THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION PAINTOUT IS CANCELLED FOR TUESDAY APRIL 15th, 2014
Michael E. Vermette painting en plein air, "Full Moon Over Katahdin" at Katahdin Lake.
Photo by National Geographic Photographer Bridget Besaw.
Because of the "blood Moon" that will be out tonight at 2 am I thought of this photo taken of me by National Geographic
photographer Bridget Besaw back in the Fall of 2007. She was photographing several artists for her book, "Wilderness Within
Wilderness Without, Exploring Maine's Thoreau Wabanaki Trail." And even though the picture above did not make the final
cut of the book, I still think it's a actively beautiful photo.
But due to drizzly and heavy rain all day in the forecast, our Paint-out scheduled for Tuesday April 155th at Sand Beach is once again cancelled. What we will do is reschedule the paint-out at Sand Beach, Acadia National Park for next Tuesday April 22nd. We will also have another paint-out for Friday April 25th of that same week on Ocean Drive at Acadia National Park. For both paint outs we will meet at 8:30 am at Penobscot Plaze in the parking lot in front of the old Aubachon Hardware store in Bangor, Maine. We will also stop at Dunkin Donuts in Ellsworth by 9 am to meet up with other painters who might want to join us.
There are a lot of Plein Air wet paint auctions and shows that are beginning to shape the Spring into summer months and so I thought that I would list some of them in case any of you would like to take part or attend.
The Castine Plein Air Festival 2014 entry deadline is April 30th. It is juried and notification is May 6th. Free lodging with host members of the Castine Arts Association who is sponsoring it. The festival will be Thursday July 24th to Saturday July 26th, 2014. For more information contact email@example.com.
The Bangor Art Society Open Show In-take on Saturday May 3rd on the third floor of the Bangor Art Society. For more information go to www.thebangorartsociety.com. This is a juried show from May 3rd to May 26th, 2014.
The 3rd Annual Paint The Peninsula is a wet paint silent auction to help support the Blue Hill Public Library on SaturdayJuly 19th, 2014. The work will be auctioned off that same day 4:30-7 PM. Free registration and the event is open to all plein air painters. For more info contact the Blue Hill library at 374-5515.
9th Annual Paint The Town Paint Out and Fresh Paint Auction is Saturday August 2nd, 2014. You need to pre-register at the Tidemark Gallery in Waldoboro, Maine. For more information call 207.832-5109 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eggamogen Reach Regatta plein air sale 2014, There will be a wet painting sale at the Camden Falls Gallery fromAugust 4th through August 9th, 2014. For more information contact Howard at 207.407-7027 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Bangor Paint Out & Auction 2014, Painting a pathway to the Bog. August 16th, 2014. At the Gracie Center. This is a non-juried wet paint live auction. For more information contact www.thebangorartsociety.com.
Eastport 16th Annual Paint Eastport Day and is Saturday, August 30th, 2014. This is a non-juried silent wet paint auction from 7 am to 3PM. For more information call 853-4166 or go to www.eastportgallery.com.
I hope we can all take part in some if not all of these these wonderful plein air auctions & paint-outs this summer.
Have a creative week, and a blessed Passover & Easter weekend,
Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection
THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER for April 5th, 2014
"Sand Beach, Acadia National Park" an oil on gypsum Oak board 8 x 10 inches by Michael E. Vermette
Our next Paint-out will be Tuesday April 15th at Sand Beach on Ocean Drive in Acadia National Park. Presently it is free admittance. Please bring snacks for lunch and we will be going out to a restaurant after to share our work with each other. Also, please be advised that if there is a cancellation due to rain, like there was this week, I will send out a newsletter notice by 7:30 am that morning. For those who will be car pooling with us, we will meet at 8:30 am in front of the old Aubauchon's Hardware store at the Penobscot Plaze. We will also stop at the Dunkin Donuts in Ellsworth to meet other painters who might like to car-pool with us at 9:00 am. For those of you who would like to join us these paintouts are free, however we do ask you to chip in for gas if you are riding with someone and to bring snacks for lunch/money for the restaurant after. Painting en plein air is a lot of fun and you are most welcome to join us.
Kay Carter and I were the only ones at the last Plein Air Connect Group discussion and we both brought our calendars. We began our discussion with some dates to mark down for future Plein Air Connect paint-outs. First of all our last Plein Air Connect book discussion meeting will be Saturday April 19th. We will read from page 221 to the end of Robert Henri's book, "The Art Spirit" on page 271. Since it will be our last book discussion meeting, we are having a pot luck luncheon and everyone is invited to bring something to share by noon. We will meet again in the Fall with a new book to discuss and suggestions are always welcomed.
On Saturday April 26th I will be picking up paintings at the Maine Open Juried Show 2014 in Waterville, Maine by 10 am. Then there is the deadline for the Castine Plein Air Festival at firstname.lastname@example.org which is April 30th, 2014. I hope many of us will be able to take part in this juried festival that even offers housing for its artists. Also the Bangor Art Society is hosting our own Maine Open Juried Show on Saturday May 3rd, 2014. The in-take to register paintings is between 10 am -12 noon. Judging will end by 2:30 PM and the event takes place on the third floor of the Bangor Public Library.
We are looking to paint on some coastal islands off the coast of Maine such as Baker's Island, Swans Island, and even Bailey's Island. We will get back to you on dates. The Plein Air Connection week-long Paintout on Monhegan Island is between July 5th to July 12th, 2014. We have one cottage filled already and are very excited to paint together with the other paint groups who are also going out there at that time including members of the Bangor Art Society. there are five cottages in all being rented by artists and it's shaping up to be a very exciting summer.
Our book discussion began by focusing on what Robert Henri was writing as a criticism to a student regarding how he would never become a popular painter and that he is too much of an individual for that. He went on to explain that his is a harder task with fewer encouragers. He made the final point of stating that the popular painter is not in for as good a time as he is. Could exciting adventures lie in our individual creative decisions? Do popular painters somehow trade their individuality for popular ways of painting and therefore have less fun and adventure in their lives? We thought so. We thought that the only reason to change the course of our own creative individuality would be because of an intelligent revelation revealed to us in our medium that counts strong in our lives. Henri's words could be taken as a metaphor as well as compositional wisdom when he states:
" Never change the course of a line until you have to. Never change the plane of a form until you have to. Never change the tone of a color or from one color to another until you have to. If you follow these injunctions intelligently you will practice the great economy which is necessary to expression in your medium. " - Robert Henri p. 203 The Art Spirit.
How many times do we affect change in our art to respond to public demand? Henri is saying in this section, don't do it. Be a straight driver painting the essence of things. If we can only avoid filling up our painting surfaces with "decorative by-play" for the purpose to make those spaces more beautiful, getting rid of the clutter; we would make room for fullness in our paintings. We can only do this by being "game" to take the risk of being ourselves. We need take the very real chance to go forward with what we have to say without being too ponderous. We need to live a life of art by sacrificing the many common and overestimated things the world places value on. many artists showed great courage by not doing the expected. Painters like Edward Manet, John Leech, Rembrant, John Sloan and William Glackens all followed their individual whim and told the public what they wanted them to know, like when children are taken to a museum and often speak their personal appreciations. We discussed how the Plein Air Connect group is becoming a group of artists who go out off the beaten paths, whether beaten by ourselves or by others, and have real adventures with the unknown. We can't just paint a landscape; lots of clever people can paint anything without real worth. We must see a landscape rather than paint it cleverly so that our paintings are worth while.
