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"Tying The Trawler Net, Bar Harbor" a watercolor on 300 lb press watercolor paper 19 x 25 inches by Michael E. Vermette


COLLECT: MECA's 2014 Fall Art Sale, featuring the work of MECA faculty, students, alumni, and others is coming soon.

Build your collection with a wide range of work in a variety of media by emerging and established artists, while supporting MECA's scholarship fund and over 200 participating artists.  

Michael E. Vermette, "Tying The Trawler Net, Bar Harbor "a watercolor on 300lb press watercolor paper,
19" x25", 2014.  Michael E. Vermette has taught classes through MECA's Continuing Studies program for over 16 years.

Preview more work on our Facebook Events Page.

9am-3pm October 8
For Architects, Interior Designers, Store Buyers
By Appointment Only

6-9pm October 8
Reservations Required

10am-8pm October 9-11

6-8pm October 10

Free and open to the public.

For more information visit or email





Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, LLP


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THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION September 11th, 2014

THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION September 11th, 2014


"Feeding the Gulls Lobster Shells" a watercolor 19 x 25 inches by Michael E. Vermette

Selected for the New England Watercolor Society's 14th Biennial North American Open Show 2014 at the Plymouth Center for The Arts in Plymouth, MA.


The North American Open Show of the New England Watercolor Society 2014.

On the first week of October, I will be traveling to Plymouth, Massachusetts to enter my painting into the 14th North American Open Show sponsored by the New England Watercolor Society. The watercolor show, which includes watercolors from watercolorists all over the country, will be on display October 18th at the beautiful Plymouth Center for the Arts in Plymouth, Mass. This is very exciting for me because I only need to be juried into one more group show sponsored by NEWS to apply for signature membership. Needless to say I plan on doing a lot of watercolors this year to increase my chances. Awards will be announced at the opening reception on October 18th from 2-4 PM and I will let you know if my work is selected for any awards.


The start-up meeting date for the Plein Air Connection.


It is time for the Plein Air Connection Group to reconvene and plan our schedule for the Fall and Winter months. We will need to decide what book we will want to discuss, so please bring in your suggestions. We will also plan where we would like to paint in the state and abroad. There has been some discussions about returning to previous locations and new areas we have yet to explore. Also we want to keep each other updated on which plein air shows and festivals we would like to encourage our group to apply for and take part in for the coming 2015 year. Many festivals and wet paint auction committees are already planning for next year and we should be informed about their deadlines. 

      We'll need to decide how often we will want to paint outside and what opportunities we have coming up for weekend paint outs in the Fall and Winter months. The first Plein Air Connection meeting will be Saturday, September 20th from 10:00 am to noon. We will meet at the Peace and Justice Center in Bangor which is located at 96 Harlow Street, suit 100, Bangor, Maine. It is across the street from Peirce Park, next to the Bangor Public Library. 


We hope you can make it to the meeting and help us plan our Fall and early Winter activities!


Two One-Person Shows in the Area.

The Art Walk for Bangor is this Friday and 10 of my works are now on display at 11 Central restaurant. The work looks great on their brick walls and the other painted walls that are colored perfectly for artwork in mind. So it is a beautiful place to show artwork and I hope you can get out and see my work and the work of others at this fun event. I am displaying some new works along with works that have not been exhibited for years. This is a good chance for you to see a small cross-section of my work over the years and I hope you can get out to it and try out their excellent cuisine. 


I am also showing at the Audubon Fields Pond Nature Center  216 Fields Pond Road, Holden, Maine.  I am showing 10 plain air works that I have painted throughout last year. I have made these paintings available and affordable for everyone and I hope you will get a chance to see the show and maybe buy a piece of your own. We had a wonderful workshop there on Saturday, August 23rd and I would recommend it as a great site for Plain Air painting. They are also looking for future artists to show their. My show will be up until the end of November, 2014. 

If you missed the broadcast you can get a glimpse of one of my paintings on WCSH 6 Route 201 special that featured my painting along with other works from (MARC) Monhegan Artist Resident Artists. Mine is a watercolor of Vern Burton, a Monhegan Fisherman rowing in the harbor of Monhegan.






Open invitation to all artists to the paint-out during the Trails End Festival next weekend.  Register for $10 at North Light Gallery from 8 a.m. Friday, the 12th, paint all day and then exhibit your work all day Saturday, the 13th at North Light Gallery during an open house and reception with refreshments and live music with Mark Miller.  What could be more fun and, word is, other artists are coming so you won't be painting alone.  For more information, call Marsha at (207)723-4414 or email

We welcome spectators both to the sites and to the reception so plan to visit the artists on Friday and celebrate on Saturday.  Many artists stay to paint on Sunday, as well, and the gallery will be open 10-6.

The Trails End Festival will have great music, crafts, and food...and special feature is a pub don't miss a good time.  We'll see you next weekend!

Marsha Donahue
North Light Gallery
256 Penobscot Ave  Millinocket  Maine  04462
207.723.4414 ~ 800.970.4278



  I will be going up on Friday after school at 2 PM to reconnoiter the area and painting most of the day early on Saturday and into

the afternoon. If any of you would like to join me I will be painting Katahdin from Daicey Pond on Friday and/or Chimney Pond on Saturday. To coordinate with me call me at (207) 827-7573 or e-mail me at 


Have an fun-filled month saturated with creative inspiration!


Michael E. Vermette

Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection


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with Michael Vermette


"Monhegan Lobsterman Rowing" a watercolor 19 x 25 inches by Michael E. Vermette

 Michael Vermette, who emulates the vision of one of the island's great painter's of the past, James Fitzgerald (1899-1971), adds impasto oomph to iconic views. -Carl Little, The Unfailing Muse, MONHEGAN, the Island Journal Volume 30



This painting class emphasizes the technical skills for the beginner to achieve award winning results in watercolor paintings. These lessons are based on ten techniques most often used by famous artists presently and in art history. The instructor will demonstrate these techniques each week through in-class assignments and give an out-of-class assignment for the student to put into practice their newly acquired skills. Students may choose their own subjects from their drawing experiences using their own photographs or from direct observation.

