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Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2014 by sebland

LOBSTER BOAT As we drove through the park on our last day, I wondered what I would take away from this wonderful adventure. I believe first of all, the cliffs and trees:

ROCKY CLIFF COASTLINE CLIFFS AND TREES the beautiful colors of the water as the sun shone on it,

COASTLINE IV COASTLINE II the rose colored granite rocks and the amazing mansions hidden in the coves,


CADILLAC VIEWthe view from Cadillac Mountain, the neat little eateries hidden away in the tiny coastal towns:

BREAKFAST BREAKFAST III BREAKFAST II the eagles and the seals on the tiny islands offshore,

SEALS EAGLE II the lighthouses, still functioning.

LIGHTHOUSE and best of all the beautiful sunset on our last day.

SUNSET II SUNSET I As we packed up and headed home, I was so glad we took this opportunity to see a part of America we hadn’t seen. Now I have 689 images to inspire me. I hope I can paint a few of them and do justice by them. So long, Downeast Maine!


Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 6, 2014 by sebland


As all good things must come to an end, so our visit to New Brunswick and Campobello Island had to end. I think one of the most important things to take away from a cherished vacation is the sense of awe – the wonder that our land is so beautiful and so amazing! I encourage my students to seriously plan their dreams – to follow through on those things you’ve always wanted to do! As we grow older, God willing, we will have wonderful memories of parks we have visited, far away places we finally got to see, and those memories comfort us. Dream it and then scheme it, y’all! You’ll never regret it. So, as we drive across the Roosevelt Bridge and back into the United States, here are a few of my cherished memories.

BEACH ROSES IIBEACH ROSES II Beach Roses blooming everywhere.


New Friends: HELEN

 The lovely old churches with a cemetery up the hill, being mowed by a red headed teenager.


  The rocky shoreline and our time spent trying to capture it on canvas:

 SUGAR LOAF ROCK                                         LIGHTHOUSE ROCKS SUGAR LOAF ROCK                                          TEACHER The lovely trees and the amazing colors – try and match THAT green, artist…..

THREE TREES     ROCKY COAST and the lovely old town of Lubec, Maine, perched on the edge of the Bay of Fundy.





Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 3, 2014 by sebland

TOP OF THE WORLD ITOP OF THE WORLD IIIThe last day of our workshop dawned bright and clear. Michael took us to the overlook at Friar’s Head. It really felt like the top of the world. We could see across the bay to Lubec and Eastport, and island in between. He could not have chosen a better spot! TOP OF THE WORLD II Pointing out the lovely cloud formations, he chose as a demo to paint a pastel focusing on the fast moving clouds. He began sketching in the main shapes and worked up a value study. FRIARS HEAD I I have learned that this truly is the most valuable part of plein air painting – no pun intended.

Next, he sketched in the main shapes: FRIARS HEAD III All of us watched, enthralled, as he captured the movement of the clouds, almost as if by magic.

FRIARS HEAD V As his painting took shape, I looked around for my subject. There was plenty to choose from!


Liking the curve of the bay and the reflections on the water, I chose what should have been an easy subject, and began to lay in the masses. Michael said that it takes two people to make a painting. One is the painter and another is the friend with a gun to shoot that artist before they mess up the painting. I needed that second person on this day. I had a beautiful start and I kept on adding detail after detail until I totally messed it up.

FRIARS HEAD XIStill, it was a wonderfully beautiful day, lessons were learned and some good work was accomplished:

FRIARS HEAD VIMichael’s finished painting, Brian’s work in progress, FRIARS HEAD Xand Sue’s beautiful pastel:FRIARS HEAD IX

In such a beautiful spot, it’s easy to remember, it’s the journey!

FRIARS HEAD XII Tomorrow, goodbye to Canada.



Posted in Uncategorized on September 1, 2014 by sebland


On the third day of our workshop, a storm moved across the Northeast. Maryland, D.C., Long Island, Boston and Portland all had severe flooding. Our day was cool, wet and windy. The view from our cabin did not look promising.

The morning critique at Friar’s Bay Studio went well. Michael had several suggestions for my “Old Sparky” painting, which I have yet to try, then we donned ponchos and headed out to Herring Cove. He led us to a beautiful hillside with huge slabs of rocks leaning on the hillside. It was as though a mighty sea god had just lifted them out and rested them on the shore. Despite a windy rain blowing in on us, Michael set up his easel under the shelter and began his demo.

