I'm teaching a plein air painting class in Nashville, TN April 5-8 through the Chestnut Group. This is a great organization of landscape painters who are working to preserve land in Tennessee. My class will focus on improving your plein air painting by teaching you to be smarter in how you approach a new canvas, and also how to be more efficient in your painting process. These things add a freshness to your paint handling and can improve your sense of color. Each day starts with a short demo and a discussion of a different idea. From there I will have an exercise for students to focus on for the day. We'll talk about design, paint handling, and capturing light through color relationships.
This class is hosted by Chesapeake Fine Art Studio in Kent Island, MD. 10am to 4pm, March 2-4. Follow the link above to sign up by contacting the organizer directly. If you have any trouble you can also reach out to me by sending an email through the contact page of this website. $595 tuition.
Color creates drama and emotion in a painting. In this class we will demystify some of the complexities in how painters use color to grab the eye. We will discuss the ideas of how colors relate, and also apply that to our practice as painters, from mixing colors on the palette, to arranging a smart composition, and then applying clean vibrant colors that relate to each other harmoniously. I find the most joy in my work when I am playing with the layering and interaction of color, and I want to share my excitement and knowledge so you can enjoy it also. This will be a studio class, with a focus on punching up our paintings and increasing overall skills at the easel.
I have a solo show for the month of November at Anglin Smith Fine Art in Charleston, SC. The opening is Friday, November 3 from 5-7pm. I'll have new work from Charleston and Maine, and a few paintings of children at play. I love coming down to paint Charleston, and I'm looking forward to painting and visiting the city the week of opening. Come by the gallery and say hi if you live in the area.
September 17-21, 2018 I will be teaching a workshop in Rockland, ME. We are limiting the class to just 12 students this year. And because of high demand for the class in previous years, sign ups for this class are throguh a lottery. It's the fiarest way we have come up with to deal with the number of people trying to sign up. Tuition is $995, and the class is being organized by Coastal Maine Art Workshops.
To enter the lottery for this class, send an email to email@example.com between 9am October 23 and 5pm October 27. We will acknowledge receipt of the email, so you won't have to worry if it came through. Only emails received during the times listed above will be entered into the drawing. The names will literally be put into a hat, and my daughters will pull out the names. 12 people will be selected for the class and another 20 will be chosen for a wait list.
If you are selected for the class plan to register online and pay your $300 deposit by November 30, 2017. If we don't have your registration by the deadline we will have to pass your place on to the next wait list name. If you are chosen for the wait list, no registration or deposit is due unless you are moved on to the class list.
If you have any questions about this process feel free to email me through the contact page on this site, or email Lyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've been working like crazy this summer, and have work scattered all over the state. If you are coming to Maine, you won't have to travel far to find my paintings. I have a solo show hanging this month at Greenhut Gallery in Portland, ME. I've been working on these paintings for the last year, and I'm really proud of these paintings. I also have a lot of fresh, new paintings at Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland, ME. They have a wide selection of work right now, including some of my favorite still life paintings from this past winter, and some of my favorite new plein air pieces. And finally, if you're heading further north, stop by Courthouse Fine Art Gallery in Ellsworth. One of the back rooms in the gallery is full of my work, and has a nice variety of subjects.
Even though I have the galleries well stocked with new work, I'm still plugging away while summer is here. I have other exhibitions on the horizon, so I'm painting through the rest of the warm weather. In November I'm headed to Charelston, SC for a show at Anglin Smith Fine Art.
Greenhut Gallery in Portland, Maine, is exhibiting my work for the month of August. The show opens on August 3rd with a reception from 5-7pm. I would love to have some of you show up to the opening to say hi. It always makes for a better opening when I see some familiar faces and get to catch up with old friends. I've been working on these paintings for a long time, from city-scapes to harbors and island scenes.
Memorial Day feels like the real start of summer for me. It's when I want to get my garden planted and cleaned up for the summer season. Boats start filling up the harbors in Maine. The lakes are almost warm enough to swim comfortably in. And it's also time for me to start getting new paintings delivered to the galleries here in Maine. Just this week I dropped off a new batch of paintings at Dowling Walsh Gallery, and I left some new pieces at Courthouse Fine Art in Ellsworth. I also shipped some new work to Anglin Smith Fine Art in Charleston, SC. Most of the winter I work quietly in my studio, but as summer comes along I have to switch gears a bit and focus on getting new work out to galleries. Every year this delivery of new paintings comes with some excitement, and some nervousness. I use the winter to try new things and experiment with my work. I'm excited about what I've painted over the last few months, but it's still a little scary to put those paintings out in the world. Now it's time to show them to other people and find out if anyone else is interested in them.
If you are near one of my galleries this summer, I'd love to hear what you think of the paintings you see there. If you're able to make it to an opening reception for one of my shows I'd love to find out in person.
There are a lot of reasons I love the movie La La Land. The visuals are beautiful. The music is lovely. The story is charming, and the performances are fantastic. But I was really impressed by the depiction of a creative life and the sincerity of the artistic pursuit shown.
It can be hard to figure out what is most important in one's art as the years go by. I used to feel pressure to have a thesis about my paintings that would make them more relevant to the art world, and I worried that I should push myself in that direction. My work seemed unimportant because it was only about my own interests and experiences. But after 22 years of painting, I've come to realize that my art should primarily be about my interests. My paintings are an extension of me and I can be proud of each of them for different reasons.