We also talked about how we must really know our tools. Its is real important that we reach out to investigate and utilize what is out there for us to use as tools. We must have the best, but we also must be courageous enough in our judgement and skill to employ them into our service. We can't put binding limitations on how we create our art by restricting what we use; such as choosing between photography vs. life drawing. The modern landscape and portrait painter uses both photographs and life drawings, not restricting one from the other. Some are against tracing images all together as a tool for seeing and yet we learn to draw by tracing with our eyes. To be above the tools that are available to us today to create our images as if we were dreamy geniuses is a very common misconception of how the best master's actually worked. The whole success in self-expression depends on such things as order and balance that is the work itself. It is not limiting your creativity to traditional materials as much as it is using tools that will produce excellence in balance and order.
The thing to do is for each individual to wake up, to discover himself as a human being, with needs of his own. To look about, learn from all sources, look within, and find if he can invent for himself a vehicle for his self-expression. He has a world of precedents to begin on, some within his sight, and more can be found. Let him move about a bit; investigate the needs of his own case." - Robert Henri p.211 The Art Spirit.
We mustn't let the fact that things and conditions that are not the way they should be, stop us from working. Everything really does depend on us choosing to move forward anyway. To begin to educate ourselves by testing things out as they apply to us. We must look beyond the expected and use the wisdom of the past to build upon. We talked about how our care toward art mirrors our interest in life and how useless it is to study technique before you have a life motive. Instead of technical tricks we should study the particular technique we feel most in need of that serves our ideas, emotions or expressions. We talked about how being an artist is being a person who constructs a desirable life, and that is possible for us all.
I went to see a movie a few nights ago called, "Noah." I really enjoyed it. But there is a lot of negative talk on facebook of how the movie is not historically accurate, non-biblical and many won't go to see the movie because the story does not follow the biblical story word for word. I couldn't help but see a parallel to how sometimes we as artists won't experience something because of the limitations we place on ourselves. For me the movie was more about a story of love and mercy than historical rightness. The director is a self-professed agnostic who drew on many Jewish scholars who helped influence the story line. No doubt drawing from books not included in the bible, for after all it is a Jewish story in the first place. And Jewish Scholars use a technique called "mid-rash" which I'm told is a sort of sharing of scripture from different points of view to get a more complete version of the whole mind of God. It's a type of open-ended way to approach scripture. Elliot W. Eisner who wrote the book, "Educating Artistic Vision" talks about the imortance of the expressional objectives to balance off instructional objectives. In other words, a teaching plan that is open-ended that has no expected outcome other than the artist investigating the medium. If only we could approach our own conversations with that perspective of not being challenged by what is shared by another artist, but feel free to try it out or not. For every work is one man's vision, an outside experience that is useful for us in our own art form. The wisdom and mistakes of the past are built upon what has been created and is already a part of our artistic heritage. But what we really miss out on when we place limits upon ourself is the genuine interest in life and our paintings suffer for it. I think our biggest regret in life will be that we didn't allow ourselves to experience what inspired us. To get a great deal of inspiration from a work of art does not mean that you are expected to follow it whole-heartedly, in part or even at all. Allowing yourself to be exposed to what genuinely inspires you will automatically include you in the conversation. The saddest thing is to watch a artist take themselves out of the what truly might have influenced them in a positive way. We don't have to agree, we simply have to muster the courage up to actually be ourselves. That is where we find the deepest meaning if our lives.
I would like to end with what Kay said about the way we begin as an artist and I hope I get this right. She said that she sees all the influences, tools and artists that inspire us all as the members of a orchasta warming up. We are a part of this. It can be very noisy and seemingly random. But when the baton is tapped there is silence. And in that moment of silence all eyes are upon the conductor who then raises his baton, every musician and the audience too hanging on that great expectation. What a great way to describe how we might approach our art and our lives.
Have a fruitful week filled with the courage and great expectation to be yourself,
Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection
THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER for April 4th, 2014
"Spring Thaw at Abol Stream, Katahdin" an oil on board 11 x 14 inches by Michael E. Vermette
When I arise each morning I look out my upstairs window that faces east to see the sunrise. Last Tuesday it was breaking through the clouds that were parting. It put a smile on my face because I knew in just a few hours I would be standing before my mountain, Katahdin; against bright blue shies. And so it was that we met at Dysart's restaurant at Hudson road, off the Old Town road exit. I walked right up to Kay Carter who was getting out of her truck, looked at her square in the eyes and asked," Are You Still In There?" She laughed as we loaded my gear into her truck. Kay just underwent laser surgery for her left eye and here she was bright-eyed and ready to give Abol Bridge another go. Karry Maldanado also met up with us and soon after we loaded her gear in off we all went in the truck North towards Millinocket.
"Katahdin at Abol Campground" and oil on canvas 12 inches by 16 inches by Karry Maldanado
We were so confident that Abol Bridge store on the golden road would be open that we didn't even stop in Millinocket. But it was a mistake, because they were closed and seemingly the only ones there except a man standing and waving in the distance. When we got closer we were able to see that it was Greg Cyr. He decided to meet us at the store and got their early enough to do some scouting around for potential painting sites. We all surmised that the store was closed, like Baxter State Park, due to mud season. We all walked together over to the Penobscot river on the iron Abol Bridge that displayed an amazing panoramic view reminiscent of views by Frederic Church. But the wind was too strong and the space too narrow to set up on the bridge so we gave up that idea.
View from the Iron Abol Bridge on the Golden Road. Photo taken by Michael E. Vermette.
Then Greg suggested that we paint down at Abol Campground on at the Northern end just to the right of the photo above. From the bridge we could see where Greg had already set up his easel and we all agreed that not only would it offer grand views but it more importantly would be out of the direct wind.
"Katahdin from Abol Bridge" an oil on board 12 x 16 inches by Greg Cyr.
The early morning commute started out in the twenties but by afternoon it warmed up tremendously, even to the point where we could take our snow suits off. There was plenty of snow that was now softened by the dramatic change in temperature. So needless to say, as we worked our way down into the campground we would walk along the top of the snow a few steps then every third step sink sometimes above our knees. This made hiking very exhausting so it was agood thing that we didn't venture very far in the snow and we were thankful of hikers who broke trail in places and a old snowmobile trail now since covered over with new fallen snow. All of us carried heavy packs filled with art gear making us weigh even more and the sinking of footfalls even more dangerous. But we took our time and we all helped each other to our respected painting sites.
Kay Carter on top of the deep snow before sinking to knee level on the trail in Abol Campground.
Kay Carter painted to the left of the photo above choosing to paint at one of the picnic tables available. She focused on a group of trees that were planted on the snowy banks between the Penobscot River and Abol Stream. She didn't paint the mountain at all, but a beautiful grouping of trees planted along the shores of these two powerful flowing currents. She quoted a poem by John Burroughs from 1886, that seems to describe our painting experiences and the feeling of the day.
