Friday, August 26, 2011


From the shores of Ossipee Lake in southern New Hampshire you can hear the loons calling from across the water.
It is a beautiful haunting sound, one I don't often hear living here on the seacoast. 
5:45 PM.... Ossipee Lake, Study, 8x10 oil

I hitched a ride up to Ossipee Lake with my husband who was performing a music concert at a private beach on the lake. Last year I went with him to this same location to paint. 
6:45 PM...Storm Clearing Ossipee, Study, 8x10 oil

It was one of those perfect late summer days. Warm and sunny with a slight breeze on the water.  

Scattered thunderstorms were predicted for the White Mountains of New Hampshire and along the seacoast of Maine. 

As soon as we arrived I unloaded my painting gear and set it on a picnic table in a stand of pines near the water's edge while I walked around looking for a place to set up . 

Suddenly a gray mass of low clouds moved rapidly across the lake from the west.  It was a column of pouring rain.  

The sun was shinning where I was standing.  Several large rain drops fell for a few seconds.   Everyone on the beach stopped and stared as this bright double rainbow formed a short distance away.

The storm cleared out in a few minutes.  The sun lit up the departing clouds. 

I set up my easel and sketched in my first design.  This evening I had a plan to paint a series of paintings as the sun set and darkness descended on the lake. 

Planning was required for this. I set up in a location where I had a variety of scenes to paint. 

I premixed some of my colors so I could paint really fast, changing colors slightly as I went. I knew I would have enough daylight to finish two studies easily.

The sun began to drop as I was working on my second study. 

The light and colors were beautiful! 

As the sun set behind the White Mountains I made sure I had all my color groups in certain spots on my palette.  

As dusk arrived the lake became very quiet. The wind stopped and the mosquitoes attacked. I painted faster. 

A big camp fire was lighting up the beach. People gathered around and began to sing songs. The music drifted across the water. I could still see the difference between the colors on my palette...but they were beginning to look muted.  
7:45 PM....Camp Songs Study, 6x8 oil

The lavender sky reflected in the water. Lights came on in cottages across the lake. I took out my flash light and put it in my apron pocket. It would be needed soon. Now it was so dark I was almost painting by intuition. I knew where the colors were on my palette.  I could see the values of the paints and by shinning a flash light on my palette every few minutes I could make sure the colors I choose were correct.
8:15 PM... Lavender Evening Study, 6x8 oil

At 8:45 PM it was dark. All the colors I was using looked like gray values. I painted as if I was making a value painting of many grays. I checked my batch of mixed colors with my flash light every few minutes to make sure I was picking up the right color. A voice behind me in the dark asked "What are you doing? Painting?"  It was so dark he couldn't see the painting till I turned on the flash light.  I put in my finishing strokes and called it a night. By then the stars were twinkling in the sky.
Summer Lake Night Study, 6x8  oil

Friday, August 19, 2011

Showers on Great Salt Bay

I just painted through sunny, cloudy, and rainy weather all in one four day stretch. I didn't care.  I stayed close to Great Salt Bay in Damariscotta, Maine, loving every minute. 
One day I painted a row of large pine trees ...
Great Salt Bay Pines, 8x16 oil on canvas

The next evening I painted a pond and meadows as the sun set behind the distant ridge.
Sunset Study, 8x16 oil on canvas

Another evening a huge bank of clouds moved in and the pond had such gorgeous colors...
Evening Study, 9x12 oil on panel

 I love August ! There is a deep summer atmosphere going on. Even on a misty showery day it is very subdued.

I stayed near my car in case the clouds decided to drop a lot of rain.

It was bright, and the air was thick with moisture. 

The clouds moved steadily overhead. It sprinkled for a few minutes. 

I kept painting, laying in the muted soft colors I saw in the meadows, trees and distant ridge. 

Every now and then the sun poked through so I kept my hat on to prevent a sun burn.

By mid-morning I finished a painting of the hilly meadow with the trees.

Great Salt Bay Farm has a mile of waterfront. Walking trails cross all over the property.  I  planned to walk down to the shore to paint, but it started to rain.  

