doing at the easel outdoors. But sitting next to me having dinner while I paint?

Music is playing and the room hums with conversations.  I’m standing there in the midst of it all making a painting. Concentration. Focus. Mental acuity.  I start the painting, I build it, I finish it, I pack up and walk outside… then I exhale.