Sunday, July 22, 2018

Summer Sale Begins! "Paint Me" 8x10 Oil

"Paint Me"
8x10 Oil by Michael Chesley Johnson

It's that time of year again when I take stock of the paintings in my studio.  This summer, I've chosen several select pieces that I am offering for sale at low prices.  Many are personal favorites, all of them good, but I do need to make room.  (All artists face this dilemma now and then--keep it, or part with it?)  The sale won't be forever, though!  Prices are good through August 31, 2018.  I'll mark them "sold" as I receive payment.

Rather than post them all at once, I am going to post one every day or so.  If you lose track of what I've posted when, you can see them all at this link:

I'll try to tell a story with each one, too.  "Paint Me" is one of my favorite working boats in Lubec, the Rachel & Simone.  Once in a while, the skipper pulls the boat up near the shore, ties it up and waits for the tide to go out.  Once the tide's out, the hull can be painted.  I was out looking for something to paint one warm summer morning and spotted her.  The light around her felt incandescent, and I tried to paint it that way.

Read The Fine Print

**Paintings shipped unframed
**Free postage to continental US
**Check preferred, but Paypal payment OK.  Contact me at to purchase.
**First come, first served!
**View more of these paintings at

Sunday, July 15, 2018

July Plein Air Painting Workshop Wrap-Up

Off Quoddy Head 9x12 Oil
by Michael Chesley Johnson
Another beautiful week just ended here in Lubec, Maine.  For this workshop, we had mostly sunny
skies, a morning with a few errant drops, and otherwise overwhelmingly pleasant weather.  I thought I'd share a few photos from the week, as well as three demonstration paintings.

I am off now for a few weeks before my next workshop (August 7-10, which still has space for another eager painter, details of which are at  But now I have three articles to write with illustrative paintings to make in the meantime.  I'm also working on my next newsletter, which should be out later this week.  If you haven't signed up for my newsletters, you can do so here.

I also have some exciting news that I will share at the end of next week.  Stay tuned!

Our happy workshop group

On-the-beach critiques

Demonstrating at the edge

Spot the painter!
Downeast Sunshine 9x12 Oil
by Michael Chesley Johnson

Summer Sun 9x12 Oil
by Michael Chesley Johnson

The Cannery that Was 9x12 Pastel
by Michael Chesley Johnson
AVAILABLE - $200 incl shipping to US

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Gamblin - Navigating Color Space

In my plein air painting workshops, we spend a couple of days talking about color and color mixing.  Two days really isn't enough time!  As primarily a landscape painter, I've spent the last 20 years focusing mostly on just one of color's attributes, temperature, which I consider to be essential to understanding how to capture the feeling of light.  So, to help my students learn a little more about color in our limited time together, I often suggest that they go to the Gamblin web site and watch the following video, "Navigating Color Space."  It gives them a jump-start on our discussions.

In this video, Robert Gamblin lays out clearly how color works in what he calls "color space."  You may be familiar with the color wheel.  "Color space" adds a third dimension to the wheel, so it becomes more of a cylinder.  Hue, value and chroma are fully represented in it.  (I consider that color has a fourth attribute, temperature, and Gamblin addresses this in the video, considering it more a quality of hue rather than being a separate attribute.)  I recommend this 20-minute video to everyone.

If you don't see the video below, here is the link:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Plein Air Painting Maine Workshops Resume!

Check out the clothes -- it's not hot here!

My new season of plein air painting workshops in Downeast Maine started up yesterday.  This week, we have my usual small group (which is by choice, as it minimizes impact on the landscape and allows me to spend more time with participants) with students from Massachusetts, Florida, Nova Scotia, New York and Maine.  It's always a pleasure to teach people from away, as they often come from interesting places and are new to the Downeast environment.  I love sharing this world with them.

My demonstration in an early state

Yesterday, while much of the country was blistering under 90-degree-plus heat, we enjoyed a cool 58 degrees!  Because of the fog, the locals called it a "soft morning," and we welcomed it.  We painted down by the historic McCurdy fish houses on Water Street, where the fog was come-and-go.

If you are looking for an escape from the heat where you live, you should know I still have space in some of my workshops here:

July 10-13, 2018- all level workshop in Lubec, Maine - sign up
August 7-10, 2018- all level workshop in Lubec, Maine - sign up
August 21-24, 2018 - Workshop at Acadia Workshop Center in Bernard, Maine - Details and registration here
August 28-31, 2018 - Advanced workshop for painters with outdoor experience in Lubec, Maine - sign up

I hope you'll join us!
You'll get lots of attention in my
Maine workshops

Friday, June 29, 2018

After Scotland

Painting the "Old" Sligachan Bridge from beneath the "new" Sligachan bridge

Trina and I are settling back into our home and studio on Campobello Island, but the month in Scotland is still very fresh for us.  Soon, however, we will be busy with summertime projects—my plein air painting workshops start next week, plus I have some articles to write for The Artist's Magazine—but I wanted to pen one last post on Scotland before that happens.

I thought it would be enjoyable for everyone to see all the sketches I made on the trip in one post.   I've added them below.  You'll note a wide range of subject matter as well as weather conditions.  We had days of brilliant sunshine, but also days of moody mist.  I loved it all.  I was also very happy that I'd chosen gouache as my painting medium.  Sun or drizzle, it served me well.  I may teach a workshop or two in gouache—stay tuned.

The paintings follow in more or less chronological order.  To see where and when each was painted, click on the image to get a larger picture, and you can read my notes.  Most are 5x8, but a few are double-spreads, at 5x16.