Posted by: janamatusz | November 26, 2015

Thankful for every moment in Maine

I’m feeling especially thankful at this Thanksgiving time for so many things. I feel very blessed to have wonderful people in my life, and to have a full schedule of enriching experiences and opportunities for drawing and painting, both close to home and far away.

In late October I helped out with the second annual Acadia Artist Retreat. (And I’m looking forward to the next one which is scheduled for June 6-12, 2016! Save the date!) The Schoodic Peninsula is breathtaking in any season…

 

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I enjoyed the fall colors, and as always, felt restored and calmed by the closeness to nature. The Park holdings on the Schoodic peninsula have expanded tremendously with the addition of the new Schoodic Woods campground and bicycle trails, and there’s a lot of new territory to explore. The artists at the retreat had infinite good options for painting opportunities!

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I saw some old and new nature friends, and especially enjoyed the dark of night and pre-dawn. The stars on a clear night, with the Milky Way stunningly visible, are awe-inspiring and profoundly humbling.

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It is always incredibly inspiring to paint in Acadia (even if it was a bit chilly in October!) And there were some days of high surf, which added to the intensity and excitement of being out on the rocks.

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I’m very thankful for time in Acadia. Thank you thank you thank you…

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Posted by: janamatusz | July 25, 2015

March…April…MAINE! Part 2 (and some June too!)

jana painting

What a joy to paint in Acadia, no matter how cold or challenging the weather is! I watched the seasons turn, saw the snow slowly melt from paths, and welcomed the opening blossoms and the opening storefronts as winter turned to spring and spring turned to summer. Of course there were many non-painting days and trips back to Boston, and of course I had my share of paint-overs. But it was wonderful to focus and to build on the previous day’s work, and to witness and record some of the beauty of Acadia. (Did I mention that I love it there?)

To see a selection of the paintings I completed, please visit my website where I have posted some of my favorites:

http://janamatusz.com/2015PAINTINGS.html

Since the paintings are posted there, I’ll post mostly photos here so I can share some of the visual delights of being in Acadia for such an extended period.

It’s always fine to see my nature friends,

happy raccoon

squirrel

porcupine

Yes, that’s a sleepy porcupine!

pileated woodpecker

And yes, that’s a pileated woodpecker.

junco

osprey

yellow

warbler

chickadee

and to see the new blossoms and bees and insects emerge after a long winter.

crocuses

daffodil

bee by lupin

lupins

bee on blossoms

monarch

But what I especially love is the amazing Maine landscape — the foggy inlets, the rocky coast, the still forests, the great vistas. Anytime you need to calm and center yourself, there’s nothing like a little Acadiation Therapy! I loved having time to read, (especially works by my new favorite nature author, Bernd Heinrich) and time to be alone in nature. Lonely? Sure, I missed home. It’s not easy to be away. But it only made me ever more grateful for dear friends and people who care for me. Thank you, all of you. You know who you are.

fog

swh fog

coastal cliffs

cliff chasm

overlook

Aside from one painting (“Avenging Hawk”) I did in the Dorr Museum at the College of the Atlantic,

Avenging Hawk

all my paintings were done en plein air, outdoors in the cold and wind, where I could work directly from observation and capture something about the experience of being here. It was the landscape which inspired me, and I fell in love with the amazing Acadia rocks all over again.

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facing west site

perpendicular start site

jana painting acadia

Now that I have varnished, photographed, and framed the Acadia paintings, I can look forward to my next paintings.

Yes, of course that includes some more painting in Acadia at the second annual Schoodic Artist Retreat. It’s scheduled for October 18-25. The fall colors should be terrific again. If you are an artist and want to do some work in a truly inspiring setting, check out the details here:

http://www.schoodicinstitute.org/event/2015-artist-retreat-at-schoodic-institute/

See you there?

P.S. This has nothing to do with Acadia, but I had to share the delight of seeing “Cloud Gate” by Anish Kapoor in Chicago while on a road trip. Fantastic public sculpture — my favorite, I think. Go experience it in person if you can!

cloudgatechicago

cloud gate chicago fun

Posted by: janamatusz | April 25, 2015

March…April…MAINE! Part 1

First, a little catch-up. Last October’s first annual Acadia Artist Retreat at Schoodic Institute was awesome. (This year, there will be another retreat, so mark your calendars for October 17-24, 2015!) This special program offers a wonderful opportunity to do your artwork in one of the most beautiful corners of Acadia with other nature-inspired artists. Here are some photos from October 2014:

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And some paintings from the retreat. It is always a joy to paint at Schoodic.