I always carry my binoculars with out they came. They are so handy in a situation like this.

I could paint my chosen subject and stay right next to my car !

I worked on the composition by painting in all the masses of trees, bushes and grass and leaving my lightest water and distant shapes unpainted.

I love painting this way because this is how I actually perceive everything... 

as interesting arrangements of shapes, lines and masses of different colors.

A visitor ! My best friend Libby arrived bringing a basket of blueberries hoping I would pause and have lunch with her. It's not raining, therefore a perfect time to sit and munch.

Then it's back to the binoculars and paint brushes. 

I look through the binoculars and stare intently at the trees. I memorize what I see. I put the binoculars away and paint. Gustav Klimt did this for some of the landscapes he painted. That's where I got the idea.  

It's still threatening to rain, but I know I have go paint at Oyster Creek before I pack up the brushes for the day. 

I park near the bridge looking up the creek at a farm on the distant bank.

It is getting late now and I know I have to move fast on this one. I sketch in the shapes on a 16x20 panel.

The tide has turned, it is just starting to go out.  

I mix a batch of colors. I place the color notes and values, picking and choosing as I go, painting with a large brush so I can get this scene down fast! 

This creek is way up at the top of the Great Salt Bay. It's tidal but the land around it looks more like inland Maine.   

It's almost evening but I still have enough light from the high overcast sky.

I like the feeling of this open expanse of water. I wish I was painting this view on a bigger panel so I could put in more details .

The breeze started to pick up and create patterns on the surface of the water.  Is this a sign of rain coming?  

I put in a few more colors, packed my car and hit the road. I have enough blocked in to finish all these paintings in the studio.  And I'm coming back here to paint in October... guaranteed! 


Friday, August 12, 2011


Great Salt Bay Farm, a one hundred acre farm in midcoast Maine is a treasure! It is located on the shore of the beautiful Great Salt Bay at the head waters of the Damariscotta River. 
There were so many things to paint that I stayed on the farm and painted from early morning until sunset .
Great Salt Bay Pines, 6x8 oil on panel

The old farm house and barn sit high on a hill overlooking an expansive view of rolling fields and the bay.

It is now early August in Maine and the weather on the midcoast is typically sunny and warm. I set up on the farm's back lawn under the apple trees where there were gentle breezes that came up the bay from the ocean. 
I was using my tiny 6x8 inch painting box to see if I could use the minimal amount of gear and still manage to get a painting completed. 

I'm doing a practice run for trips that I am planning which require a lot of hiking.

I sat down to paint as I did not bring an easel with me.  I'll sit on anything available. Often I find a bench, chair, rock or ledge on location.

I was really glad to be at the farm on this warm summer day. The place is magical.

It was totally quiet in the meadows. The farm is about a mile from busy coastal Route 1 and I saw only 6 visitors the entire day.

Three old apple trees are all that remain of the orchard on the hill above the bay. 

I sketched and painted uninterrupted for hours. An occasional car drove by and a tractor mowed hay in a field down the road.

The apple trees cast enough shade so it never got too hot. Little apples intermittently fell from the trees hitting the ground with a soft plop.

The farm feels large and expansive. It has meadows on both sides of the road.  

Late summer flowers were in full bloom.  Queen Anne's 
lace and golden rod filled the unmowed fields. 
Field Flowers, 6x8 oil on panel

 Recently there was a big celebration in a large tent next to the house. 

Late in the day the setting sun and the moist air created great atmosphere and colors.  

The golden fields glowed while the line of trees along the shore turned into dark soft shadows. 

I had to paint fast.  A large bank of clouds in the west was moving in front of the setting sun. 

Thin filmy clouds started to cover the entire sky. 

I wanted to capture the reflection of the setting sun on a large fresh water marsh at the bottom of the sloping meadow. 

The sun's reflection could be seen in the still water for about ten minutes.  

I got it!

 The sun descended, the clouds moved in and the sun was a apricot gold smudge behind pale gray blue curtains.

Great Salt Bay Reflections, 6x8 oil on panel

PAINT EAT SLEEP  news from the road.