"Tree composition at the outlet of Abol Stream and the Penobscot River" an oil 12 x 16 inches by Kay Carter.
Kay says " the Words of John Burroughs' from 1886 came to mind. In 1983 I created a piece of calligraphy with the words. They got stuck in my mind then and like to pop back out each year when the time is right. April 1st was the day. The words guided my quest for a painting composition: "
Karry painted near where Greg painted and I hiked the furthest down the stream into a shaded area where the shadows of the trees in the campground stretched across the old snowmobile trail. Just as we all began to sketch, two eagles flew up the river right in front of us. We grabbed for our cameras but they flew just out of sight and perched in the trees across Abol stream and the Penobscot giving themselves excellent views up river. They were mates performing Ariel maneuvers that would make most single engine airplanes stall. They flew so high in the sky as they circled and swooped each other for almost a half hour before they flew out of sight just dots in the sky.
For me and my colleagues, the morning light was what I was after today. But it was the surprise of seeing an unexpected reflection of the mountain in the stream. This view was so crisp with clarity in the early morning light that it was moving to witness. The shadows gave a sense of movement and there was an interesting rhythm that was supported by counter compliments that caused me to include bold accents. The morning light was the best that day because it had less haze and atmosphere which seemed to augment the sheer size of Katahdin. I tried to create the rhythmic forms that pass through the snow laden landscape and continue in the open water stream. With all the new fallen snow and the warming up of the temperature in the high 30's, there were large chunks of snow and ice sliding into the stream causing a dramatic splash and ripple. It happened time and agin throughout the day and so close to me I questioned if I were on ice or solid ground. With all the snow present it was hard to tell. I could only imagine how desperate my situation would be if I too slid into the river easel and all. But in the end I found that I was on the bank, just very close to the river. I needed to get as close to the subject as I possibly could. It is the zone that you walk into that is close enough to the subject that you become so present it it that it affects and even influences how you paint it.
At 2:30 PM in the afternoon the painting changed and seemed to even flatten as there was very little definition of form. So we packed up all at the same time and went to the River Driver's Restaurant where we all brought in our paintings in and shared with each other our accomplishments for the day. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, great food, wonderful staff and another beautiful view of the mountain in the afternoon shadow defining the faceted quality of Katahdin. We met Sarah Hunt there and talked briefly with her about our idea of setting up a Plein Air Painting Event through their Facility and at the Twin Pines location. She seed open to the idea and we hope to discuss it at a later time.
When I got home I received the very good news that I have been chosen as one of the painters who will be participating in "The 7th Paint For Preservation" wet paint auction this year at Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, Cape Elizabeth Maine. This wet paint auction take place on Sunday July 13th. I also will be participating in the Quadricentennial exhibit with my recent oil painting, "Silver Sunset, Monhegan Island." The show will run from July 28th through August 9th, 2014 and my painting will be displayed at one of the three island venues: The Island Inn, the Monhegan House, or the Trailing Yew. My work has also been accepted into the Archipelago Fine Art Gallery in an exhibit called "Celebrate Monhegan". This show is sponsored by the Island Institute and will also open in July. "Silver Sunset, Monhegan" has been selected to appear in a major 2014 Island Journal folio with Carl Little writing the introductory essay. I'll fill you in as details progress and try to post the article we get closer to that event in July.
"Silver Sunset, Monhegan Island" an oil on linen 21 1/2 x 29 inches by Michael E. Vermette
The Plein Air Connect book discussion will be meeting this Saturday May 5th at Grace Church, Holy Grounds Coffee Shop at 1404 Broadway, Bangor, Maine. The meeting is free and we will have free coffee and tea. No soup this time so please bring snacks if you'd like. We will be discussing Robert Henri's book from the Letter of Criticism on page 200 to the Letter of Criticism on page 221. The discussions have been very lively and enriching lately especially to those who have come on a regular basis. If you have never attended one of these book discussions we would love you to come and take part in the discussion. As with everything worth doin, it is free.
We will also be painting this Tuesday at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. For those who would like to car pool or just follow someone by car we will meet in front of the old Aubuchon hardware store in the Penobscot Plaze at 8:30 am. We will also meet at the Ellsworth Dunkin Donuts at 9:00 am if any of you would like to join us there.
May you all have an open-ended weekend, filled with many unexpected artistic surprises and revelations,
Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection.
"View Of Crawford Notch From Elephant Head, New Hampshire" an oil on oak panel 8 x 10 inches by Michael E. Vermette
This painting workshop focuses on three proven methods of working inthe studio to make larger and more
finished paintings from painted sketches, studies, and photographs made en plein air. The instructor will
demonstrate the traditional “cartoon” tracing method used by famous artists’ who painted from memory
to develop value in transferring an image. He will also show how modern painter’s work with photography
and the digital camera, painting directly from their laptop and how to use an opaque projector correctly to
create accurate proportions as in the original studies painted on site. Students will also learn how to carry
over the freshness and excitement of the plein air study in the larger painting by examining when to stop
and when a painting is finished. The instructor will demonstrate from a study of his own and make
suggestions toward using the right technique, composition, and subject development in creating an effective
large painting. Painters may work in watercolor or oil painting mediums. Michael will also have on
hand visual examples to share with the class. This workshop is for anyone who has ever had difficulty making
a larger painting from a smaller study or sketch. Participants are required to bring their own
supplies. A supply list will be emailed upon registration.(bring your own lunch or it can be ordered out)
Please contact us if you are coming in from out of town and need help with accomodations.
Sat., & Sun., May 31 & June 1 9am-5pm $195
From Plein Air to Studio
Turn your painted studies into large finished paintings...
with Michael Vermette - You can view his work at www.michaelevermette.com
Sign up on our website, WWW.JACKSONARTNH.COM
OR CALL (603) 387-3463 for details.
Jackson Art is located in Jackson NH in the White Mountains 155 Ridge Rd. Jackson, NH 03846Comment on or Share this Article →
THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER March 25th, 2014
"Feeding The Gulls Lobster Shells" a watercolor 20 x 26 inches by Michael E. Vermette
There was a crisp chill in the air but encouragingly bright and sunny when we all met at the parking lot of the original Dysarts truck stop and restaurant in Hampden, Maine. Becky Whight, Kay Carter, Linda Stearns, Anne McKay and myself all car-pooled together to Waterville to take part in the Maine Open Juried Show sponsored by the Waterville Area Art Society and Waterville Main Street. With the exception of Ann who joined us for the first time, we all entered two paintings each to be juried into the show. They had an amazing group of judges selecting the pieces having over 84 pre-registered artists and over 168 paintings if you count the walk-in entries for that day. Robert Drewal, Helena Farrar's, and Patricia King were the judges and between them they either taught art for over 40 years, had multiple master degrees in Fine Art among them, or held the distinction of the assistant Director of the Colby College Art Museum. Our plan was to take advantage of every moment we had waiting for our paintings to be either juried in or out. So I e-mailed the people who were putting on the show and the Colby College Museum of Art to see if we could get a room in the museum to have our Plein Air Connect Book Discussion and if the Waterville show organizers would be willing to invite members to attend. I quickly found out that the Museum and the Open Show were very supportive of each other and very willing to help us out.
