Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Rainy Day with Matt Smith

Somewhere along the Coast of Maine, a 9x12 oil.
Plein air workshops normally take place outside on (one hopes) bright sunny days. A grey day brings out the grumbles from workshop attendees. We want light effects and plenty of them!
So I was sad when one day of a three-day Matt Smith workshop was very wet and very much an inside day. But actually I learned a lot with that studio time… maybe more than when I was out chasing the sun and looking for shade.
We worked from our own photo references. Matt believes in using photos as references primarily for larger paintings. He says a photo can supply structure and details missing from a plein air study and perhaps more importantly jog a memory.
He doesn’t think a photo needs to be perfect. (What a relief! Mine never come close!) But they do need to be of a paintable subject.
This is where the inside day was truly helpful for me. My favorite photo was not a paintable one. And I must admit cascades of white water with barely any discernible form beneath would be difficult, if not impossible, to build a good painting around. But a soft morning in Maine? This was quite possible and I had a fairly good photo to jog my memory. 


  1. Such a beautiful scene, Shirley! Wonderful blues..I've been to Maine and along the coast is so lovely..adding this house makes it perfect!!
    I will visit Matt Smith now!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. It is a stunning work, Shirley. You should be very happy with it.....just wonderful!

  3. A beautiful painting!
    Great mood and atmosphere!
    Bravo Shirley!
    It proves.that art is important!

  4. A beautiful scene which you've captured in such a peaceful way. This looks like many a day I've seen on the Pacific Coast - full of fog and quiet surf.


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...