This course gives technical insight through visual aids and slide presentations of watercolor movements and artist trends that have elevated watercolor painting to what it is today. These presentations are intended to provide the student a solid base to build their own painting experiences upon. Group critiques will be featured each week to provide the student an opportunity to develop their powers to talk about their work in a supportive environment. This course is for anyone who desires to acquire technical control in watercolor painting skills while balancing a healthy desire to play with the medium.

Requirements / Prerequisites

Course fee does not include materials.

Code: 6200.09.0.414.4.108484
First Class: September 8th, 2014
Sep 8 - Nov 17th2014
Mondays for 10 weeks from 6:00 - 9:00 PM


885 Broadway
Bangor, ME 04401 Get directions


Contact: Michael E. Vermette
Phone: 207.827-7573

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"Katahdin After A Thunder Storm at Katahdin Lake" a watercolor 19 x 25 inches by Michael E. Vermette

On August 8th I hiked the 3.8 mile hike to the Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps that overlook from a bluff, Katahdin Lake in Baxter State Park. I had only my camera and cell phone on me as I tanked up with water before leaving at the Avalanche Field trailhead. I took momentary refuge in the outhouse there because it began to rain. Not the greatest outlook for what I hoped to do on the day and the next day. But when I decided to go there was no turning back. The weather improved the further I hiked on the trail with the sun finally broke through. Then I heard the plane fly overhead carrying my equipment with a drop off at the lake's only dock. No doubt there would be plenty of hands to help with the unloading and loading of the plane. There was a  Boy Scout troop that was in the Camps working on several merit badges including wilderness survival. When I arrived sure enough the staff and the scouts had helped to bring my three bags to my favorite cabin, the "Traveler,"an old guide's cabin I have taken a liking too over the years. I Met with Holly Hamilton the Camp guide and her friendly staff briefly before heading out with a canoe to do some scouting of my own of the beaches on the south-east end of the lake. The wind continued to blow across the lake from the north and it reminded me of another time I took an hour to paddle to the North Shore. But not today. My plan was to do a watercolor at Painter's Beach which is the furthest beach on the southeastern end of the lake. I set up my easel and began drawing Katahdin starting with the Knife-Edge. I always use my small binoculars to study the shapes. I didn't bring my coat because It was warm enough and sunny. But soon after I arrived the wind picked up and I realized a storm was brewing that would be upon me before I could even paddle back to the camps. I had seen these thunder storms move quickly before when I hiked East Turner Mountain. I got soaked that day and I knew I had to think quick. So I broke down my easel and stowed my painting. Then I pulled my canoe up onto the beach, flipping it on my back and propping one end of it on a rock. This canoe was going to act as my shelter from the down pour. An eagle flew over my head just above the  tree tops and eventually took cover in the thick spruces across from the beach. And sure enough the sky opened up and it poured for about a half hour. But I was dry with all of my gear underneath the canoe. Then after it passed the sun slowly came out and I was able to finish the watercolor painting I had started earlier above. It never rained again that day and even though I was alone, I kept my head and was rewarded with a great image. 

My canoe propped up upon a rock to act as a temporary shelter to keep my equipment and me dry.

The whole reason why I was determined to paint a watercolor that day was to have an example to show the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program students that I would be teaching the next day. My plan was to expand my watercolor class I did last year by including a canoe excursion to all three of the main beaches that painters in history actually used. I wanted them to stand in the very footsteps as such great painters as Frederick Church, Marsden Hartley, and James Fitzgerald. Fortunately I have reproductions made by each of these painters painted on essentially all three beaches. But I decided to name each beach after an artist with the farthest beach for example, becoming the Frederic Church Beach rather than Painter's Beach and so to with the other beaches. They would become in my class the Marsden Hartley Beach, The James Fitzgerald Beach and The Frederick Church Beach. When I got back to camp I was dry but tired so I rested up, knowing the weather would improve the next day. Holly and I met together after supper to plan our day. It was great to have a time to talk with her about how things were going. There was a very dramatic sunset, but I saved my last large sheet of watercolor paper for the Alpine Glow (The first Light upon the peaks of Katahdin) early the next morning. 

"Alpine Glow In August, Katahdin Lake" a watercolor 19 x 25 inches by Michael E. Vermette

The next morning I got up at 5:00 am and made my way behind the large cabin to a trail that lead to the beach we all refer to as the Marsden Hartley Beach. I sat on the board that many painters have sat proped between shore rocks with an excellent view of Katahdin. The alpine glow is not as bright as it usually is in winter but it still has the full color of summer, particularly in the variant greens. Everything that the sun is reflecting from has a dominate pinkish orange glow that yields superb contrasting maroon violet accents. The water is mostly reflecting indirect light an appeared iridescent turquoise against the cool overhanging trees in the shadow.  I finished at 7:30 am and prepared for the students to arrive. The boy Scout troop  that I had got to know left before the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program students arrived. They reached the camps later than last year by 11:00 am. Because of this my schedule had to be adjusted and so would Holly's. But I would not change the sequential order in my lesson plan, just the timing of when it would be taught. I began with an introduction after they all got water and met Holly and the camp staff. I explained to them how beauty can save our world and how many land trust organizations throughout america are holding wet paint plein air auctions to raise funds to buy land to preserve for future generations. We have such an auction in Maine through the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. I continued by showing them my two large watercolor that I had done the day before and this morning which became more tangible to them than reading off a litany of my credentials. Then I put the challenge to them to consider that they too are all artists capable of creating beautiful paintings being found in such a beautiful place as this. I explained how 16 painters once had an auction to help save Katahdin Lake; to ultimately be included as the crown jewel of Baxter State Park. 

But their eyes really opened wider when I started to treat them as artists and handed out brand new top quality art materials that were donated by Blick Art Materials at to complete their assignment for the day. I worked with Sherry Godsil the donation Program Coordinator for Dick Blick who said, 

"Blick Art Materials is pleased to assist the Friends of Baxter with their current project. (namely the painting project at Katahdin Lake for the Maine Youth Wilderness Pprogram students) Enclosed are the painting supplies that we previously discussed. Thank you for your interest in Blick Art Materials and we are pleased that we were able to assist you! If there is anything else we could do for you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us." 

