Friday, September 9, 2016

New Hampshire Plein Air Painting Workshop Wrap-Up

When I flew into Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday, the temperature was an unusually cool 96 degrees. I’ve seen it hotter when I fly out for the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art. It was 116 one year. But Phoenix doesn’t matter -- it’s the South Rim of the Canyon I’m headed for. At 7000 feet, it’s always a good deal cooler than Phoenix, which sits at just a tad over 1000 feet.

I’ll drive up to the Canyon later this morning, but first I wanted to tell you a little about the workshop I taught in New Hampshire. I’ve always enjoyed my workshops with New Hampshire Plein Air. It’s a group of dedicated and enthusiastic painters led by the hard-working and well-organized Sharon Allen. I’ve taught for them several times, and I fully expected this workshop to be everything the others were. I wasn’t disappointed!

The two-day workshop was held in the White Mountains in Bartlett, just a little ways from North Conway. The White Mountains have been the stomping grounds of outdoor painters since the early days of the Hudson River School. Apparently the Hudson and Catskills weren't enough for them, and they felt the need to explore the “sublime” in wilder country.

What made this workshop truly special was that we all stayed at the Bartlett Inn together. Run well by a pleasant and attentive couple (Nick and Miriam), we had a delightful stay with a full breakfast each morning. Our painting day ended with an afternoon tea and other refreshments. The Inn was not far from some of New England’s best dining, so we enjoyed dinners out together nearby.

Warm weather let us paint from morning until late in the day. We had mostly scattered clouds and sometimes more than that, but the second day ended with a little rain. Still, that didn’t happen until mid-afternoon, and the resourceful Sharon had scoped out a number of rainy-day places for us. We ended up painting under a trestle bridge along the creek, but our view was of a beautiful covered bridge.

Our first day, we painted along the Wildcat River in Jackson. I demonstrated how to paint rocks, and this was followed by a special tour, a preview, of a show of historic White Mountain painters at the Jackson Historical Society museum. It was very gracious of them to open up the show, still being hung, to us painters. I got to see a sketch by George Inness, plus work by Benjamin Champney and others. (Also included was work by Erik Koeppel and Lauren Sansaricq; though they are very much alive, they paint in the style of the Hudson River School.) Later, the group painted along Jackson Falls. I could have spent a few weeks painting there.

Our second and last day, we headed out to a view of Cathedral Ledge and White Horse Ledge. This is a view that had been painted by Albert Bierstadt, Inness and Alfred Thompson Britcher. The light was stunning on Cathedral, and I chose that for my demonstration. The group painted a similar view after I finished. Afternoon, as I mentioned, found us under the bridge and out of the rain. Although I did my critique the first day back at the inn, since this last day I had to leave directly for the airport in Portland, Maine, we did a critique among the rocks under the bridge.

I’ve included a few photos below to give you an idea of what the workshop was like. I'm planning another workshop here, most likely a three- or four-day one, in the near future.

 Now, it’s off to load up the van with painting gear!  Oh, and I still want to remind everyone that my Paint Sedona workshops start very soon!  Check out our new $600 workshop plus lodging package at

Jackson Falls demo 8x10 oil

Cathedral Ledge demo 9x12 oil

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