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Since Acadia is my favorite place to paint at any time of year, I’m back! I’ll have an extended painting sojourn this time of almost three months.

Of course, Mount Desert Island in March and early April was pretty dreary, cold, gray, and snowy. The park roads were closed, most trails were inaccessible. The record snows of this winter were taking a long time to melt, and even as late as April 9 there were another 2 inches of snow.

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But the bare winter trees allowed for certain views which are hidden in summer. There are also plenty of friends around if you pay attention!

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Whenever there was a moment of that special late winter light, I tried to get out there and capture some of it!

(swharborwaters)

(stripes)

(swharborhouses)

 

(doublydetermined)

(houseshadows)

Slowly but surely, the snow is melting. The season is changing, and I’m delighted to witness the new spring coming.

(mansethouses)

(raintomorrow)

I’m looking forward to May, and to painting up a storm!

Posted by: janamatusz | September 12, 2014

Painting on Appledore, Isles of Shoals

Appledore Dock

Appledore Dock

I had been keen to paint on the Isles of Shoals for some time. This group of islands, 6 miles or so off the coast of New Hampshire, has a long, storied history and is renowned for its connections to art and for its beautiful rocks. Aside from a short visit to Star Island, I had never had the opportunity to work on the Isles of Shoals.

This changed in August, when I had a terrific work week at the Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore, (which is officially in Maine). Another painter and I were happy explorers, eager painters, and well-fed guests. Thank you, to Executive Director Jennifer Seavey, and to all the terrific, fascinating people on the SML team for making it such a great visit for us.

Here are some photos from Appledore, including some birds from the banding station. (Thank you, David Holmes, for sharing and showing me how you capture and band and check the birds. Fascinating!)

Rocky Appledore Coast

Rocky Appledore Coast

 

from Celia Thaxter's garden

from Celia Thaxter’s garden

 

Bird banders at work

Bird banders at work

 

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Here are some of my paintings from Appledore.

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Appledore! A great place to paint. Let me add poison ivy to my list of “plein airritations”  :-(  but the rash will go, the paintings will live on!

Posted by: janamatusz | June 27, 2014

A short return visit to Bermuda!

Hard-A-Lee

Ahhhhh…. It was such a pleasure to return to the island of turquoise waters, white roofs, colorful flowers, kiskadees, tree frogs, and the kindest people on the planet. It was wonderful to see so many friends again. (It was very hard to believe it had been three years since my 2011 Masterworks residency.)

Many thanks to the organizers of the Arts Project for inviting me to teach some workshops! Emma, Martine, and Helen did a wonderful job, and their concept is very compelling. Bermuda, always a destination for excellent recreation, can also be a destination for cultural exchange and education. St. George’s in particular has so much to offer. I wish the Arts Project much success, and look forward to visiting again. Here is a link to the Arts Project Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ArtsProjectStGeorgeBermuda?ref=hl

I came primarily to teach, but I was happy to do some painting too. Two weeks was such a short time — I’ll just have to return again since there is so much more I’d like to paint! Here are some paintings and photographs to share some of Bermuda’s unique beauty:

viewfrombellavista

 

oneway

 

turquoisewater

 

roofworker

 

whiteroofs

 

lizard

 

bermudablossoms

Warmest thanks to all my dear Bermuda friends, including the latest Masterworks Artist in Residence, Kal, whose political cartoons will be the talk of the island!

It’s back to New England for a bit now. I’m looking forward to doing some painting in the Portsmouth/Kittery area again, and to some more time in Maine. If you are an artist interested in an Acadia Artist Retreat (October 6-12), please check out this program on Schoodic. I’m very pleased to be included as one of the program leaders:

ACADIA_ARTIST_RETREAT.pdf

It will be a beautiful time to be in Acadia…

Posted by: janamatusz | May 16, 2014

Tra-la! May in Acadia.

I had a special visual treat during this short stay at Schoodic: baby foxes!

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The only thing cuter than a fox baby is TWO fox babies…

 

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or better yet, THREE!

