THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION July 17, 2014

THE PlEIN AIR CONNECTION July 17, 2014


"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

If you enjoy this newsletter please feel free to share it. If you would like to receive it by way of e-mail, simply sign up for it by going to www.michealevermette.com.  

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THE PlEN AIR CONNECTION JUNE 27TH, 2014

THE PlEN AIR CONNECTION JUNE 27TH, 2014

  
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 artists 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 for us.  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 Parkwith 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, 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 down 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 each had a turn to place their paintings on the easel. We all  had the 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 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 painting was 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 because she wanted to make sure she painted 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.

   
"Mill Pond Park, 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 when they 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 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 themselves. 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. 


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. For 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 the Carrying Place. 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 on Swans Island.  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 I have created. Enjoy!

The Next Paint-out is Tuesday July 1st:at Newburry Neck Road in Surry, Maine

Our next Plein Air Connection Paint-out will be on Tuesday July 1st at Newburry Neck Road in Surry, Maine. If you would like to car pool with us please meet us in front of the Old Aubauchon Hardware store at Penobscot Plaze in Bangor, Maine by 8:00 am. We will be going to a restaurant after to share a meal and our painting experiences after. So please bring money for that, snacks for lunch and money to chip in for gas.

Also 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. 

Have a fantastic sun-filled week filled with unique experiences,

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection




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MECA Staff and Alumni Exhibition at The Gallery at Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island

Hello Everyone,
Please consider this a personal invitation to the MECA  Staff and Alumni Exhibition at The Gallery at Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island. I have been a faculty member through continuing education for over 14 years and am an alumni at Maine College of Art. This will be an exciting show local enough for many of my friends to attend.
Warm Regards,
Michael E. Vermette
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MECA Website Bachelors Masters Continuing Studies Art Education Artists at Work ICA
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MECA Alumni Exhibition
at
The Gallery at Somes Sound
Diane Fitch BFA '79
Anne Garland BFA '93
Connie Hayes BFA '80
Margaret Lawrence BFA '93
Grace Nelson BFA '82
Jude Valentine BFA '78
Mary Vaughan MFA '00
Michael Vermette BFA '80

 July 6 - 19, 2014
  Opening reception on Sunday, July 6 from 4:30 - 7:00PM,
1112 Main Street, Somesville, Maine 

(207) 244-1165
http://www.galleryatsomessound.com
 
For more information contact art@galleryatsomessound.com.

image: Michael Vermette, Tying the Net, Bar Harbor

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The Unfailing Muse: Monhegan June 27-August 31, 2014

Monhegan: The Unfailing Muse

Setting on the Backside, Don Stone

 
 
 
 
Dear Leslie,

 

Monhegan: The Unfailing Muse, an exhibit of work by more than two dozen Maine artists, is coming to Archipelago Fine Arts Gallery, 386 Main Street in Rockland, beginning with an opening reception on Friday, June 27th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Guests at the opening reception will enjoy refreshments, including beer being provided by Monhegan Brewing Company, featuring Lobster Cove Pale Ale, Shipwreck IPA, along with one of their signature sodas.

This eclectic show of oils, watercolors, pastels, papercuts and screen prints reflects the enduring allure of this small island 12 miles out to sea, and represents a wide range of talented artists who have found their inspiration on Monhegan. Several of them are featured in the art folio of the  2014 Island Journal, and will be on hand for the opening reception. The purpose of both the folio and the exhibition is to highlight the island's quadricentennial this year, which will be celebrated on August 5 and 6.

Artists include: Don Stone, Caleb Stone, Dyan Berk, Holly Brooks, Kevin Beers, Lynn Travis, Michael Torlen, Mike Stiler, Alice Boynton, Alison Hill, Bruce Kornbluth, Frances Kornbluth, Connie Hayes, David Vickery, Kate Cheney Chappell, Kenny Cole, Michael Vermette, Neal Hughes, Paul Niemiec, Robert Pollien, Susan Gilbert, Terry Hilt, William Manning, Ted Tihansky, Dylan Metrano and Carol Sloane.

Leith MacDonald of Leith MacDonald Art Services will be giving a brief talk about contemporary painting on Monhegan beginning at 6:00 in the gallery. 

Monhegan: The Unfailing Muse will run through August 29. Click here for a gallery of Monhegan images. For more information about the show or the receptions, please contact Lisa Mossel Vietze, Archipelago store and gallery manager, at 207-594-9209 x137 or lvietze@islandinstitute.org

.