We got the same response from Daniel Smith Artist Materials who generously provided watercolor tubes of paint to complete and round out their 12 color palettes.

 They received folding watercolor palettes, watercolor paint and a brand new watercolor brush. I donated the 300 Lb watercolor paper and boards to paint, enough for each student to have two sheets to make two paintings. I created watercolor painter kits with miscellaneous supplies including pencils, erasers, cups for water ect..for them to use on site that were in plastic waterproof boxes with extra-large freezer bags to use as waterproof portfolios.

When we arrived at the beach in front of the cabins I had already set up to save time.  They proceeded to watch my demonstration. I discussed with them that I would demonstrate everything that I expected them to do which included a 15-minute quick sketch called a watercolor "Quickie". I had one of the students time me as I talked them through it and completed a watercolor sketch. Then I asked them to do it and that I would time them giving them an extra 5 minutes for a total of 20 minutes of painting time. When every one was ready to go I said: "Begin" and everyone participated as they were given as much artistic license as they may have required. My aim was to expose them to a process not make them work a particular way. The only requirement was that they had to paint without drawing with a pencil first.  After the 20 minutes was up I stopped them and  we had a very short critique. I figured they didn't need a long critique because they hadn't painted too long. They were amazed at what they created in such a short period, everyone's painting different and unique. Then after a brief deliberation with the councilors we came to an agreement that you can't teach students on an empty stomach, so we took a break for lunch and the student cheered at the thought of eating a home cooked meal by Rachel and her kitchen staff.  But before I let them go I had then all promise to come back and paint one more painting with me and they agreed.

The MYWLP students painting Katahdin at the dock in front of the Katahdin Lake Wilderness Camps.

During lunch I got word from Holly that the plane would be landing at the camps in just minutes.  So I ran to my cabin and packed everything into the bag the students' art materials came in and the paintings went into my large portfolio to fly out so that I wouldn't have to carry them along with everything else I had to carry. There would be no later flight that day so I had to make the best of the situation since I knew I would be hiking out with all my gear alone. The plane came and landed in its dramatic fashion and almost as soon as he came he was off again with half of my gear. All I now had to carry was my camera and watercolor back pack. 

After lunch at about 1 PM in the afternoon, I met with the students again to give them the afternoon assignment. I wanted to take them in canoes and kayaks to the three famous beaches where painters in history had painted. There was a concern whether they would be able to paint for two hours so I lifted that requirement and gave them the choice to paint at least up to an hour. They agreed and some painted close to the camps at the Hartley Beach, some further at the Fitzgerald Beach and still others with me at the Church Beach the furthest down at the southeastern end of the lake where I painted the day before. Each group had about 4 students that also included a counselor or instructor and students couldn't swim until they all came back together. But they could wade up to their knees if they finished early. 

Painting on Fitzgerald Beach after paddling out to the location.

The wind had picked up which made paddling slow going.  But all of us made it to our destinations. My plan was to reach the farthest beach with the students that wanted to paint the longest time and after setting them up, go back and visit with the other students. But I also had to paint another watercolor that was this time a study. The assignment included the use of pencils and an eraser so that students could study and pre-plan where their watercolor washes would go.  I painted a 1-hour study so that I could use the 2nd hour to meet up with all the students on location. This didn't happen of course because I didn't have enough time to go all the way back to the first beach and then back again to the farthest beach to pick tell them it was time to finish and pick up. Fortunately the ones who chose the farthest beach all used kayaks which fared better in the wind and waves.

"Katahdin From Frederick Church's Beach" a watercolor study 11 x 15 inches by Michael E. Vermette

But then as the hours seem to fly by something amazing happened. It was just as I hoped would occur. The students all began to make a connection with Katahdin itself. An hour went by, then another hour, then a third went by and they were still painting. Whether it was how the mountain seemed to rise up high above the trees on the shoreline the farther you get back from it or the absolute gift of giving them the time to be alone with their subject; they all went way over their time finishing at 4 PM in the afternoon. Even they were amazed at how time seemed to fly by as the mountain placed them under it's majestic influence. I knew right then and there that I helped to facilitate a greater class that what had planned for. It was beyond what I could have made happen. These students had a heartfelt experience with Katahdin who chose to show her glorious beauty to them.  That day they all joined that long line of painters in history who had made a similar connection and  muse. 

Painting the view Frederick Church Painted at what we named Church's Beach.

At four in the afternoon I began pulling students off the beaches and we returned for our last critique. Their art was amazing and nothing but positive energy filled the beach as even guests got drawn in to the beauty they created in their paintings. People often wonder why I teach, why I even bother with students since I could make a better living as a full-time painter. Well this is why, and I can give you 12 reasons why imparting into the future feels so good. And I like so many of the other instructors who have imparted their knowledge into this future generation of leaders must have felt, was so humbled and proud to leave them with a genuine love of Baxter State park and Katahdin as seen from what is considered the Crown Jewel of the park. 

The MYLP Students, councilors and instructor displaying their second and final painting just before their afternoon swim.

It was most fitting that these students would end there program here. They had spent a week going from one campground to another.  I shook every one of their hands and told them they were now Katahdin Painters. I gave my quick sketch and study to the two councilors for helping me with the day. Then I packed up and left them all to their swim. For the experience was all theirs and they btruely earned a refreshing afternoon swim under the shadow of the mountain they had just painted. 

Remember everyone; beauty really can change the world! The very best to you all,

Michael E. Vermette
Artist and Instructor of the Maine Youth Leadership Program
A Friends of Baxter

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  • Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Location: Fields Pond, Greator Bangor
  • Members: $15.00 - Non-members: $20.00


Michael E. Vermette painting at the British Canal during the Castine Plein Air Festival 2014.
  Come and be inspired as you engage your mind, your heart and your artistry. Michael Vermette, the upcoming featured fall artist at Fields Pond Audubon Center, will lead you in helping to capture a perfect Plein Air muse.
Please call to register.