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I worked on an unusual project this time, working with some taxidermy specimens from the Acadia curatorial collection. Many thanks to Kate and the staff at Acadia for arranging for them to migrate to my studio classroom on Schoodic!

Janaandcompany

 

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shortearedowl

 

Schoodic in May is beautiful. Cool, pleasant, open and airy since the undergrowth has not yet filled in, and still free of mosquitoes. Also, delightfully deserted for the most part. Did I mention I love it here?

invitingpath

 

schoodicshadows

 

birchbark

 

yellowbird

 

noisysquirrel

 

sunlitpath

 

bunny

 

whimbrels

 

rockyschoodicpath

 

viewofmdi

 

I’m looking forward to returning soon. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work in Acadia.

Next stop, Bermuda for a return visit!

Posted by: janamatusz | February 17, 2014

Plein air in winter!

Really. Is it possible? Painting en plein air in extremely cold, even sub-zero weather? In ACRYLICS? Don’t the paints freeze? I headed up to Acadia again, for a couple weeks on the Schoodic Peninsula, to try it out. The answer is, YES. It is possible. And YES, the paints freeze!

It has been a hard winter. In Maine this February the temperatures were often in the single digits, with wind chills below zero F. It never got above 32 degrees while I was there.

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When I tried my first painting, my washes froze immediately, (rather like the freezing rain on my windshield driving up). There were little flakes of frozen ice chipping off the board and in my brush, which was annoying. Worst of all, when I retreated to my car to warm up, propping my painting on the passenger side, I discovered as I warmed up that my painting had MELTED, running down the panel into a puddle on the floor mat. Well, I went back out, repainted and continued, but I’d learned some good lessons.

There are many good tips on the internet for painting in cold weather. Standing on a board or rug, to help keep your feet warm, for example. Or wearing a woolen mitten, which allows you to poke a brush end through to your hand, so you have brush control without exposing your fingers to the cold. For keeping oneself warm, layers are definitely the answer — four hats is not too many — and it is also a good idea to have a timer with you to remind you to take a break and stomp around a bit to warm up. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re immersed in a painting!

To these I can add two more tips for acrylic painters: first, I took a thermos of hot water for my water cup and replaced the water often. This helped keep my brush soft and flexible, and even helped warm up the paint I was working with. (It turns out that since the paints freeze, I could work with the paint from previous layers. So it felt a bit like oil painting!) Second, I kept a Snuggle-Safe microwave pet disk http://www.amazon.com/Snuggle-Safe-Pet-Microwave-Heating/dp/B00008AJH9 at the bottom of my painting bag, which kept one palette warm while I worked with the other. When the paint I was working with got too cold and tacky, I switched off and used the other palette.

I also made sure to keep my paintings perfectly horizontal when they were done now that I knew they would thaw first, then dry!!  🙂

I found that I worked with the paint more thickly in the cold, and that my painting could have some interesting textures from the freezing and thawing.

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So is it worth it to brave the cold and work en plein air in the winter? I think so. I truly believe there is nothing like the freshness and authenticity of working directly from nature, from direct observation. This is true in winter too. The unique light and colors of winter are worth the discomfort. (Yes, I can and do paint in the car too, but views are limited to places where one can park.)

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plein air in snow

I managed to do a number of paintings, and of course, some figure drawing in Bar Harbor.

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paintings from Schoodic

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Part of the immense joy of being in Maine in winter was seeing a place I knew well in another season, other attire. It was blissfully peaceful and quiet. In the snow were tracks of all kinds, the hard evidence of unseen but ever-present life. And the winter light and colors, when the sun was strong, were wonderful. Yes, it could go all colorless in a moment if the clouds turned everything grey and milky. But those intense blue shadows on snow were worth the trip.

Here are some photos from my wintery residence:

frozen cove

fleeting colors

ice

ice

schoodic path in snow

schoodic path in snow

schoodic blue sky

schoodic blue sky

icicles

icicles

setting sun in grey sky

setting sun in grey sky

icy waters

icy waters

shadow bands

shadow bands

view of cadillac

view of cadillac

I love it here.

I love it here.