Once in a while in a series of paintings I might explore a broad idea like childhood, or family life, or life in a working harbor. But often I'm just struck by something visual and want to make a painting to describe my interest. Some of the plein air work is done incredibly quickly, but those paintings are the ones that can surprise me with a lively brushstroke or color interaction that I wasn't expecting. These paintings are about capturing a fleeting effect of light, color, or atmosphere. The larger studio landscapes let me dig into more subtle color surprises. With two little kids at home I really enjoy painting scenes that describe how kids play and interact, while also finding visual excitement in the light and color of these paintings. Some of my still life paintings are about exciting color and pattern. Others are about capturing interrupted moments, like a craft project with the kids, or a game night, or a lazy Sunday morning.
The common thread in all of these paintings is me. My paintings are about me and my varied interests. The paintings are about my interest in capturing light, harmonizing color, being a parent, and looking for moments of beauty as I experience the world. I might not be able to sum that up in an artist's statement, and I know my work will be relevant to some and not important to others. That's ok with me. My paintings need to be honest to my own interest. Whether my interests are wide ranging or narrow and shortsighted, all I can ask is that my paintings describe that interest in a more sincere and interesting way than any artist's statement does.
As I think about La La Land, I'm struck by how single minded the main characters are with their art. I love the depiction of an artist's life; the struggle with how to make money in a creative pursuit, how to balance a personal relationship with an obsession with art, trying to describe your own excitement for jazz/dance/acting/painting to someone else, how to handle both success and failure. An underlying theme of the whole movie is following your art. The movie is about creative people, but is also a lovely expression in itself. It's a gentle reminder to keep plugging away and looking for beauty and surprise. It's a reminder that romance and nostalgia and honesty are not bad words, but fine pursuits. It also reminds me that it's ok to be selfish in some parts of my life, particularly my art.
Recently I started reading a new book, The Angel's Game, by Luis Ruiz Zafon. The very first paragraph caught me totally off guard. It cuts right to the core struggle of making art for a living. Selling paintings is a blessing, but sometimes it's a mixed blessing. As an artist I don't want commerce muddying my motivation. Here are those first few sentences from the book:
"A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that will surely outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price."
It's pretty much impossible to be a purist in making art. I would have to create in a vacuum if I want to avoid getting wrapped up in other people's expectations. A friend will offer an opinion, or a client may offer to buy one painting over another. It's hard, but I try to keep those voices out of my head when I paint. I wouldn't give up my life selling paintings and "working" on my art every day, but it can be challenging keeping art and commerce separate in my head. I try to paint only what's most interesting to me. I try to work from the heart.
Making art for a living is a messy business, but the one thing I do take advantage of is the motivation to get in the studio and paint. Whether I feel motivated or not, I do some painting. As Chuck Close says, "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work." It's a nice feeling to go into the studio inspired, but there are plenty of days when I find inspiration where it's not expected. The most important thing I can do is just show up and paint. Painting for a living pushes me to paint on my least inspired days, so money's influence isn't all bad.
It's a balancing act, but if I keep my eye on what's important I feel like I can stay on the right side of the line.
I just got home from a week in California teaching a great group of students. We had tons of fun working on our plein air paintings, and improving the color in our work. Now I'm back home and already looking forward to my next class, which will be at Chesapeake Fine Art Studio on the eastern shore of Maryland in March. Almost all of my classes focus on painting the landscape on site, because that's how I learned the most in my own work. Plein air painting demands a speed, gesture, simplicity and honesty. Painting the landscape on site allows us to see an incredibly rich variety of hues, and I love sharing my own excitement about those colors. In my last few workshops I've increased my focus on how I use color when painting. I want my paintings to tell the story of what I'm most excited about. In recent years, that is often an interest in color relationships, and how they create the glow of a sunny day, or can interact in subtle harmonies in overcast light. As I focus on these ideas in my own paintings, I like to explore them with my workshops. As Charles Hawthorne said, "The right spots of color will tell you more about the appearance, the likeness of a person, than features or good drawing. Make it so that I could recognize the subject from color alone, for color is also a likeness. Remember no amount of drawing will pull you out if your colors are not true. The spot of color that a model makes against the landscape has much more to do with his character than you imagine. Do that and you have something to work with."
This class will be a great opportunity to refocus your plein air painting skills as we get ready for spring and summer, and spending more time working outside in fresh air. If you would like to join us, the class is March 23-26 and will cost $750. The studio phone number is 410-200-8019
I'm teaching a few workshops in the coming year. These classes will focus on painting the landscape on location. We will work on careful observation of color, creating more dynamic paintings, and using clean and purposeful paint application. The key to better plein air painting is learning to simplify a complex landscape, using rich color and a painterly brushstroke. We will start each day with a discussion of a different lesson and a morning exercise designed around that lesson. Each afternoon will be used for painting time while I work with students one-on-one. This class will be a fun way to expand upon your painting skills and understanding in a beautiful environment.
These classes are always fun for me. I have a great time getting to know the students and talking shop with them all week. We share ideas and work hard. It's great to see my students focus on their paintings and make improvements during our time together.
I teach one class in Rockland, ME, each year, but it's sold out and the waiting list is full. So my workshops in California and Maryland are the only options to take a class in 2017.
I'll be teaching at the Debra Huse Gallery on Balboa Island in southern California Feb 1-4. $600. Email: email@example.com Phone: 949-723-6171
I'll also be teaching at the Chesapeake Fine Art Studio on Kent Island, MD March 23-26. $750. Phone: 410-200-8019