Contact: Holly Twining
Phone: 207.989-2591

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THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION August 13th, 2014

THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION August 13th, 2014


Auction poster -


All of the Plein Air Connection group members will be participating in this years Bangor Paint-out and Auction and extend an invitation to all artists state-wide. I am happy to announce as the vice president of the Bangor Art Society, and the MC for the event, that this year we have raised over $1,500.00 for awards and special door prizes for the participating artists and bidders! The event will be held at Husson College at the Gracie Theater Atrium. The event is open for all painters of all ages and we do not require pre-registration, which means you can register on the day. Registration is $25.00 and doubles as a membership fee for those who would also like to join the Bangor Art Society. There will be an early registration for painters at 6 am in the morning on Saturday August 16th and will end at 10:00 am. Painting substrates will be stamped upon registration. Artists can get stamped up to 3 canvases and artists can enter up to two works in the Auction by the end of the day. No pre-drawing allowed but surfaces can be pre-toned with one colored ground.



There will be a Silent Auction and a Live Auction this year. The works will be juried by juror's Donna Festa and Kal Elmore and then placed into the Silent Auction or Live Auction between 3:30 PM and 5:30 PM. All works that are received after 3:00 PM will automatically go into the silent auction. There is no size limits for the paintings and we strongly urge painters to frame works since they have a better chance of selling. There will be two tables set up for assisting artists with framing, but artists are responsible for their own frames and framing supplies. Our two local picture framing sponsors for the day are School Street Picture Framing and Bangor Frameworks. Please see them for all your framing needs. Again 3:00 is the deadline for receiving works framed that are to be considered for the live auction. There will be posters for all artists to sign and these posters will be given to the our sponsors at the end of our auction as a thank you. We appreciate your coöperation.



There will be a preview for both auctions between 5:30 to 6:00 PM. Refreshments will be put out at this time in buffet style from up to 16 local restaurants who are sponsoring this event. Please feel free to take their menu and enjoy their excellent cuisine. We also have for all participants current issues of Plein Air Magazine to give out.Come enjoy the taste of Bangor, Orono and Old Town and read how Beauty is Changing our world for the better through plein air paintings in America.



The  Silent Auction is at 6:00 to 6:45 and Live Auction begins at 7:00 PM and ends around 8:00 PM. 

 We are very pleased to announce that our auctioneer this year is Steve McKay from WLBZ Channel 2 News. There will be a brief introduction by Jim Bird for raising funds for the Orono/Bangor Bog Boardwalk and I will talk about raising funds for the Bangor Art Society programs. Then I will introduce Steve McKay who will begin the live auction. Bidders will be given paddles for bidding upon registering for the live auction between 5:30 PM and 7:00 PM.



This event is free for everyone to come out and take part in these most worthy causes. So come and paint with us! Enjoy the fine art, food, be entertained, buy the art and know that every time you look at your painting you are reminded of the cause you helped to support! After all, as the saying goes, "No one appreciates the painting more than the one who pays the most for it!" So bid high and bid often!


I hope to see you all there,


Michael E. Vermette

Vice President of the Bangor Art Society

Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection


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"Tidal Falls at Waldoboro, Maine" an oil on canvas 12 x 16 inches by Michael E. Vermette 
A warm Welcome to all of you new subscribers to the Plein Air Connection Newsletter! 

The Plein Air Connect paint out will be at the "Paint The Town Fresh Paint Out and Auction" this Saturday in Waldoboro, 
Maine. The wet paint auction is a non-juried wet paint auction that all artists can register the same day as the event. The fee 
is $25.00 and it willwill take place at the Waldo Theater this year. It's an elegant building with a great history for celebrations 
in the arts in Waldoboro with plenty of good seating. Best of all the auction will be indoors! This is one of the best wet paint plein air  
auctions in the state!

Waldoboro's been working hard this year. Among the new features is a lovely store front next to the drug store.  
It's called Old Number Nine and it's the home of MAP, the newly minted Medomak Arts Project, a community based arts  
 education group. Workshops, art shows, performances, book signings and events too creative to be named are happening there.  
This space will be yours to use all day, from the breakfast gathering from 7 am to 8 am, to the early afternoon. Some framing supplies  
and plenty of work space will be available for our use. It's a very short walk to the Waldo Theatre.

There are some new restaurants in the village this year as well. The organizers thought we might enjoy choosing one of these 
instead of carrying a bag lunch out to the field. When you check in at Old Number Nine for breakfast, you'll receive a voucher you  
 can use at one of the restaurants serving a range of options including salads, seafood, pub fare, fresh-made pizza, tacos and burritos.  
Or if we prefer, we can have a sandwich, fruit, cookies and bottled water packed up to go.

Please let them know at the Tidemark Gallery if you'd like them to pack your lunch and let them know what you like in your sandwich.
 As with last year, you may submit one piece of work previously completed and one fresh one painted en plein air on the day. As far as I  
know work is to be framed for the auction or at least it sells better. New work must be checked in at the theatre by 3 PM. The preview  
 reception will begin at 5 PM and the auction at 6 PM the same day, both at the Waldo Theatre.  
Another new feature this year is the option for a second chance for any work that doesn't sell at auction. Old Number Nine will be open  
from noon to 5 PM on Sunday, August 3, for a silent auction. Each artist will be responsible for transporting their work from the  
theatre to Old Number Nine after the auction on Saturday night and it must be removed by the end of the day on Sunday. ( This is 
because a new show is being hung there on August 4!)

Within 14 days, the artists will receive a check for 75% of their sales, with the remaining 25% being shared among the volunteer groups
that make this event happen.

For more information and directions on how to get there please contact The Tidemark Gallery in Waldoboro, Maine. We look forward to seeing you next Saturday. It's going to be a fun filled day! 

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection

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Attention Art Enthusiasts & everyone questioning the East-West Corridor?

Attention Art Enthusiasts & everyone questioning the East-West Corridor…

"Katahdin Brook, Spillway of Katahdin Lake" a watercolor 20 x 26 inches by Michael E. Vermette

Eighteen artists who live or create art in the areas threatened by the East-West Corridor proposed by Cianbro Corporation are sharing their work at a very special art show and fundraiser

Where: 131 Main Street, Northeast Harbor

When:  August 13th – 19th | 9am to 7pm daily

**Opening reception will be Thursday, August 14th, at 5pm**
Through the work of these artists, the people, culture, and landscapes threatened by this asphalt, pipeline, and conduit belt across Maine will be featured.  Artists are generously donating a percentage of all work that sells to Defending Water for Life’s organizing efforts to stop the Corridor for good!
Please join us to celebrate this area, learn more about the East-West Corridor, support local artists, and support Defending Water for Life’s efforts, which included mobilizing opposition by facilitating development of a statewide coalition of Maine people, now known as Stop the East-West Corridor (STEWC).

