Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Special Plein Air Painting Retreat

West Quoddy Station

Special Plein Air Painting Retreat

West Quoddy Station, Lubec, Maine
August 13-17, 2018

I invite you to join us for a very special plein air painting retreat for experienced painters this summer. Unlike my usual workshops in Lubec, this retreat will be five luxurious days long, giving us plenty of outdoor painting time. Our base camp will be at the beautifully-renovated West Quoddy Station, a historic US Coast Guard compound right on the water. I have reserved the entire week for our retreat, with check-in on Sunday, August 12, and departure on Friday, August 17, for a total of five nights. (And of course, you are more than welcome to extend your stay!)

West Quoddy Head Light

The Station offers many choices for lodging as there are five buildings. Some are apartments for singles or couples; others are cottages for one or two couples; the Station House has five bedrooms. (All units have kitchens.) Because of the variety, I urge you to bring not just yourself but your painting buddies. If you are a member of a painting group, please extend this invitation to your members. You can find full details and pictures plus pricing on the compound at*

Painting the Bold Coast

The Station is perfectly located for our retreat, as it is right next to Quoddy Head State Park with its trails and lighthouse. If you've never been to this park before, it offers stunning views of the Grand Manan Channel with rocky cliffs and rugged beaches as well as interior trails that wind through bogs and spruce forests. Like I tell my students, I could spend the whole week painting just there! The Station itself, of course, has many picturesque possibilities for us painters.

Lubec, Maine

A short drive from the Station takes you to Lubec, a historic village with a working waterfront that includes fish houses and lobster boats. Lubec also has several restaurants and shops, as well as a nearby medical center and grocery store. (Check out for more information.) Beyond Lubec, there are several trailheads that offer painting opportunities, such as Hamilton Beach and Boot Head. You will need a passport, as we will visit my studio on nearby Campobello Island, which is in Canada, and also paint in the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park, which has 3000 acres of natural beauty. You won't want this retreat to end!

One of my favorite spots to paint!

Each day will start at 8 a.m. with critiques of the previous day's paintings. Following this, I will give some helpful pointers on painting in the area. After that, we'll paint as a group for the morning. Although I won't be giving any formal instruction, I will be offering demonstrations to anyone who wants to watch and also painting along with you. After lunchtime, I will give you optional painting assignments for the afternoon. Or, if you prefer not to paint, you can explore—go on a whale watch, take a hike, or visit some of the other villages.

More Bold Coast painting

To hold your space for the retreat, I will need a $150 deposit.** The price of the retreat is $300, which does not include lodging or meals. Please e-mail me at first to make sure I have space, and at that time I will give you information about where to send the deposit. After I receive your deposit, I will send a confirmation letter with details. Final payment is due one month before the retreat starts.

To reserve your lodging or to check on availability, please make your arrangements at West Quoddy Station by calling them at 877-535-4714 or emailing to You cannot book directly online. Make sure you tell them it is for the “Michael Chesley Johnson Plein Air Painting Retreat.” Once you have made your lodging arrangements, let me know where you will be staying and how many.

I'm looking forward to this retreat, as it is so different from my usual workshops here in Lubec. I hope you'll join us!


*Participants must stay at West Quoddy Head Station, as this guarantees the use of Quoddy Hall for our studio. Although the plan is to be outdoors painting as much as possible, it's important to have indoor studio space for critiques and rainy days. We will paint outdoors unless weather dictates otherwise.

**Deposit is non-refundable unless another participant can be found to take your place. You can read the full cancellation policy here.

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