So we arrived in Waterville with paintings in hand, and were in and out in no time because of their express registration done by three or four registrants in alphabetical order. This year, because we all pre-registered, they had given us the option of e-mailing the information of the paintings we were entering so that they could make up in advance pre-cut labels. So needless to say, there were no congested lines, just a real nice flow of artwork that was taken to another floor to be judged. As is always the case in this sort of process, very little talking is ever going on, just artists checking each other's artwork out to consider their odds. So after we all entered our works by 9:30 am in the show we quickly traveled to the Colby College Art Museum to set up the classroom for the discussion. On our way out we were please to meet our fellow plein air painting friend and author Alison Dibble. So we waited for her to enter her work and went out of the Waterville Public Library together using the stairs instead of the elevator this time. We pretty much ran about a half hour early all day and we were early for the museum, but they welcomed us and showed us to the educational room down stairs in the museum. How humbling it was to be in the presence of such great master works in this new Lunder collection and to think that entry is free. There was a long table in a very clean room and we all claimed our spot for the discussion and waited only a few minutes before we all explored the museum while we waited for people to arrive. Kay and I quickly went in search of the Robert Henri portrait that she said was in the Lunder collection. When we found it we spent a long time studying the brush strokes and looseness of his orderly construction. In fact one of the things we noticed was how he dared to leave white canvas in many places in the painting and yet it didn't affect the wonderful order it held. It was there, in that very gallery amongst paintings of Henri and his students: Gergia O'Keeffe, Rockwell Kent, George Bellows and even a Nicolie Fetchen, that we meet a wonderful couple, Mr. ans Mrs. Hans Haase (haasefineart.com). They were specificially there looking for our book discussion on the Art Spirit written by Robert Henri. After they joined us in looking at the Henri Painting we all went back and began what would be a very amazing discussion.
Kay Carter and Michael E. Vermette at the Colby College Art Museum viewing the Lunder collection.
In these book discussions I usually facilitate and am willingly to invite others to respond and even take the topics into many different avenues. I love how our book discussions use books like "The Art Spirit" as an in-point to a deeper discussion on how we choose to respond or express ourselves as artists. So it is that I can't write to you all the things we discussed but I can highlight three topics that made the discussion a very rich experience.
We began with what we were struck with in Robert Henri's oil painting of a portrait of a young boy and how it had canvas exposed. Henri say about this, and I quote:
" Probably it would be good to say to you; Consider the whole space of your canvas as the field of your expression. A fine adjustment must be made within its limits. Your ideas must not wander, anywhere, within the confines of the canvas, but they must fill it completely.
A space may be left bare, but that bare space must become meaningful. It is a part of the structure nevertheless." -Robert Henri p. 181 The Art Spirit.
So then the question put to the group was is it appropriate to leave bare canvas and what do we all tend to do? We decided that of course leaving exposed canvas is fine to do, however, it must be considered as a part of the composition of the whole canvas. In Henri's painting that we examined he did leave bare canvas, in over twenty-five different areas. But each place he chose to leave bare canvas it became a critical highlight on the figure's coat or the wall in the background. We decided the real issue is not whether we leave exposed canvas or not, but that if we do, we consider it a highlight the moves forward and how it will that effect the other shapes in composition as a whole.
Then we talked about what that thing is that charms us in nature. On the same page Henri says and I quote:
"Courage to go on developing this ability to see in nature the thing which charms you, and to express just that as fully and completely as you can. Just that. Nothing else. Not to do as any other artist does. Nor to be afraid that you may do as any other artists does. Do not require of your work the finish that anyone may demand of you, but insist on the finish which you demand." -Robert Henri P. 181 The Art Spirit.
The conversation then moved into the area of the pressure to "finish" a painting the way we feel others want us to. This is sometimes experienced when painters paint for the judges' tastes and finishing a painting to impress for the glory of winning a prize rather than being true to oneself. It could be a teacher, a spouse or anyone with whom we hold in high esteem. The truth that Henri is revealing is that we will never be able to fully realize our ideas to their completion if we don't get in touch with that sense of rightness in our own judgement. Just as we must love ourselves before we love others, we must also be grounded in painting for ourselves before we paint for and even receive a reward from others. It is hard to know yourself, it is a humble self-acknowledging process. But we must try to value our ideas over people who set themselves up as our judge and fail to make us as excellent as we can be. Robert Henri elaborates and makes the point:
The only men who are interesting to themselves and to others are those who have been willing to meet themselves squarely. The words of the masters are what they are because they are evidences from men who dare to be like themselves. It cost most of them dearly, but it was worth while. They were interesting to themselves, and now they are interesting to us. - Robert Henri p. 187 The Art Spirit.
In the light of what we just did in entering our paintings at the Maine Open Juried Show we all laughed at ourselves admitting that awards are really not the most important thing to gain in our work. They are nice and sometimes validating, but lets be honest; they are not everything. The greatest thing we can get for our effort it to own a visual idea given to us that is so interesting, that when we do have the courage to share it, we will value our own whimsical intrigue over the response of an other.
For example. I will never forget the story Ann Hubert told me of how James Fitzgerald's painting hung near the door of the dining hall at the Island Inn on Monhegan, Island. Every person going to dinner that night had to pass by that painting and many had responses. And Jim would watch to see how people responded. Then a man came up, looked at the painting, looked at Jim and asked him, "Did you paint that painting?" Jim answered him, "Yes I painted that painting." And then the man stated boldly, "I don't see Black Head That Way!" at which Jim replied, "But don't you wish you did?" For years I wondered why Jim sat there listening to all of their remarks about his paintings in the first place. Then I came to one conclusion that I think is so great about Jim that is more than his response to that man. Jim knew who he was and how intriguing his ideas were. He valued, guarded, and defended the thing in nature that excited him most. He even admitted near the end of his life to his good friends Ann and Ed Hubert that it was worth suffering for. And the revelation to me was that he so valued what charmed him most in nature ( and how his own ideas that intrigued him) that he found it worth the struggle of being misunderstood, even by the great critics around him.
What an awesome attitude to have when entering a contest, a show or mounting an exhibit. To do it to connect with others spiritually and sometimes give a revelation to them of what is possible. But if they do not get it we take the position of wishing they did rather than get offended. Many people have a difficult time experiencing the art spirit in art. In fact I find it interesting to witness a person moved to tears as a response to a painting while another only a few feet away is completely unaffected on a cell phone calling for where a good restaurant is located.
Henri Puts it this way and I quote:
The greatness can only come by the art spirit entering into the very life of the people, not as a thing apart, but as the greatest essential of light- a spiritual influence. It is to enter governmental influence, and it alone will keep government straight, end wars and strife; do away with material greed.
When America is an art country, there will not be three or five or seven arts, but there will be the thousands of arts- or the one art, the art of life manifesting itself in every work of man, be it a painting or whatever. We will then have to give in kind for what we get, And every man will be a true enrichment to the other. -Robert Henri, The Art Spirit p.188-189 The Art Spirit.