To learn more, or for a sneak peak, please visit
and find us on facebook
East-West Corridor Art Show

Featured Artists include:
John Bozin, Monson
Kay Carter, Hampden
Katharine Noble Churchill, Bar Harbor
Teddi-JannCovell, Orono
Peter Crockett, Argyle
Richard Fecteau, Farmington
Jane Gilbert, Orland
Karsten E. Kittelsen, Addison
Leatrice Linden, Perry
Roger Merchant, Glenburn
Ed Nadeau, Orono
Lori Park, Marrakech, Morocco
Ann C. Rosebrooks, Cutler
Troy Sands, Kenduskeag
Judy Taylor, Seal Cove
Michael Vermette, Indian Island
Nora West, New Portland
Becky Whight, Waltham

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"Full Super Moon at Christmas Cove, Monhegan" an oil on oak/ gypsum board 10 x 12 inches by Michael E. Vermette

We're back from our Plein Air Connect painting retreat on Monhegan Island! It was a week filled with sun and perfect conditions for painting. In fact we escaped the heat wave everyone else in the state was experiencing. The island was about 10 to 15 degrees cooler then on the mainland. Local fisherman felt It was also a little quieter this summer with not so many people milling around. Our group and the other group members from other cottages helped to make the island much more lively in spirit and conversation. 

We began with a progressive dinner so that we could all meet each other on the first Saturday night we arrived. There were about 25 artists who attended and the food and conversation was outstanding. It was a great idea and unique way to begin out painting week together. The funny thing, is that we didn't run into each other very much at all the week that would follow.  Everyone settled down to spend their time as they wanted to. 

"Black Head From Squeaker Cove" an oil on oak/gypsum panel 10 x 12 inches by Michael E. Vermette.

My goal was to paint as many rock coastal areas as I could in preparation for The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust Auction I would be participating in later in the week. I also wanted to paint the 1st Supper Full Moon of the year at Christmas Cove. It happened that I forgot my headlamp at home but was able to find one on the island in the gift shop at Elva's old post office. The super moon appeared larger and brighter since it was closer to the earth and I loved how the light seemed to dance on the water during the high tide. I was joined this year by two other  painters in our cottage Heidi Smith and Michelle Minah who also painted the moonscape at Christmas Cove.

We also had Becky Whight, Eric Glass and his wife and child David, and Elaine my wife in the Murdock Cottage that we rented. There were cool off shore breezes blowing through the windows each day with great views from the second floor where the kitchen,  living and dining room spaces were located. The second floor is where we shared all our meals. Elaine and I rented a golf cart so that she could get around better on the island. She helped to cart equipment for artists at the trail heads which was a huge help to everyone. She was a little nervous at first, never having driven one of these before; but soon she drove up the rocky driveway like a pro. Near the end of the week we all had to hang on to our hats and handle of the cart as she would zoom us up into the cottage driveway like an amusement park ride. Best of all was that she was able to go out on her own to take pictures and shop which became a pleasant change this year for everyone. It was fun having a golf cart.

Elaine Vermette driving the golf cart on Monhegan Island, Maine.

Another highlight for me was the chance to paint with my colleague and friend Eric Glass at the base of Black Head, the highest headland on Monhegan. The surf was up and we both had a great time rendering a painting study that close to the base of the head. The water was so clean and emerald as it glistened in the light like jewel accents. We also didn't have a lot of pesky bugs because there always seemed to be a little breeze during the day. But faithfully the mosquitos would all attack just after sundown. We were thankful to see swarms of dragon flies darting around each morning as our natural pest control force. I tried to go to out of the way places that might be harder to reach this time on Monhegan and was rewarded with some great views. Many times I would be painting on huge rock that would be slanted or steep and that would be difficult for anyone to overcome. But the sheer joy of painting these locations made it all what physical pains were gained by the experience.

Eric Glass painting at the base of Blackhead, Monhegan Island, Maine.

The last highlight for me in this trip was painting a 16 x 20 inch panel with Becky Whight at Pulpit Rock. She challenged me to paint in a larger format and I accepted by challenging her to paint with me at Pulpit Rock. Michelle Minah also painted with us. I took them to my favorite view of Pulpit Rock that is a ledge in front of this huge offshore rock shaped like a giant church pulpit. We had to do a little toe hole cliff climbing, helped each other with our packs and basically spent a very productive day there. In fact I have not see the painting I did with Becky because she packed the wet paintings together and was going to wait until they dried to see them again days later. I have always said that Pulpit Rock is a Paul Cezanne problem. There is simple no two angles that ever line up and the ledge can give you vertigo when looking down at the subject. But all three of us did a great painting and had an amazing time.

Michelle Mina at Pulpit Rock, Monhegan Island.

Each night we held a group critique that lasted into the late evening hours due to our excitement. We were joined by Kay Carter who was staying at Wldhaven Cottage, a modern home behind ours on Horn Hill. We even got a surprise visit from Bangor Art Society members who were staying at Chadwick hose which is a 150 year old Monhegan Cape in the heart of the villiage.

Most of us painted about 8 to 10 paintings during our stay for the week. I painted 15 small oils and a larger one. We were all exhausted but fulfilled like the feeling you get when you've eaten a good meal. Next year we will be renting the same cottage from Saturday to Saturday from July 4th to July 11th, 2014. We will be looking for 3 painters who would like to join us. Michelle, Heidi, Elaine and I will be coming back and more details will be included later in this year's newsletters for the summer of 2015!

Michael E. Vermette paint at Boathouse Cove for the Cape Elizabeth Paint For Perservation Art Auction.