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THE PlEN AIR CONNECTION JUNE 17TH, 2014



 
"The Red Pea pod at McHeard Cove"  an oil on panel 12 x 16 inches by Michael E. Vermette

Welcome New Newsletter Subscribers!

We would like to welcome all those who attended our first Plein Air Connection show at the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor and who signed up for our newsletter. We  appreciate you taking an interest in our work and coming out to view the many plein air paintings that were on display by Becky Whight, Kay Carter, Nora West and myself, Michael E. Vermette. Please feel free to follow-up on any one of us particularly with any works that you still might be interested in.  Just click on our name above to go to our web sites. It completes an artist when they are willing to share their work and we thank you for making us feel we are appreciated for what we do. So welcome to our newsletter list and get ready to follow us throughout these exciting summer months.

The Paint-out at East Blue Hill Last Tuesday June 10th , 2014.

Last Tuesday we painted at the boatyard off the Curtis Road in East Blue Hill, Maine. The artists present were Kay Carter, Becky Whight, Teddy-Jann Covell, Karsten Kittlelson and myself, Michael E. Vermette. Some of us painted the view of the islands in McHeard Cove from the boatyard that had a very long dock with interesting crisscross pylon patterns that led out to a fishing shack at its end where the wharf was located. I felt as if I had a dream of this very dock and was intrigued with it right from the start. But when we arrived the tide had come in and made it impossible to paint under the wharf as in my dream. So I painted as near to the wharf as I could within talking distance to my fellow painters friends. In fact I painted right next to Karsten who I had not painted with since last summer.

 
"Islands of McHeard Cove, East Blue Hill" an oil 8 x 10 inches by Karsten Kittelson

The sun played peek-a-boo with us all day as it would come out and then hide behind thick cloud cover. The wind picked up near the day's end and we even broke out our umbrellas for a short period due to a light rain. But we all stuck it out and painted beautiful works. After we went to The Fish Net restaurant  on main street in Blue Hill. There food was very delicious and they even had freshly caught Halibut and chips! We were able to have a group critique in their outdoor screened-in building behind the restaurant, which became a perfect place to view at our paintings one by one as we ate and enjoy each other's company.

 
"East Blue Hill Harbor, Maine" an oil 8 x 10 inches by Becky Whight.

The Next Paint-out is a Plein Air intensive on Swans Island!

To kick off the summer solstice the Plein Air Connection is hosting a plein air intensive weekend in honor of Robert Henri and his book, "The Art Spirit. " In 1903 Robert Henri first painted on Monhegan Island and was so taken by the island, he created 50 studies in just a few weeks. A few years later he returned to paint with two of his students, George Bellows and Randall Davey, with this same passion by challenging them to paint as many studies as they could in one day. This challenge that originated between teacher and students was fondly called "The Race" and is often replicated today as a great way to collect studies of a single area. Just as these painters did, the painter goes to 4 to 5 different sites in one day, painting at each location within a two-hour block of time.
We will be doing this at Swans Island on Sunday, June 22nd and Monday June 23rd. There will be four different sites that we will be going to each day including sunrises, early morning, afternoon and sunset sessions all at beautiful locations on the island. Five of us will be staying at a cottage on the island from Saturday to Tuesday including Greg and Arrah Vanier, Kay Carter, Becky Whight, and myself Michael E. Vermette who be hosting and participating in this event. For directions and ferry service for any of these two days please go to  Swans Island Maine State Ferry ServiceTo get the Swans Island Ferry you have to go to Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. Their telephone number is 207.244-3254. Please bring a lunch and call me at 207-827-7573 if you are coming over for one of the plein air intensive paint-out days.


     
Kay Carter painting at east Blue Hill                     "Red Boat at East Blue Hill" an oil 12 x 16 inches by Kay Carter

Although we do not consider these two intensive painting days a competitive race, we feel it is more an intensive marathon paint-out that
is beneficial for the painter in creating many quality studies in a short period as Henri and his students did. These paintings were small from 5 x 7
inches to 8 x 10 inches in size. So if you are going to take this adventurous challenge onto yourself, please bring at least 4-5 small canvases
or panels for each day. Also bring a lunch since there are not many places to eat on the island. For as many of you who can consider
making it on either of these two days, we look forward to painting with you. 


Making Solid Oak Gypsum Gesso panels at Kay Carter's House. 