In conclusion, If you are one of those people who have entered your work into a juried show and didn't win an award, or didn't get both paintings into the show or didn't even get any at all in, take heart and consider this: That the true paradox that Henri and Fitzgerald knew is that in the times of rejection and suffering, at these very times of even verbal rejection, is the very moment the art spirit enters into you and even multiplies in you! But most of us don't see it that way because we are so preoccupied in identifying with the rejection we fail to see the value in our own ideas. Being a judge myself, I have witnessed the truth about why the judges reject some paintings and include others. Time and again I've seen paintings with rich ideas and potential rejected because they didn't reached a point where the idea filled the canvas or parameters of the page as a whole. It could even be that the artists has grown exponentially over the year. But the way paintings are chosen in shows is by the way the look "complete" or work as a "Whole" experience. Judges are expected to use their experience to mount a show that speaks of the excellence of the conclusion of ideas, not necessarily works in progress. I'm willing to bet that if you went to these highly qualified judges and point-blank asked them why your painting didn't win an award or got juried out of the show the response would be that the working idea didn't go far enough or didn't reach its conclusion as a whole. I did that once with Tom Lynch who told me that my painting was too finished and detailed, leaving nothing for the imagination. Then he goes on to say, "Otherwise It would have judged it Best in Show."
I wonder how many artists walk away without knowing how close they were to winning Best In Show. You see, just because you are rejected doesn't mean that you are not on the right track. In fact when a painting is rejected, in reality it could mean that you are in a prime place to receive the art spirit that always accelerates and multiplies your understanding to a new level. How does the art spirit multiply in a rejected piece? By inspiring the artist to make adjustments that can only come from living an art spirit life. A lot of the comments and suggestions we receive are external. But the true multiplication of excellence in painting comes from living a life in the arts that is vital and meaningful. It's not a matter of tweaking a thing or two to make them more of a complete idea. It's a life style. All of us need to sometimes take our critical hands off our work and realize that we are not rejected because of our art being inadequate and therefore have to fit it. No, we were rejected because we are in the process of making art in the art spirit of a Creator that is multiplying our work. And sometimes that can be messy. But it always leads to others finding what we do incredibly interesting. I have no doubt that all of us have it in us to win awards and the praise of others for our paintings. It's just a matter of how we perceive rejection and a matter of timing.
We ended our discussion with agreeing that rejection in the art life is the prelude for multiplication of the art spirit in our paintings. So if you have been rejected, don't worry, this is part of the cost we pay for living the art life. But get ready! It means you are about to expand exponentially through the art spirit. It's the ultimate paradox artists face and when realized is can be a very exciting motivation that leads us all to admit, it's gonna be worth it.
The Bangor Art Society Meeting is tonight at 6PM. We will be having a model to draw from so please bring your art supplies. the meeting is always open and free to the public so please come and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to create with others who are living the art life.
Also the Waterville Art Society is having their opening reception and presentation of awards tonight at 6 PM at the Waterville Public Library.
May the Art Spirit multiply in all of us this week!
Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection
THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER March 21st, 2014
"Snowy Katahdin entrance from Little Abol Stream Bridge" an oil on gypsum board by Michael E. Vermette
As much as we would like to say it's actually Spring and feel the changing seasons in the air, March seems to be living up to its reputation of going out like a lion. The snow banks of Millinocket would be higher than ours just an hour south of us. But last Tuesday was to be a glorious moment of bright sun and excellent clarity. The Pein Air Connection group meet at the new Dysarts Deli at West Old Town just off I-95 North. The painters who attended were Kay Carter, Teddi-Jann Covell, Karry Maldanado, Becky Whight and myself. Our destination was to paint at the entrance into Baxter Sate Park near Abol Stream Bridge. The plan was to make two pit stops on the way; one in East Millinocket and the other at the Abol Store on the Golden Road. The temperature started out being 10 to 12 degrees but warmed up throughout the day and also as we traveled North into the high 20's. The sun shone bright and the sky was very similar to our last year's paint-out, without a single cloud in the sky. The sun and the wind was at our backs most of the day and our spirit's were high to capture the mountain's beauty that we could only get short glimp's of on the Golden Road. We parked at the lower parking lot near the Baxter State Park entrance and met a park ranger with his snow mobile and trailer loaded up with plywood and supplies; no doubt for a
repair at Chimney Pond.
Setting up at Little Abol Stream Bridge. From right to left: Becky Whight, Michael E. Vermette, Kay Carter. The photo was taken by Teddi-Jann Covell.
Every time we return to a place sometimes a year later, we all try to intuitively seek out a new site in the landscape that will bring fresh ideas and new inspirations. It's interesting that most of us, with the exception of Karry Maldanado and Teddy-Jann Covell who were painting there for their first time, decided to painted near the same location as last year. Teddi-Jann Covell chose to paint just off little Abol Bridge near the entrance to the park while Karry painted further back on the trail. We painted just below Teddy-Jann and hiked down with packs and wet paint carriers into the off-trail banks of 12 to 14 inches of snow. Once down on the marsh we had a completely unobstructed view of the mountain. Very few places can take your breath away, and hold enough sustainable painting ideas year after year as this place does. It holds a mystical presence with its main stream meandering through the marshlands from Katahdin and directly towards the viewer.
We would use our boots to sweep the snow side to the side to clear off enough space to set up our easels and stand for an extended period of time. We began painting by 10:30 am and by noon we had a quick snack so that we could keep our energy up. We then continued to paint until 3:00 PM before we started to pack up to go home one by one. We meet a couple on the trail, Mike Peterson and his wife who were snowshoeing inside Baxter State Park. Just before they came we sent Karry Maldanado down the trail and she saw a deer strolling on the path toward her. It was driven onto her by the Petersons who also saw it. Thanks and Welcome to our newsletter Mr and Mrs. Peterson and all of our new subscribers! We are happy that you have joined us.
This is what Michael Peterson wrote:
My wife and I met you yesterday in Baxter State Park. From what we saw on the easel from up above, your painting was spectacular. - Michael Peterson's Statement
Our painting subject started out to be front lit with the sun high in the sky and to our backs as we faced east. This placed an emphasis on the shapes that made up the pattern of the painting. Katahdin has very unique faceted shapes that are interesting to focus on rather than tone, for example, to create weight. We all paid close attention to value but each painting had a character to it because of the front lighting effect that brought out the surface texture of the patterns of the landscape. But as the day progressed and the sun moved low in the sky the shadows became longer and the mountain became less about rhythmic patterns and more about dramatic solidity. Katahdin was simply moving into a different look like a model sporting a new wardrobe. As tempting as it was to chase after the changing look, we painted mostly from memory as we reminded each other of the principal Robert Henri spoke of on page 171 of his book, " The Art Spirit."
" Even with a model before you in quiet light of a studio there must come a time when you have what you want to know from the model, when the model had better be sitting behind you than before you, and unless such a time as this does come, it is not likely the work will get beyond the surface." -Robert Henri
"Katahdin Winter" an oil on board by Becky Whight.