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust Paint For Perservation Art Auction

  At Cape Elizabeth I pulled out all the stops and painted the rocky point at Boathouse Cove near Two Lights State Park. I wanted to not only paint the wonderful striations of rocks found at the coast there but  also wanted to paint in a place where the public could find me. I deployed both my Resistance easel and Julian half sketch box easel to paint the large painting that I entered. Elaine and I went right from Monhegan Island directly to South Portland with a stop over at Artists & Craftsman to stock up on art supplies. We ate at Crackerbarrel, one of our favorite restaurants the night before thanks to a gift card we have wanted to spend from our daughter and her husband Ben and Kim Allen. 

The next morning I registered at the CELT office at 7:30 am and arrived on location by 8:00 am. I just barely completed the large painting by 3 PM in the afternoon to enter it into the live auction.  At the auction my painting sold for a few thousand, more than last year's.  The total we raised on the day, although not released yet, was higher than last year due to the excellent bidders and the event being sold out! We also had Kaja as our auctioneer from Thomas Place Auction Galleries. I painted with great fellow painters such as Paul Black, Michael Boardman, Paul V. Bonneau, Daniel Corey, Marsha Donahue, Cooper Dragonette, Philip Frey, Dan Graziano, Alison Hill, Colin Page, John Santoro, Caleb Stone and many others. The proceeds from  Paint for Preservation 2014 benefit the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust's Saving Cape's Great Places initiative. Founded in 1985, CELT has permanently protected over 660 acres of strategic conservation lands. 

Paint The Peninsula July 19th, 2014

This Saturday July 19th I will be participating in the Paint The Peninsula wet paint silent auction the benefit the Blue Hill Public Library. 

Paint the Peninsula
Fresh Paint Silent Auction Fundraiser
to benefit the Blue Hill Public Library
Saturday, July 19  4:30-7pm
" Post Office" detail by Charles Fenner Ball from last year's auction

An Art Event for Everyone!
Dozens of artists, over 100 works. 
Opening bids $50-$350 

The Blue Hill Peninsula is home to some of the most iconic views in the state: bays dotted with islands; saltwater farms with weathered barns and grazing sheep; quiet coves with mirrored waters; the dramatic tumult of the reversing falls; Blue Hill Mountain; fishing boats and sailing skiffs. It seems every bend in the road reveals a breathtaking vista. On the morning of Saturday July 19th, 80 invited artists will participate in PAINT THE PENINSULA to capture those views and the beauty of the day in watercolor, oil, pencil, ink, pastel or any other medium that strikes their fancy.Later that evening more than 100 original works of art will be auctioned to benefit the Blue Hill Public Library at a reception from 4:30-7pm. 
Great art & a fun party to 
support the 
Blue Hill Public Library
The resulting exhibition is an exuberant celebration of both the area and the artists who live here. It is rare to have almost 100 artists - from young, emerging talent to some of the region's most celebrated painters-gather under one roof to show and sell their work. Most of the paintings are landscape, but not all. Some artists create still lives or abstract impressions of the morning. Opening bids range from $50-$350 making Paint the Peninsula a great opportunity to start buying local art or to add to an established collection. Most artists donate 50% of the sale to the library and some do more, so winning bids support both the Blue Hill Library's operating budget and the local arts community. 
$10 suggested admission fee  
(kids & participating artists free)

Admission includes wine and refreshments.  Music provided by Bill Schubeck on piano.

I hope to see you there!
Then next week I will be participating in the Castine Plein Air Festival from  Thursday July 24th to Saturday July 26th. 

Castine Plein Air Festival 2014

Virginia Pierrepont at the 2013 festival

Come Watch Artists Paint Castine!

The Castine Arts Association is delighted to announce that the 2014 festival will be a three day event, thanks to the enthusiastic response by artists, art collectors, sponsors and art enthusiasts to the 2013 Castine Plein Air Festival.
The coastal town of Castine, Maine is the ideal setting for plein air painting. The town and surrounding Penobscot Bay area are endowed with a rich history of art and have been a popular destination for many of America's most famous artists for over 150 years. The area possesses a stunning collection of beautiful landscapes, rugged coastlines, historic architecture, and an abundance of New England charm.

About the Exhibition
This year's festival will take place on July 24, 25 and 26. Over forty artists have been juried to participate in the festival. Painting will begin on the morning of July 24th after artist register at the Town Common, and will conclude on the evening of July 26th with an exhibition and sale of the art created over three days of painting. The exhibition will be in an enlarged Harborview Room, Alfond Student Center, at the Maine Maritime Academy where exhibit space will be double that of last year.
The public is invited to enjoy the three days of the festival and to attend the Exhibition and Sale on July 26th, and purchase fabulous plein air artwork.

Future Newsletters

From now on I will be sending out newsletters for the Plein Air Connection once a month. I will still be sending out news blasts on where and when we will be painting each week, they just won't as elaborate. This way I will have more time to write about these adventure once a month and continue to keep you all abreast on all that is happening with us. If you are a new member to the newsletter I would like to welcome you to read, enjoy and share the newsletter with your friends and even come paint with us sometime. This week and next week many of us are participating in festivals and we will notify you again by the end of July or beginning of August where we will paint again.

Have a wonderful painting week filled with expectation and satisfaction,

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection


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THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION JUNE 27TH, 2014 revised edition

THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION JUNE 27TH, 2014 revised edition
 Welcome to all of you who have recently joined our newsletter. We are thrilled that you have joined us!

The Carrying Place, Swans Island, Maine" an oil on oak gypsum gessoed panel 8 x 10 inches by Michael E. Vermette. Left: Michael E. Vermette painting at Hockamock Head, Swans Island, Maine.

The First Day on Swans Island

On Friday June 20th the Plein Air Connection group drove Kay Carter's truck with all of our painting equipment and enough supplies for 4 days on to the Swans Island Ferry. Once on the island we very quickly met up with our friends Arriah Vanier and Greg Cyr who are both painters and were our hosts for the weekend. We stayed at a cottage located near a narrow strip of land flanked by ocean on both sides called "The Carrying Place". It is an amazing Victorian style cottage with a Large barn that has a loft and it is owned by Jessica and Allen Harrington who are very supportive towards the arts and are friends with Arrah and Greg. Swans Island is the shape of a butterfly from an Ariel view and the Carrying Place is a very narrow stretch of land that separates Back Cove from Toothaker Cove connecting one half of the island to the other.  The Bailey's, Jessica's family, Peg and Norman Bailey, have lived at this place for 80 years and before them It use to be  the place where the Wabanaki tribes of Maine would portage their canoes to hunt or fish at Toothaker Cove. 