This last Monday Becky Whight, Karsten Kittelson, Kay Carter and myself prepared over 40 highly prized solid oak gypsum gessoed panels as the old masters painted upon as a substrate for oil painting.  We made these at Kay Carter's garage with some innovative help from her husband Darrel and my own shared experiences making these panel for over 20 years. It was a long day as we worked to put 7 coats on all sides of our panels with a mixture of rabbit skin glue, terra alba, and zinc white pigment.  We will be using these for our painting intensive weekend on Swans Island and are looking forward to some quality results in our painting! If you would like to try making these panels for yourself you can go to "artist instruction" on my web site or click here. You will need to set aside two days for preparation, but like us, you will be very glad you did. The boards are made of solid oak panels more than 80% kiln dried and 5/16 inches thick.


Becky Whight, Karsten Kittelson, and Michael E. Vermette discussing the method 
of applying a gypsum coat on an oak board in Kay Carter's Garage. 

A Father's Perspective


Happy Father's Day to all you who are fathers! My church honored fathers last Sunday for their source of wisdom for their children and even children that are not their own. Fathers are like artists-teachers who have gone through their ups and downs in the art world and who impart wisdom generously to their students and friends. They are often taken for granted but we all know that our lives would not be the same without them. My pastor, Sr. Minister, Russ Hewett, shared 3 pearls of wisdom that his father shared with him. The one I particularly liked was this one: "The Man on top of the mountain didn't fall there." Early this Friday morning, I will be hiking with my friend Glen to Chimney Pond on a mountain called Katahdin. The wisdom shared by Russ' father resonates in me of the life of a painter. It's a lot of work that you just don't fall into. People will tell you all kinds of things that can discourage you. But if you keep on climbing you will eventually get there with signs of the summit all the way. The secret is to have the ability to share what you have learned on the way. It qualifies you to learn more and climb higher.
So for you fathers, we honor you and hope you had a great day. And for you painters who might be just starting out, I'd like to give you some good advice.  That is, from a father who has painted for more than 40 years, "Keep on climbing, keep on painting, no matter what people say, and no matter what your present circumstances may look like. You will get to the place you dream of, if you are willing to share your experiences on the way. Never give up or give in and never, never expect your dreams to fall in your lap, you must climb to meet greatness!"

I hope you all have a week filled with expanded wisdom that reaches to new levels in your art,

Michael E. Vermette
The Coordinator of The Plein Air Connection 






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EXCLUSIVE ONE-DAY PAINTING SALE AT THE ARTWALK!

EXCLUSIVE ONE-DAY PAINTING SALE

 
FOUR PLEIN AIR CONNECTION ARTISTS AT THE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER IN BANGOR, ME!

THIS IS IT! SAVE THE DATE! This Friday June 13th starting at 4:30 PM four Plein Air Connection artists will be having a HUGE ART WALK SALE at the Peace and Justice Center on 96 Harlow Street, Suit 100, Bangor, Maine 04401.  The artists who are represented are Kay Carter, Becky Whight, Nora West and Michael E. Vermette. This Friday is the last day of their show and they are expected to have an exceptional one-day sale of their paintings that includes a 10% discount on all paintings on the wall and a $100.00 dollar each sale on unframed paintings displayed on the table. This is a great opportunity to support these artists, the Peace and Justice Center and pick up a valuable painting for practically no money. But it's only for one day and one day only. So please come out and meet the artists and buy lots of new art for your walls at a reasonable price!


For Directions Call Michael E. Vermette, the Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection, at his cell at 745-0071 or the Peace and Justice Center at (207) 942-9343 for directions.

VISIT US FRIDAY AT THE ART WALK!
96 Harlow Street
Suite 100
Bangor Maine 04401


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THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER June 9th, 2014

THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER June 9th, 2014


" Becky, Kay, and Michael, I Love seeing your paintings this month. So inspired and colorful they are!"
 - A Comment From fellow plein air painter and friend Michael Shyka


"Goodell Brook Falls, Monroe, Maine" an oil 12 x 16 inches on panel by Michael E.Vermette.


We started out on Tuesday, June 3rd, with very encouraging weather and the promise of clear skies in the 70's.  Although many painters are heading to the coast at this time of year we chose a different direction. Our destination for our paint-out was inspired by the East-West Corridor Art Sale to help raise money and support the opposition of building an East West highway through our state between Calais to the East, Coburn Gore to the West, Bangor to the South, and Baxter State Park to the North. Our goal was to create paintings together as a group for a very special art show and fundraiser in Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island during high tourist season between August 13-19, 2014. We will be applying this week to the East-West Corridor Art Sale by this week with these and other paintings we've made throughout the year.