HERRING COVE This was probably the one new technique I will remember always. As he began painting in the main shapes, I was surprised as he blocked in huge triangles where the pine trees stood on the hill.HERRING COVE IV They looked so solid, I questioned him about it. He said that he would come by with the sky color and paint negatives spaces as he saw them.

Shivering as only a South Texas gal in Maine can do, I watched amazed as he transformed those masses into lovely, lacy trees.


The others gritted their teeth, found shelter as they could and began working. My mama didn’t raise no fool. I went home. Yup, skipped class, thanked Michael for the amazing demo and went to my cabin. John had the heat on! In August! I loved it.

This was a perfect day to visit FDR’s summer “cottage,” and also to enjoy lunch at the Fireside Inn. A side Note; August 9th, 2014, was the official celebration day for the 50th anniversary of the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park.To celebrate the Park in his own way, Michael recently painted fifty small paintings of scenes either within or from the Park. These small paintings were on the walls of the Fireside Inn, where we had a hot lunch. Each was a lovely little jewel, a moment captured forever. That’s what art does!

HERRING COVE XI By the way, Michael’s book: “Fifty Paintings: Roosevelt-Campobello International Park: Celebrating the Park’s 50th Anniversary,” is available both in paperback and Kindle versions through

The rain was coming down pretty heavily by now, so I took refuge in FDR’s beautiful summer home. As a small child, I had seen FDR from my father’s shoulders when he was on the campaign trail. My father was so impressed with him and what he accomplished that I guess a little of this rubbed off. I hope I can feel the same about other presidents in my lifetime.


Here is a view of the beautiful flowers in the garden. I was delightfully surprised at the dahlias. I hadn’t seen them in many year and have fond memories of my Aunt Minnie’s dinner plate sized dahlias back in the 40’s in Oklahoma.
FDR GARDENS Walking into the parlor, it was neat to see the sailboat, FDR’s pipe and his hat, together with some children’s games from my childhood. It took me back to some wonderful times, and the entire house had the atmosphere of waiting for these folks to come back. By the way, Ken Burns has filmed a documentary on the Roosevelts, which will air on PBS September 14. I’ll enjoy revisiting some of those memories, I think. It’s neat to realize as one ages, one becomes a part of history. I’m beginning to feel like a dinosaur!

FDR IV Walking through the beautiful old house, I enjoyed the guest rooms, Harry’s room, FDR’s space, Eleanor’s room, the classrooms, kitchen and laundry room. Here are a few photos of these places.

FDR VIII FDR VII FDR VI FDR V FDR IV Tomorrow, our last class. What memories we have made!

The Sound of Fog Horns

Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2014 by sebland

FOGGY DAY ELEVENWhen we arrived at Cranberry Point on the second day of our workshop, the fog was rolling in. I really enjoyed standing and listening to “Old Sparkplug’s” horn every ten seconds. It was a lonely, mournful sound, and I could have listened to it all day long.

However, Michael, our teacher, had other ideas.

FOGGY DAY SIX              Choosing his spot, he began again with the value thumbnail. This is a most helpful way for plein air painters to find the large masses and shapes and locate their darks and lights.

Today, Michael is using pastels, and I have to say his work and Sue’s, one of the other students, has whetted my interest. Pastels may be my next learning experience!

FOGGY DAY SEVENAfter sketching in some locating lines, Michael began to work his magic.

FOGGY DAY NINE Within an hour, he would have a beautiful piece of art. I wandered around the beach, finally settling on the perfect spot.

FOGGY DAY SEVENTEENI had decided to paint the lighthouse, “Sparky,” and watch the fog roll away.

FOGGY DAY FOURTEENI did my thumbnail, then roughed in the values and the main shapes.

FOGGY DAY FIFTEENBecause I had primed my canvasboards, the painting already has a warm glow, as if I were painting at sunset.

FOGGY DAY EIGHTEENMeanwhile, Michael has painted an alcohol wash on his pastel. He goes to warn the others who are on the beach to watch out for the incoming tide. Compare these two photos: Note where Sue is standing on the beach, working on her painting, then look at the second photo. She would have been washed away! The tide rose that fast – two hours maximum!


Content that I had a good study, I signed off on my second workshop painting.


Back in the studio, we critiqued our work. Mine is a little pink – I’ll go back and mute the colors a little. Sue’s lovely pastel and Brian’s oils all are looking good!