  Needless to say this site offered two of the most spectacular views for the weekend.  Back Cove faces Northeast toward Mount Desert Island and Southwest toward Toothaker Cove with views of  Isle Au Haut. We began with a group of six painters that day including Becky Whight, Kay Carter, Arrah Vanier, Greg Cyr, local Swans Island painter Iver Lofving and myself, Michael E. Vermette. The following day Teddy-Jan Covel and Karstan Kittelson also joined us. 

We began our painting retreat by using two vehicles to reconnoiter eight different locations on the island including 1) the Town Pond and Pebble Beach area that would serve as an excellent sunrise site with views of Black Island, 2)  The Creek at mackerel Cove, which offers a beautiful low tide mud flat view of a small wharf and islands in the distance facing Northwest  3) Mill Pond Park, a great view of the harbor with islands and lupine, 4) Trafton's Wharf with a close view of Johnson's Island, harbor boats and the Hockamock Head Lighthous in the distance, 5) Quarry Pond that offered dramatic pinkish color, geometric granite patterns with reflecting light and shape in the waters below. On top of the quarry is a great panoramic view of southwestern Harbor Island, 6) The Hockamock Head Lighthouse that offered a very unique square shaped lighthouse with dramatic cliffs and access into the lighthouse itself fully atomated and turned into a museum complete with a guide, 7) Fine Sand Beach, a good size beach with very fine pinkish granite, where most of the sun bathers go on the island. Later we added 8) West Point and 9) Solomon's Cove for great sunset views. 

Tired of looking at great places to paint and wanting to get to painting, we all settled down to make two studies each from three different locations. That night we shared a meal together having a tasty baked beans supper with grilled chicken and a cold slaw to die for. In fact all of the meals for the weekend were fantastic and we ate like kings. Everyone would help make meals and clean up after so that we finished up quickly. 

On that first day, the meal was followed by a supportive critique of each of our works as all had a turn to place our paintings on the easel. We used this opportunity to share ideas about our paintings and our goals for the painting intensive weekend we would all face the next few days.

The Plein Air Connection Gang on Swans Island from left to right: Greg Cyr, Becky Whight, Teddy-Jan Covell, Arrah Vanier, Kay Carter and Michael E. Vermette  in the doorway of the studio we all used for the weekend. 

The Race: a Painting Intensive on the second day

I first heard of Robert Henri's "the Race" in 1999 as I was conducting an interview with Ann Hubert as part of my Carina House Artist Residency. Ann was a matriarch of Monhegan Island women in her 90's who knew Rockwell Kent, George Bellows and James Fitzgerald. The "Race", she said," was simply a gentlemen's bet between art teacher Robert Henri and his students George Bellows and Randall Davey". It appears that they wanted to challenge each other to be more productive in their art and to see how many quality paintings they could make in one day. No doubt the idea came from Robert Henri whom two years earlier in 1903 painted 50 studies in just two or three weeks on Monhegan Island, Maine. The race went on to be replicated on Monhegan by many more of Robert Henri's students including Leon Kroll, Abraham Bogdonove, Edward Hopper and many others throughout the years and right down to present where artists are still doing it today. Ann initially spoke to me of Henri's race because I began my residency by painting en plein air three to four paintings a day. She shared with me that James Fitzgerald's approach did not agree with Henri's "Race" because she said that he thought one painting idea was enough to deal with in one day.  So it was with hesitation that I put forth the challenge to the group as our first Plein Air one-day painting Intensive.  I did this because of the how Henri motivated his students to be more productive and to kick-start our summer after reading his book, "The Art Spirit." My intention was not to change the way we paint on location from this day forward, but to get our creative juices flowing. Besides, making numerous studies is a great way to get to know a place that you are not familiar with and Swans Island was new to most of us. 

Greg Cry painting at Fine Sand Beach.             "Sunset at West Point" an oil 10 x 12 inches on board by Greg Cyr.

We began by getting up at 4 am in the morning and setting up at the Town Ponds and Pebble Beach area to paint our first sunrise before we even had coffee or ate breakfast. The sun came up just before 5 am because it was the first day of summer, the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. We finished our paintings by 7 am and headed back to the cottage for a hearty breakfast. Painting came first and it was as if our works were more important than the most important meal of the day.

"Sunrise at Pebble Beach, Swans Island" an oil on oak panel 8 x 10 inches by Michael E. Vermette. Michael painting at Mill Pond Park.

After a  hearty breakfast we were right back at it, painting at another site at Mill Pond Park. Kay Carter had spotted this area earlier and had a desire to paint their because she wanted to make sure she captured the lupine on the island, which was in full bloom. She made a good choice because this place had it all in terms of subject matter in the foreground, middle ground and background.  There were tidal mud flats in Burnt Coat Harbor with boats, islands and gardens in the foreground with iris and lupine. We chose a challenging area for our second painting of the day which began around 9 am and ended at noon. Teddy-Jan Covell and Karstan Kittleson joined us at the park by 9:30 am along with Iver Lofving making our group eight strong.

"Trafton's Wharf, Swans Island" an oil 12 x 16 inches by Kay Carter.                Kay Carter painting at Town Ponds, Joyce Beach.

  After we finished by noon we all drove back to the cottage and met there for lunch. The painting intensive was in full swing. Our next destination was at Quarry Pond at the southern part of the island. We all descended upon the cove to the amazement of the resident swimmers and teenagers. Most of us set up atop the quarry where the view was simply incredible. Not only was the quarry luminous reflecting pinkish-orange light but there were interesting reflections and high sky blue reflected water. A group of gulls would try to claim the pond but time and time again the swimmers would scare them off and their flight became exciting to see as we viewed them from a high perspective. Further out from the quarry you could see for miles that day and view Harbor Island as well as other smaller coastal islands in the distance. After each painting session we would take care of our painted studies in the studio and gear up for another painting session by putting in our wet paint carriers a new panel or canvas each time we took one out. 