"Goodell Falls, Monson" an oil on panel 12 x 16 inches by Kay Carter.

  Our paint-out also had a trip advisor by the name of Ron Dobra who lives with his wife in Shirley Mills, Maine. Ron is a friend of Kay Carter. She told me that Ron is a retired music teacher, having taught in the Greenville and Lincoln Schools.  He is a volunteer for the Appalachian Trail Conference as manager of maintenance of the Appalachian Trail from Monson to Jo-Mary Lake.  He is very familiar with Monson and the surrounding trails.  He shared with us that painting at Goodell Brook Falls just north of Monson on route 15 would be just the falls for us to paint in Piscataquis County. One of Ron’s achievement's is completing thru hikes on all three major trails in this country including the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. So when such a hiker recommends a place to you such as Goodell Brook Falls, you tend to listen and we were glad we did. 



"Tumbling Goodell Falls, Monson" an oil 12 x 16 inches by Becky Whight.

 We found that the falls were not far from the parking lot as we decided to scout out the area before choosing our painting sites. Then after discovering our locations we went back and got out our gear. We all slathered ourselves with insect repellant and headed out to face the black flies who were out in force waiting for us. Becky Whight painted further up on the brook with Nora West who found us on landscape later in the day. Then Kay Carter and Teddy Jan painted vertical canvases of perhaps the most popular view with only enough room for two painters. I decided to paint on a large rock further down in the river bed, with water rushing around be. I had the most problems with black flies because of where I was so close to the water. I wore a mosquito hat to shield my face because they were getting into my eyes. I wore the hat and was glad I did for most of the painting until afternoon when they let up a little. I also did a horizontal because, depending on where you stood, the composition for me was wider. Ron Dobra met us out there and stayed with us for quite a while, shaking our paint stained hands with a warm greeting. It was great to meet such a fellow artist and experienced thru hiker smartly dressed in hiking gear right down to his hiking poles.


"Goodell Falls, Monson" an oil on canvas 8x10 inches by Nora West.

  We all completed our paintings at about 2:30 PM in the afternoon and were back to the car by 3:00 PM after breaking down and hiking back out on the trail along the brook. We than went to the greatly anticipated restaurant of Rebekah Anderson's Lakeshore House. LLCBasically it's a very popular AT stop over and local pub that has been open since June of 2006. It is a very cozy, family friendly place on Lake Hebron where we decided to eat. They have a pristine outdoor seating as well as an intimate bar and dining area just steps from the lake. Their full service bar features unique beer and wine choices as well as a great selection of spirits, coffees, teas and frozen drinks! Their reasonably priced pub fare menu is largely homemade and very delicious. 



 We ate outside overlooking the lake and after we had our critique right in the pub. The discussion is different when you have painted with someone for a few hours than when you haven't. And so the critiques have become more of a supportive sharing of respected recommendations based on similar painting experiences.  This has become very valuable to the participating painters in our group. Rebekah and a few others also viewed our works favorably and  showed us her new addition of a dining room. She welcomed us to show our paintings some day. This would be a wonderful alternative exhibition space to display art for the many diversified client's that pass through there. So we welcomed her to view our paintings at the Art Walk This Friday June 13th at the Peace and Justice Center. 

EXCLUSIVE PLEIN AIR PAINTING SALE AT THE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER IN BANGOR FRIDAY JUNE 13 TH!

  Four of us Plein Air Connection group artists, including Kay Carter, Becky Whight, Nora West and I, will be having an exclusive Art Sale of our paintings at the Peace and Justice of Eastern Maine Center 170 Park Street in Bangor, Maine. This is a fantastic opportunity to help out the causes of the Peace and Justice Center and help us out to continue to paint. As much as it is important for us to get out there to paint the images, it is just as important for the collectors to support us by purchasing our paintings. Both the artist and the collector have the responsibility to further the arts in our area. For this reason all of our paintings will be discounted 10% and we'll have over 40 framed works on the wall and a table of just as many pieces that are unframed paintings for a one-day sale price, starting at only $100.00 dollars. We will be there from 5PM until done, and the Art Walk marks the last day of the show. So please come out on this last chance to see our work in person, purchase many paintings and meet the artists who are about to engage in a rigorous Summer Plein Air painting schedule. We can't do what we do without your support! You are all invited!