Brian's oilsSue's Pastel

DSCN0345 Michael’s finished pastel is really lovely – Now we know why he is the teacher!

Thank you, Michael, for inspiring us all!




Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , on August 25, 2014 by sebland


I could not have asked for a more picture perfect day to return to the Schoodic Peninsula – the air was cool and clean, and as I searched for the perfect spot, I was relieved to find a parking place near enough to move my stuff. Parking was at a premium on this day, because of the races being held at the Point.

Finding a nice shady spot, I decided to try my hand at watercolor. I have to say I don’t care for my color choices, but it was a good exercise. I want to rent that house on the island next year!

DAY TWO THREE                                                          DAY TWO FOUR

Moving on around the point, I found such a beautiful, peaceful cove, I just knew it was calling to me.

DAY TWO FIVE Not only were the colors clear and beautiful, the rock formations were pretty amazing, too.

An added bonus was a shade tree. With my mosquito repellent safely applied, I was ready to set up and paint!


The clouds came and went, and I actually felt a few drops of rain, but I was in no hurry to leave. I was having way too much fun!


All good things must end, so I took a few more photos and said goodbye to a beautiful spot.


What did I learn today? That these small 9 x 12 oil studies and the watercolor sketches will be great reference material when I paint in my studio at home. I learned that people are friendly the world over. I visited with a lady from Virginia who had set up an art program in her home town, and a young man from Japan who brought his parents over to enjoy the beauty of Maine.

Tomorrow: Campobello Island and the beautiful city of Lubec, the eastern most city in America.

DREAM IT, THEN SCHEME IT – Dreams Can Come True!

Posted in art, How to Paint, Painting, Uncategorized with tags , on August 24, 2014 by sebland


Schoodic Point, Winter Harbor, Me.

One of the joys of growing older is the realization that if you want to do something, you’d better do it now! Sometimes this means taking some risks, facing some challenges and knowing that today is the day you should follow through on those “somedays” you have dreamed about. A little bout with cancer makes you understand tomorrow is not promised!

I will confess, when I enrolled in a plein aire painting class with Michael Chesley Johnson, that my self confidence was a little lacking. And the thought of negotiating airports, baggage, driving on strange roads and being able to hold up my end of the painting assignment itself filled me with trepidation. At 76, you don’t get many chances to do these things, so I just decided to make some memories.

The people at Southwest Airlines could not have been more helpful. They brought wheelchairs for both my husband and me, handled our baggage, and saw that we got to our car rental with absolutely no problems. When both you and your husband are worriers, that’s a major blessing! Arriving in Portland in a driving rainstorm (you Texas folks don’t know what that looks like), we headed north for a 169 mile drive to Sullivan, Maine. We arrived at sunset, and the colors over Frenchman’s Bay were amazing. Of course my camera was in the trunk. The 200 year old house and its lovely bedroom suite was warm and inviting. There was even a light on in our window! The hostess, Lee Giardino, could not have been more welcoming. It felt like going home to my grandmother’s!


It really was hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact this house was already 32 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed! And over 100 years old when Texas became a state! Lee had some interesting history of the house and made us feel completely at home, even opening her kitchen for us and inviting us to raid her pantry and refrigerator. The Keurig coffee pot was always available, and all our doubts began to disappear. This was going to be fun!

Thursday morning, we slept in and John discovered an amazing old library full of books both current and from the past. He spent the next five days hanging out with an 1884 edition of “Life on the Mississippi,” by Mark Twain, while I went all over the area just enjoying the sights and scouting out painting locations.

Sullivan is half way between Bar Harbor and Schoodic Peninsula, and Lee advised that Schoodic Point was the place to go see wave action.

Lee was right – jutting out into the Atlantic near the town of Winter Harbor, this was one of the loveliest places I have ever seen! Sitting on these rocks at 7:00 in the morning, while the shadows are long, is an artist’s dream. I did wish I had paid attention to the advice someone gave me about bug spray. The mosquitoes were so large and so numerous, they were debating whether to carry me out to sea or eat me on the rocks. Still, I managed to get a pretty good study and learned a bit about the properties of painting in oils plein aire. For one thing, you can begin to muddy your painting after a short time. I decided this was a good time to go find some bug spray. Good old Walmart came through for me, and I went back to my room tired but happy. Maybe I can feel comfortable in the workshop, after all!


I’m pretty pleased with this one. Tomorrow, I’ll try again. Thank you Lord for this beautiful day!DAY ONE SCHOODIC POINT C

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