"Ariel View above the Quarry, Swans Island" an oil on board 8 x 10 inches by Arrah Vanier. Arrah in the studio.

By the time we all completed our third painting and arrived back to the cottage for supper it was 5 pm. We shared a meal together and gave thanks to the Creator for the three paintings we had painted so far. This is the time most painters hit a wall since this sort of intensive painting challenge is more like a marathon than a competitive race. And so by 7 PM it took a lot of coaxing to get us out once again to do another painting. But we all did and we were guided by Iver Lofving to Solomon's Cove with an eye-aching bright sunset reflecting off the cove. Some of us hiked further towards Trask Point and reached the rocky shore. We had exactly 1 1/2 hours to paint the sunset as the day would become increasingly darker and more difficult as we negotiated the hike back. But we did it! All of us joined in where we could and most of us completed the 4-painting challenge in one day that Robert Henri called "The Race". We made over 25 paintings together in one day  and needless to say, we did not hold a critique that night. We all just felt a great sense of accomplishment as we fell into our beds for a well deserved sleep by 10 o'clock PM. We had put in a painting day that involved a routine that lasted 12 hours. 

"Sunset At West point, Swans Island" an oil on oak panel 8 x 10 inches by Becky Whight. Becky Whight painting at Mill Pond Park.

The next day after breakfast the owner of the cottage, Jessica Harrington arrived to join us by 8:30 am to begin her summer stay at her cottage. We all felt that the challenge was a good way to get acquainted with the islands many sites and to kick-start our summer with a lot of painting. And we were so grateful to Jessica and her husband for allowing us to stay at their cottage. If fact, t we decided to do something special for them. So four of us chose one wet painting from our collection for her to choose from. In the end she had a special relationship towards Becky Whights painting, "Sunset At West Point, Swans Island" which she was delighted to own.

The four paintings that Jessica could choose from starting at the top left to right: Kay Carter, Becky Whight and bottom left to right Teddy-Jan Covell and Michael E. Vermette. Jessica chose Becky Whight's "Sunset at West Point, Swans Island". 

  This day we left it up to each person to choose on their own to paint what they wanted, the way they wanted and as many paintings as they wanted. It was artist choice day and some painted larger paintings and some continued with the small studies that they brought like I did. We were able to settle down to paint without the intense pressure to produce multiple paintings and the results spoke for itself. Although there was lots to learn and good things that happened when we painted fast and furious as in Henri's "Race", we all also found it rewarding to slow down and spend a longer section of time on one idea as James Fitzgerald suggested. Henri relied more on direct observation and Fitzgerald relied more on memory. Both were very spiritual artists in their own rite and we tried to apply both of their approaches in our painting intensive.

The Bond Fire celebration the next day after the Summer Solstice and after the Painting Intensive with the studio behind the painters. From Left to right: Iver Lofving, Jessica Harrington, Teddy-Jan Covell, Kay Carter, Arrah Vanier, and Michael E. Vermette.

That night we had our bond fire that we intended to have the night of the solstice, because the wind was too strong the night before. This night was perfect and we spent a long time after diner talking about anything and everything that came to mind. The tradition the Harringtons have is that if you are new to the bond fire, that you bring a stone to add to the ring. Each stone represents a person who once enjoyed the company of friends around the fire at the Carrying Place. It made me think of the Native American Peoples of Maine who must have made a fire to enjoy as they stopped and traveled on from perhaps this very site. So the next morning before we left for home, we all added a stone to the fire ring. A song came to mind from Kay Carter as we all joined her in singing an old hymn, " We are building an alter and we are the stone...We bring to the circle the gift of our love...", As we placed our stone into the fire ring.


" Sunset at Salomon's Cove, Swans Island" an oil 11 x 14 on canvas by Teddy-Jan Covell. Teddy-Jan Covell painting at the Hockamock Light, Swans Island.

We were all very grateful for the experience to stay on an island and design a painter's retreat.  We hope to do it again next year perhaps for a longer stay. The one vacation business that offers different affordable cottages that we recommend is Iver Lofving's wife, Maililani Bailey's business which is Swans Island Vacations at 207-526-4350.

There are too many paintings that were created that weekend to show for this newsletter. We recommend that you click on the highlighted names of the painters above and visit their web sites through links created. Enjoy!

Nora West Painted with us in Spirit!

Nora West took a day off work and painted with us in spirit. This is her painting of
"Bigelow from the Boise road" an oil on canvas by Nora West.

The Paint-out scheduled for today was at Newburry Neck Road in Surry, Maine

Today's Plein Air Connection Paint-out was at Newburry Neck Road in Surry, Maine. We found a point that we thought might be Newbury Neck Point. There were interesting weather beaten offshore trees there with a great view of the mountain range of Mount Desert Island in the distance. Karsten and I found two lobster traps washed up on the shore and added them to the composition. I included the banged up cages in my watercolor. The paint-out was attended by Karsten Kittleson, Kay Carter, and myself Michael E. Vermette. After we stopped at the Blue Hill Market and ordered sandwiches and they had excellent fried string beans! We ate out on their park benches and had our critique out there. The following are the works that were made today.

"Newburry Neck Point, Surry, Maine" a watercolor 19 x 24 inches by Michael E. Vermette.

"Newburry Neck Point, Surry, Maine" an oil on canvas 12 x 16 inches by Karsten Kittleson.

"Newburry Neck Point, Surry, Maine" a watercolor 11 x 20 inches by Kay Carter.

The Next Plein Air Connection Retreat is On Monhegan Island from July 5th to July 12th!

The Plein Air Connection group will be conducting another Plein Air Connection Retreat on Monhegan Island from July 5th to July 12th and hosting critiques at the Murdock house in the evenings. All are welcome to paint with us and join us for the critiques.  Please let me know if you intend to participate in the critiques by calling my Home: 207-827-7573 or Cell: 207-745-0070 for a schedule. 

Have a fantastic sun-filled week filled with unexpected visual surprises,

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection

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