PAINT-OUT THIS WEEK IS AT BLUE HILL PUBLIC WHARF!

 We will be meeting to car-pool at the Dunkin Donuts on 71 US Route 1, Bucksport, ME by 8:30 to 8:45 am; then proceeding to the Blue Hill Public Wharf to paint for the day. 

Directions to Bucksport, ME:

Suggested routes from Bangor:
ME-15 S 19.3 mi - about 31 mins
US-1A E and ME-46 S 23.5 mi - about 38 mins

291-297 Maine 100, Bangor, ME 04401, USA
19.3 mi - about 31 mins
  1. Head east on Hammond Sttoward Union St
56 ft
2. Slight right onto Union St
0.6 mi
  3. Continue onto Wilson St
472 ft
4. Turn right onto S Main St
0.9 mi
  5. Continue onto ME-15 S/S Main St
Continue to follow ME-15 S
Destination will be on the left
17.7 mi

141-157 U.S. 1, Dunkin Donuts, Bucksport, ME 04416, USA



Come out and support the fine arts this week,

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of The Plein Air Connection

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The PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER June 2nd, 2014


The PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER June 2nd, 2014


"Ducks at the Azalea Gardens" an oil 11 x 14 inches by Michael E. Vermette.

We started out for the Asticou Azalea Gardens from the Penobscot Plaza in Bangor by 8:30 am. The sun was already breaking through with blue patches of sky which is always a good sign. Kay Carter and I car-pooled in her truck and we met Becky Whight at the Ellsworth Dunkin Donuts by 8:30 am. Then we continued toward Northeast Harbor and easily found the Asticou Azalea Gardens. When we arrived there we first scouted out the sites to paint by walking the perfectly manicured paths. We quickly discovered that the azaleas  weren't fully in bloom. But never-the-less, there were plenty of beautiful views to choose from and the garden was now completely sun-bathed in early morning light. There is something very hopeful about morning light, it is always worth the difficulty it takes to be there in time to paint it. 



The Asticou Azalea Garden was the idea of designer Charles K. Savage. It was made possible through the generosity of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1956-57.  This garden is unique because you can find many different species of azaleas and other beautiful trees and shrubs that were brought over from the former Reef Point Gardens of Beatix Farrand, in Bar Harbor, Maine. There are strongly developed Japanese motifs present especially in the Sand Garden.


The Sand Garden at the Asticou Azalea Garden.


There are new varieties added to the garden each year. And I particularly found it interesting that Like the Ashcan school that Robert Henri inspired, this garden also tries to combine the ideas of the East and the West, rather than purely Japanese. Today this garden is owned and maintained by the Island foundation.


Becky Whight painting at the Asticou Azalea Garden.

Becky found a place across the pond looking back to the garden's restful reflections in it's pond. There is a  brook that feeds the pond with fresh water and nine ducklings swim across the pond frequently several times a day to the delight of the visitors who are asked to stay to the well-groomed paths when possible. 


"The Asticou Azalea Garden" 11 x 14 inches by Becky Whight.

Kay was the first to find her site, a secluded section with an excellent view of stone, water reflections and garden color. In my search I discovered that they had an environmental bathroom that is kinder to the environment by using very little water. Not in a hurry, I eventually settled on the lawn behind Becky where I painted a more expansive view of the garden's reflections in the pond. I was in the shade most of the day, but as we all had to do eventually I attached my umbrella to escape from the hot sun that blinds the painter from seeing any amount of true color at all. There were two other painters who appeared to be painting in oil and watercolor just across from us. They came after we did and left before we could talk with them.


"The Asticou Azalea Garden" an oil on panel 11 x 14 inches by Kay Carter.

Later on in the day as we were all finishing up at around 3 PM in the afternoon a beautiful bride only hours before she would be married, came with her photographer to pose just where I was standing. Something as beautiful as a bride dressed in white can so completely change the landscape visually that it could take the want right out of working any longer on your original painting idea. This was the case for me. I also looked for movement in my original painting so I put the ducks crossing in the upper foreground when I got back to may studio.