I think the same thing can be said about painting a landscape from direct observation. There has to be a moment within the first two hours of plein air painting, that you decide what it is you want to say about the painting. Since the light of the painting changes every two hours, we should as painters not surrender our painting ability to mere coping right down to the very last second of the day or session. In fact what constitutes a finished painting is the clarity to execute in paint what beauty you want to capture from the landscape. It is a matter of going beyond the surface of the painting and getting to the truthful design of the work that is deeper. What we refer to as the "finished work" can not always be assumed as a finished experience, particularly if we have painted it once before. I actually found a much softer light pattern this year than when I did last year when I painted at this exact spot. Without the willingness to explore a new set of experiences in a previously painted site, (because I've painted it once before, and think there can be no new painting ideas), the means and effect of the painting can become a dutiful exercise in means. A painting that rides the surface, instead of digging deeper into the truth of it.
Kay Carter Painting At Little Abol Bridge, her oil painting to the right. Check out Kay's blog.
All great plein air painting explores below the surface of technique and clever design rules and reaches for the unexpected beauty that is at first hidden to the artist. That is why with every painting there is a problem that the artist must solve. There can be no greater happiness than to uncover the beauty found in the deceptively simple. To discover the hidden secrets of solving a compositional problem just under the surface, that then begs to be painted with clarity.
After we completed our paintings we brought them into the River Driver's restaurant located near Twin Ponds Camps on Millinocket Lake. We order our meal by 4 pm and then went into a very constructive and supportive discussion of our work, each going one at a time. This positive time of talking about each of our works continues to develop our powers to express in words what we feel is working in our paintings. The emphasis is always on this and never on meaningless negative criticisms that leads you nowhere. It is one of the things I love about this group. The very same principles that I base my hermeneutic beliefs on, that easily gets me deeper into my painting subjects, is the same principals that has made this group so strong. Here are a few things that I appreciate about our group.
1) The ability of our group to be inclusionary instead of exclusionary toward ways of painting en plein air. No one will ever waste the time telling painters in our group that "plein air paintings are always small in size never large, that palette knife paintings never sell or that plein air paintings must never be completed in the studio." Those are exclusive remarks that only serve the few and keep narrowing the scope that leads to not being able to relate to the greater world of art. It is important to avoid being too important to the exclusion of others that in the end keeps you completely out of touch with the art world of our time. The art world is ever-changing with new and exciting ways of working. We must be careful that we don't dismiss these new innovations for traditional complacency.
2) Looking after one another by desiring to grow as a cohesive group and not painting on our own. The whole idea of painting independently on location and than meeting at the end of the day to talk about our work and share a meal together, speaks of our genuine care we have for each other. This contrasts with the idea that you can only grow as a painter by having a highly respected mentor be the only one to comment on your work because you're afraid you might get contaminated or intimidated with bad criticism. Again its exclusivity and none-inclusive. Mentors can be helpful, but they can also be out of touch with you personally as an artist. Being afraid of what anyone will say about your work is more counter-productive to your success in your art as a career than anything else. After all, wouldn't you rather get a constructive comment from a fellow artist who has struggled with you through the day, than a painter who has absolutely no connection to what you are going through or what you are painting because he or she lives in another state?
3) Giving each painter in the group the time to develop the deeper meaning of their paintings on site. This is in contrast to putting a time limit on when a painting should be finished. Although Plein Air painting festivals do this for a daily wet paint auction, it is important that a weekly painting group respects the time it takes to make a connection with the landscape. In is not unusual at all that our group will wait for an individual artist to finish. All great artists give the time and space needed for their fellow painters to create and celebrated what they have discovered, making the sharing a mutual benefit. It is the best way to develop your own abilities as a painter. How we celebrate another's achievements positions us to receive the same merits for our own works. The shared meals and painting discussions afterwards has become for us just as exciting as painting on site. It completes us as and validates our purpose for painting.
The Trip To Waterville this Saturday March 22nd 2014.
We are very excited to meet up with our fellow painters down south at the Maine Open Juried Show. Just a reminder for those who will be car-pooling from Bangor, we will be leaving from the Dysarts in Hampden between 8:30 am and 8:45 am. Please don't be late. We will not wait for you if you are late because of the time limit on the intake process for the show at the Waterville Library. For those who will meet us after for the book discussion at the Colby College Art Museum in Waterville, please meet us at the front information desk by 10:30 am. We have a room reserved for us in the Museum for this discussion. We will spend time discussing the section of "Letter of Criticism" on page 180 to "Letter of Criticism" on page 200 of The Art Spirit book written by Robert Henri. We will also explore the museum and the new Lunder collection. Then we will go to the food court and have lunch before returning to the Waterville Library and checking in to see if our paintings made it into the Open Juried Show 2014.
"Katahdin At Little Abol Bridge" two oils 8 x 10 inches by Karry Maldanado
Have a thrilling weekend filled with many imaginative ideas,
Michael E. Vermette
Coordinator of the Plein Air Connection
Please feel free to share this newsletter with anyone else whom you might consider would benefit. To sign up for the newsletter, go to my web site at www.michaelevermette.com.
THE PLEIN AIR CONNECTION NEWSLETTER March 18th, 2014
PAINTING PLEIN AIR AT ABOL BRIDGE NEAR BAXTER STATE PARK
"Katahdin From Abol Bridge" an oil on linen on Michael's plein air easel painted 3-9-13 by Michael E. Vermette
The next Plein Air Connection Paint-out will be at Abol Bridge Store and Campground in Millinocket. There are spectacular views of Katahdin there. For those who would like to car-pool we will meet at Dysarts Deli just off I-95 North, Hudson exit 43 on West Old Town road at 8:30 am. You can get gas and supplies and there is a bathroom. Then we will travel North on I-95 using the following driving directions:
|Driving directions to Abol Bridge Campground & Store|
1667 Bennoch Rd
Old Town, ME 04468
Abol Bridge Campground & Store
Millinocket, ME 04462
Abol Campground and Store is located on private land owned by the Paper Company. It is a working forest open to recreational use. All of the roads are privately owned and maintained. For safety reasons ATV's, Bicycles and Motorcycles are prohibited on all company roads and
light vehicles are asked to yield the right-of-way to the less maneuverable log trucks.
The weather for Tuesday is sunny and the temperature will reach 32 degrees. It should be a great day for painting. please bring winter gear and possibly snowshoes because of the snow being deeper in Northern Maine than in the Bangor region. You are also encouraged to bring a lunch or snacks to eat on location. You can get snacks at Abol Store and there is a bathroom available there as well.
After we finish painting at Abol Bridge, we will be going to The River Driver's restaurant at Twin Pines Cabins overlooking Millinocket Lake and Katahdin. We hope all that can will join us for a day of fun, artistic support and good fellowship! There will be a little hiking involved including about a mile long trail to get to the views.