Posted by: janamatusz | November 22, 2013

More Paintings from New England

I made the most of the beautiful painting weather this fall. In addition to a second painting session in Acadia National Park, I spent a month painting in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire/Kittery, Maine area. It was a treat to have the gorgeous fall light to work with. It was also a real pleasure to get to know the Portsmouth/Kittery area better. There was plentiful inspiration for my painting, and I was able to join some wonderful artists for drawing sessions as well. (Thanks, everyone!)

The Banks Gallery in Portsmouth, NH is featuring some of my new work (and some sculptures by Sumner Winebaum) in an upcoming show. The exhibition runs from December 7, 2013 to January 4, 2014, and the Artist Reception is on Thursday, December 12 from 5 to 7pm. You’re invited! Please stop by if you get a chance.
http://www.thebanksgallery.com/1/post/2013/11/jana-matusz-new-paintings.html

It’s a good time to see my artwork. In addition to new paintings at all three galleries, there will be work at the 17th Annual Boston International Fine Art Show
http://fineartboston.com/.
It’s also time for the 109th Annual Little Pictures Show and Sale at the Providence Art Club!
http://providenceartclub.org/dodge-house-gallery/
I have some favorite drawings for sale there. Please visit! The Little Pictures Show runs through December 23.

I didn’t want to post paintings both here and on my website — please visit my website to see some of the 2013 New England paintings.
http://www.janamatusz.com/2013PAINTINGS.html
Here are some photos though. (And yes, I really did take that one of the eagle!)

Some more Acadia (as I’ve said, just can’t get enough…):

eagle

 

whattaview

 

acadiapath

 

blue heron

 

pond text message

 

bird

 

to the light

 

lunch at the office

 

squirrel

And Portsmouth is a beautiful town, very charming, very comfortable and friendly. It’s also close to some favorite coastal places, like Ogunquit and Prouts Neck and Portland, Maine.

portsmouth

 

zig zag dock

 

sky

 

portsmouth street

 

trunks

 

nubble light

 

heron

 

fall flowers

 

portland tanker

 

ogunquit beach

 

ogunquit light

Now it’s time to start planning some good painting opportunities for 2014. Stay tuned!
A big, sincere thanks to everyone who has helped me and supported my work. I really appreciate it.

Posted by: janamatusz | July 24, 2013

There’s no place like Acadia…

I never seem to tire of Acadia, no matter how many times I visit.

My latest trip, in June 2013, was productive. Of course, there were the usual challenges for painting on-site, en plein air. I’ve coined a term, “plein airritations” for them. Shifting light, changing weather, changing tides. Rain. Wind! Bugs, especially the mosquitoes (State Bird of Maine). People. Heat. Sun. Drying paint. The list goes on and on. But there are also those perfect moments, those visual surprises and treasures, those soul-filling, time-erasing painting sessions (sometimes with only a loon for company…)  I can’t get enough. Perhaps the photos and paintings will begin to show you why Acadia is so special.

All the paintings shown here are available at Argosy Gallery, and will be shown at the First Friday Art Walk in Bar Harbor on August 2.

This was the first time in all my many trips to Acadia that I had the pleasure of figure drawing sessions. Always a nice change of pace, the figure drawing rescued a rainy day or two from complete disaster.

Again, I did not keep a daily blog, but here is a selection of photos, paintings, and drawings from my painting trip. Enjoy!

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Posted by: janamatusz | May 4, 2013

A heavenly month in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Thanks to the generosity of dear friends/patrons, I was able to spend four weeks in Provincetown, MA. It was off-season, and in March and April I knew I’d have some difficulties doing my usual plein air painting. But it was a revelation to have a chance to work for the first time in Ptown, and I understand better now why this special place has long been such an “artist magnet.”

There was snow, cold, and blustery weather, but I managed to do some work outside, some still lifes inside, and I was especially delighted to attend figure drawing sessions two mornings a week at the Provincetown Art Museum.

I did not keep a daily blog this time, but here is a selection of photos, paintings, and drawings from my artist residency. Enjoy!

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Paintings are 20×20″ or 20×16″ or 16×16″, acrylic on Multimedia Artboard:

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Drawings are 11×14″, 9×12″, or 9×9″, sumi ink (and walnut ink for some) on acid-free paper:

 

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What’s next? I’m looking forward to lots of painting in Maine and points north this summer. Stay tuned!

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