On our way back Kay googled different restaurants in the area and found that Southwest Harbor was our best bet. That was when we drove into a large parking lot away from all the construction and business and found Jay Dub's Restuarant located on 19 Clark Point Road, Southwest Harbor, Maine. This place I would recommend in a heart beat. Everything they serve is made fresh, is home made and is bought local. Jay-Dub's is the nick name of the owner Jon Walker "JW" which is branded on the bun of their famous Jay Dubs Burgers. We were able to meet the owner who has been open for about 5 years . He and his wonderful staff treated us to a sample of their popular Blueberry Lemonade which was to die for. They allowed us to have our traditional critique and even came over to check out our wet paint works. When ever you are in this area, we recommend that you stop by Jay Dub's, as we plan to do the next time we're in Southwest Harbor, for the East-West Corridor Art Show

TOMORROW'S PAINT-OUT AT GOODELL BROOK FALLS IN MONSON, MAINE

Tuesday June 3rd we will be painting at Goodell Brook Falls just north of Monson on route 15. We will be meeting at 8 am at the Grace Church parking lot on route 15, 1404 Broadway, Bangor, Maine if you would like to car-pool with us. Please bring plenty of insect repellant because the black flies are out in force. Also a snack or lunch, money for a restaurant stop over on the way back and for auto expenses for the driver. 


a Popular View of Goodell Brook Falls


DIRECTIONS: Drive 3.6 miles north of Monson on Route 15. Park at the Appalachian Trail parking area. Take the AT 0.2 miles downhill to Goodell Brook. Follow the brook downstream for 150 yards (no trail) to the upper waterfall. This short bushwhack is easier on the west bank. Continue downstream to view additional waterfalls.

Click on map to enlarge.
Map of Goodell Brook, Monson
Photos: ©Bob Hamer

We hope all who can make it to our paint-out with us tomorrow will come and join us just off the Appalachian Trail as we prepare to paint for the East-West Corridor Art Sale.

Have a productively creative week,

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection 

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PLEIN AIR CONNECTION PAINT-OUT: The Astico Azalea Garden

PLEIN AIR CONNECTION PAINT-OUT: The Astico Azalea Garden

The next Plein Air Connection Paint-out will be Saturday May 31st at The Astico Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine. The following information comes from their web site:


asticou azalea garden

The Asticou Azalea Garden
Modeled after a classic Japanese garden, the Asticou Azalea Garden explodes each Spring in every imaginable shade of pink, coral, crimson and peach. Stroll its paths and discover quaint stone bridges over a bubbling stream that leads to a placid pool that reflects this dazzling burst of color. Ancient stone lanterns peek out from among the plantings, and benches everywhere invite quiet contemplation of this serene scene. After a summer clothed in quiet greens, the color returns, this time the blazing reds, yellows and oranges of a New England Autumn! The Azalea Garden is owned and maintained by the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve.


asticou azalea garden

Thuya Gardens & Thuya Lodge
Named for the site's abundant white cedars (Thuja occidentalis), Thuya Gardens is part of what is known as Asticou Terraces, created by Boston landscape architect Joseph Henry Curtis. An English-style, semi-formal perennial garden, it was adapted for Coastal Maine by Charles Savage. The result is a marvelous surprise of gorgeous, formal flower beds against a backdrop of craggy granite outcrops and alpine woods so typical of downeast Maine! Thuya Gardens, Thuya Lodge, and the Asticou Terraces are owned and maintained by the Mount Desert Land & Garden Preserve.

Directions: 

We will be car-pooling from Penobscot Plaza in Bangor in front of the old Aubachon Hardware store by 8:00 am. We will also stop at the Dunkin Donuts in Ellsworth for those who would like to car-pool from there by 8:30 am. If you plan on taking your own car from Ellsworth, take Route 3 South following the signs to Mount Desert Island. Just after you come onto the Island, the road forks – bear RIGHT onto Route 102. Proceed on Rte. 102 until you come to a traffic light. Turn LEFT at the light, onto Route 3/198. Continue STRAIGHT on Rte. 3/198 toward Northeast Harbor. Just before you reach the town, turn left onto Route 3, otherwise known as Peabody Drive. The parking lot for a walk up the terrace to the Lodge and Garden will be on your right, approximately 3/10 mile from this intersection. To access the upper hill area by car, proceed another 1/3 mile to Thuya Drive on your left. Follow the drive to the top of the hill where there is limited parking for cars.



Please bring a lunch or snacks, money for a restaurant/critique stop on the way back and to pitch in for gas.

 

Hope to paint with you tomorrow, it looks like a great day for painting,

Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection

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