The Waterville Maine Open Juried Show 2014 Trip next Saturday
Also as a reminder for next Saturday March 22nd, the Plein Air Connection artists will be traveling to drop paintings off at the 24th Maine Juried Art Show in Waterville, Maine. The drop off site is the Waterville Public Library on 77 Elm Street between 9:30 am and 11 am. The registration fee deadline was back in February on the 21st was $30.00. Now it is $50.00 at the door on March 22nd. They are also doing express Check-In for those who have pre-registeredwhich I strongly suggest you do so that you will not have to wait long in line with your paintings. Here is a letter from their office manager June L’Heureux:
Thank you for your recent registration to the Maine Open Juried Art Show. I would like to encourage, and offer you the opportunity for express check-in on the morning of the show. If you would like to take advantage of expedited registration, and avoid waiting in lines, simply click on the attached form, fill it in and submit OR please fill in the information requested below. On the morning of registration, proceed to Express Check-In. Your labels will be cut, preprinted and ready to be adhered to your artwork, front and back, and your receipt will be preprinted.
If you have any questions or experience any difficulty, please do not hesitate to call me at 680-2055. I am in the office from 8am-2pm, M-F.
Name of Artist:
Title of Painting 1:
Media Painting 1:
Price Painting 1- or if not for sale just insert NFS:
Category of Painting 1 (oil, or acrylic, or watercolor, or pastel or other media):
Year created (2012 or 2013 or 2014):
Title of Painting 2:
Media Painting 2:
Price Painting 2- or if not for sale just insert NFS:
Category of Painting 2 (oil, or acrylic, or watercolor, or pastel or other media):
Year created (2012 or 2013 or 2014):
June L’Heureux, Office Manager
Waterville Main Street
44 Main Street, Suite 202
Waterville, ME 04901
Phone: (207) 680-2055
Fax: (207) 680-2056
Upcoming Events: www.watervillemainstreet.org/events.php
After we drop off paintings for the day to be juried, we will be meeting at the information desk at the Colby College Art Museum. We will have our book discussion and learn to communicate and make connections with the new Peter and Paula Lunder Collection. We hope to meet up with our friends from the southern part of the state and meet between 10 to 10:30 am at Colby College information desk in the museum. We will have our connect book discussion in one of the campus classrooms there on the campus as we did last year. We hope to discuss "Letter of Criticism" on page 180 to "Letter of Criticism" on page 200 of "The Art Spirit" by Robert Henri and then go over to the museum for a visit. Then we will go over to the Campus Dining Services together for lunch which boasts an expansive choice of food service options to meet many diverse dietary choices.
After enjoying lunch together, we will go back to the Waterville Public Library to see if our paintings have been accepted into the show. This will be a full day of fun and enrichment that will motivate us for months to come. We hope we can meet up with many of you then.
Have an incredibly inspiring week filled with every good and perfect gift,
Michael E. Vermette
Coordiator of the Plein Air Connection
A Stormy Silver Sunset at Lobster Point, Monhegan Island
"A Stormy Silver Sunset at Lobster Point, Monhegan Island" an oil 12 x 16 inches on gypsum gessoed panel by Michael E. Vermette.
The power has been out for over 19 hours in my humble Maine home on Indian Island. Two transformers blew at the end of my street as the snow piled up over night up to 24 inches. I shoveled until my arms felt like falling off and then shoveled some more. But as I pause to think of what I might do between times of snow removal and the wait, I am reminded of a similar storm out-to-sea on Monhegan, the day before our Plein Air Connect group was scheduled to go home. It was the last full painting day that we would all have together on our three-day adventure on February 20th before coming home on the next day on the 10:30 am mail boat to Port Clyde. I like to look at my paintings weeks after I have put them aside for a while because it I can see them with fresh eyes without a memory of the battle. But what I do remember is what a wonderful experience I had that day painting three paintings. I started out early painting a beautiful sunrise at Gull Rock and in the afternoon painting at Squeaker Cove, both without a cloud in the sky on this excellently bright February day. Both of these paintings were painted within a two-hour block of time to capture the ever-changing light. But in the afternoon and on my third painting the sky seemed to be changing quickly to overcast. I worked all day with my good friend Troy Sands who is a professional photographer who enjoys making pictures from places off the beaten path. He photographs from nature in a panoramic format.
On our way through the village and on the Lobster Cove trail, we meet up with villagers who were coming from the cove. I remember how excited we were to see them because they usually don't venture out unless there was something spectacular to witness. And there was! The bright cloudless sky had transitioned into a windy cloud-filled silvery-mauve gray sky that completely permeated the coast with an out-to-sea stormy mood. The tide and the waves were high of 10 to 14 feet crashing ashore at Lobster Point. The sheer roar of the pounding serf would completely drown out our cries of excitement to each other as we saw one amazing explosion after another. We simply could not hear each other even just 10 feet away as the ocean's drama pounded the coast one comber after another.
I quickly set up my easel close to the surf on the flat rock to capture this. I remember I wanted to get close enough to feel obligated to fill the whole painting panel with the subject which was the diffused sun breaking through the foggy sky, while darkish green waves pounded the Iron Oxide colored rocks. They would rise out of the watery foam like the jagged teeth of a behemoth monster. This would be the last painting I would get a chance to paint and it came together quickly as I established most of the forms of the painting within an hour. I paid particular attention to the relationship of the strength and size of the curling dark waves and the retracting dance of the wind-swept lighter green surf that would occasionally reach upwards in a twisting action. All the time this was happening, the sun beamed a whitish Naples yellow over the waves and onto the foam in the foreground. This was as much a dance of light as the foam. Even though it introduced a slightly warmer color change it was very beautiful and I wanted to make sure I captured it.
Troy Sands photographing at Lobster Point, Monhegan Island.
In the meantime Troy ventured even closer to the water's edge and continued with tripod in hand to collect dramatic photo's of the waves and rocky coast. He made some images with a very low vantage point that accentuated the size of the waves. This would later motivate him to try to find the very same subject at Ocean Drive in Acadia National Park days later. But the color, the rock shades, and clarity of the waters, had that silvery translucent mood that could not be duplicated. It seems to be only found miles out to sea on an island with unique rhythm and sense of presence. Found in the juxtaposed currents countering powerful waves as luminous subdued sun light showed through veils a mauve gray fog. It seems so true, to place all that silvery greenish gray against an Iron Ore coast line that holds an ancient unique timeless character.
We both finished at the same time as the light of the seascape got darker, the sun set, and the tide went out exposing more rock. For two hours straight the wind constantly blew into our faces as we pitched out tripod and easel into it. There was very little to do but gin and bare it as we forged forward constructing our images. When we packed up and finally reached the village roads the wind was buffeted by the trees and the cold was not so penetrating. I can still vividly remember the sprinting winds taking the tops right off the surf of large waves. It makes me smile even to this day and one day I'll paint it.
Sunset at Lobster Cove in February, Monhegan Island.
So today as I look back at my painting alone in my cold home without power and only the natural light of my window, I appreciate what I've been through. I see the intentional form and painted lines quickly sketched by an artist after the timing and rhythm of the waves, giving them that special character of Lobster Point in a February storm. A silvery mauve light that is so unique this time of year that I never get tired of seeing it. This place has a timeless romance with the Creator who sweeps his breath over the seas just to pound and explode excitement on this tiny Venetian Red island coastline. I consider it an awesome gift to have painted three paintings on that day. It was my 56th birthday and it's days like this that help me to look into the bleakness of Maine Winters and appreciate all God has given me!Comment on or Share this Article →
A MESSAGE FROM ELAINE AND MICHAEL VERMETTE
My number one desire is to be involved with Missions as much as possible. I believe it is so important for Christian believers to spread the Love, Grace and Healing power of our heavenly creator God, his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to places that normally would just be overlooked. That is why I am currently looking to head to Lima, Peru to do just that. There is a group of young adults going from my church. We attend Grace Church Bangor. ( http://www.gracechurchbangor.com )
While we are in Lima, Peru, we will be traveling with a group of young adults from all over the states to hit the streets with our team. Perform dramas, and share a message of hope. Block off city streets and TELL EVERYONE about Jesus. Empower the church leaders of the city through powerful conferences and be a part of the city's most epic event - a city-wide festival held in Lima's olympic stadium. We will be able to watch as the entire city of Lima raises their hands to heaven and declares Jesus the Lord of their city.
If you feel a tugging of the Holy Spirit to donate and you listen to that... Thank you so much because you have made a huge difference. You are not only blessing me but you are blessing yourself and many people's life will be changed through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
"Great Head in March, Acadia National Park"
When I arrived at the summit of Great Head in Acadia National Park, on the morning of March 4th, there were two things that run through my head. First, I had not painted here since my residency with the park in August 2006 and second, this was a real opportunity for me because I had never painted Great Head in the Winter. The trails were all icy but easy to maneuver. That is until you made the calculated decision to hike off them and closer to the water's edge. Then it got rougher and icier and the level of the hike moved from moderate to difficult and slow going. But I found the kid inside me when sliding down on my bottom, down the large snow-covered rocks and sometimes hopping from one dried hulking rock to another to get to the flat rock at the base of the cliff. I was in anticipation of the glacial Great Head views Thomas Cole and William Stanley Haseltine painted between the 1840's and 1850's. This head has a huge overhanging rock mass over a cave-like form that seems to tilt forward as if defying the power of the North Atlantic ocean in Frenchman's Bay. But to get there you have to not be standing on the summit or stay solely on the trail that loops around. You have to get down closer to the water's edge and go around huge truck-size boulders and ledges to finally get this view. On this day, when I came around the last boulder that was obstructing my view, thinking I might never see it, suddenly there it was! And it nearly took my breath away! It was just as I remember it but with a lot more. Today there was ice floes and huge icicles hanging down from the roof of the outside of the cave and sides of the face of the edifice. It was not a Frederic Church with a rogue wave-sized comber completely consuming the mouth of the cave, but it more like a Haseltine of serene and subtle facets of tone and color as in his watercolors. And as the tide come in the surf got more dramatic on this bright eye-aching day. It was difficult to find even a flat rock to set up an tripod and French Resistance easel on the sloping ledge that sported the best views. The wind was coming out of the west at my back and too strong and dangerous to attach an umbrella. So I kept in mind to balance the amount of light that was falling on my palette with my painting surface, tilting and moving it side to side until they matched. So much of the painting can be altered if these two surfaces are not the same. It causes an added stress to the eyes making it more difficult to read color and value tones.
In this painting I included my 4 basic colors of Zinc White, Yellow Ochre, Lamp Black/Ivory Black and Cadmium Red along with a generous amount of Black Oil wax medium. This batch is my winter mixture. It is thinner and does not gel up like the summer batches that are thicker and resists melting in the hot sun. Then I added smaller amounts of Ultramarine Blue, Qinacrodone Magenta, Cadmium yellow medium and Viridian Green because I just started seeing so much shimmering color in the rock on this bright day. After I set my colors out on my clean palette, I remembered after painting this subject 4 times before, that the light and cast shadows dramatically change the appearance of the head in the course of two hours. So I quickly laid in the underpainting so that I would have toned color to build upon. I used a technique of puzzle-piecing and building surfaces upon surfaces that the black oil wax medium affords me. All great paintings are created less out of a sense of growing shapes that are mixed into each other and more of building an effect upon existing passages of color. Most of what I built upon other colors were the shadow shapes upon the under-painted colors in the sunlight. The islands in the far distance were beautifully violet-blue with accents of browns and green halation accents that created a glow in the distance and acted as a tension color to set off the field of warm ochre color in the headland. So much of Acadia rock formations are completely complementary in shape but also color with water and islands that surround them. It is no wonder that Acadia National Park is often said to be amongst America's Most Beautiful Islands.
In this painting, I went with a slightly afternoon lighting and chose to gradate the sky to a darker and brighter blue upon the top of the cliff. The sky near the horizon was a beautiful warm teal and much lighter in value. The water was rough with whitecaps and a rich green sea water with violet-green reflections danced just below the headland's base which became a perfect opposite of the pinkish orange rock above. This made the lighter blue accents glow with light. I also included a dark ocean current shape to emphasize the cold waters of winter as having the same strength as the timeless glacial rock. You can't expect wispy values to represent water against such a powerful rock. It would be like a skinny, spindly, and anemic fighter going up against a hulking muscular athlete. The battle would be over before it started because they don't seem to belong in the same ring together. It is always better to match the water's values with the strength of the coastal rock with at least a strong reflection if not deep valued water. This adds to the drama of the match between the very different and dynamic nature of water vs rock.
"Hurricane Surf at Great Head" a watercolor 20 x 26 inches painted in 1999 by Michael E. Vermette.
One of my goals is to come out here when there is a storm and waves as high as ten feet or more as with hurricane Gurt in 1999. I painted a watercolor of Great Head in plein air the week that hurricane hit the Acadia shore. The waves were so huge that day and dangerously powerful that you felt like you could never take your eyes off the sea. It was the same day two tourist were swept out to sea to their deaths at Schoodic Point; backs to the waves, trying to get a picture of themselves against that drama. There is no doubt that you have to be careful with the sea and never take your eyes off it. And rogue waves like this one you really can't see coming. They simply rise higher and higher until they envelop you and carry you out to sea.
I started painting this study at 11:30 am and finished around 2:00 PM. I had to stop because the painting had completely changed and I needed to get back. I knew I had a significant ledge to climb out of, so I just assessed the terrain and slowly worked my way up with pack on my back and wet paint carrier over my shoulder. I had my Sorrels boots on, my snowsuit and ski pants underneath. Moving was not easy with all those layers, but it felt good to be actually hiking again. Once I finally arrived atop the ridge where the trail ran I found it a lot easier going and back-tracked on the broken foot path up the head land where I originally hike out from.
Laughter and Fun on the Great Head Road on the way to Great Head. Karry Maldanado on the left,
Michael E. Vermette in the center and Alison Dibble to the right. photo taken by Kay Carter whom
also went on the paint-out.
I was mindful the whole time that if I fell or injured myself, it would be hours before anyone would be able to come to my rescue. So, just as it was important to keep a respectful attitude toward this wild places that I paint like this one, I also know that I am never completely alone. The spirit is with me guiding me back and through to paint another day. This painting was a very satisfying and motivating experience. Great Head trail was a great paint-out that I shared with my Plein Air Connection Friends, Kay Carter, Karry Maldanado, and Alison Dibble. Although we all go our separate ways to paint throughout the day, we always rejoin the group after and discuss our paintings over a cup of hot tea, laughter and the enjoyment of each other's company in mutual respect. And that to me is as satisfying as the painting process itself.
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