Michele Clamp Art


Orchard Beach, Maine

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Orchard Beach, Maine. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Still in Orchard Beach and a snowy picture of the ferris wheel. I wanted this to be somewhat subdued but maybe dialed it back too much. Has a nice touch to it though.

Some intermediates :

The drawing. Oh the ellipses! And the perspective! Thankfully everything meshes together in the painting if painted loosely enough.

Next the initial washes. A light sky and fairly grayed out tones for the buildings. The wheel is lightly touched in leaving areas of white to break up the lines.

More darks to add some solidity to the structures and more detail in the wheel. Still keeping a light touch.

The final thing. A little more detail on the fence and some loose work to define the foreground and we’re done. In hindsight I would probably have punched up the color a little more but I’m happy as is.

The original photo. I remember it being extremely cold.


The Pier at Old Orchard Beach, Maine

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Pier at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

Old Orchard Beach, Maine
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I treated myself to some hot press paper and this is its first outing. We spent the New Year at Old Orchard Beach a couple of years ago and I snapped the pier which turned out to be a pretty nice composition.

For a first outing I’m pretty happy. No blending on the paper with hot press and with the fans and the heat the paint dries pretty much immediately. Some nice effects though.

Portland Head

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So what to do with the rest of the afternoon. Looking for something quirky I found this from a trip we made to Portland ME almost exactly a year ago. So why not? Not sure quite what to make of this one yet.

Kittery Point - Day 5. Howells House.

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Last day before we left and something a little different.    This is the house we were staying in -Howell's House.    This was built in 1870 and was the summer home of William Dean Howells who was the editor of the Atlantic Monthly.  It's a wonderful place.   

But what of the painting?  As I started drawing it became apparent that this was going to be much more complicated than I'd first thought.   I tried pretty hard to get the proportions right and almost succeeded.  If you didn't have the house in front of you you wouldn't notice any difference.

It came out ok considering the complexity.  Weak foreground as usual - I keep meaning to go back and put some darker shadows in to focus back on the house. 

The drawing - feeling good.

Starting in on the house.  Not feeling too bad...

Finishing up (with James coming out to investigate).

Kittery Point - Day 4. Portsmouth Harbor Light take 2

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I wasn't going to let lighthouse views on my back doorstep go to waste so I was out bright and early to have another go at this one.     I happily found a shady spot with a reasonable view down by the tennis court and set up ready to go.     This time I wanted to make the lighthouse more prominent and hopefully cut down on the foreground.     That didn't quite happen - we still have that dreaded foreground.    This was a strange one - usually if I'm enjoying a painting the end result is good.  I was enjoying this enormously and some parts were coming out well.  The sky behaved and the lighthouse itself I was very pleased with.   It kind of fell apart when it came to the house/sea/foreground which was a bit of a shame.   Never mind - it might grow on me over the next couple of days.  (Edit:  3 days later and no, it hasn't grown on me.)

Kittery Point - Day 3. Portsmouth Harbor Light.

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There are 2 lighthouses visible from our back porch.    Actually strictly speaking there are 3 but the third is so far away it doesn't really count in painting terms.    The prettiest is Portsmouth Harbor Light which is the traditional white with a dinky little red roofed house next door.

So what to say about this one?  I'm pretty happy I think considering I'm painting outside and generally screw up.   The composition leaves a lot to be desired but I'll give myself a pass on this as I'm happy otherwise.   Good color overall but had a big struggle with the foreground (again) but I think it was dragged back from the brink albeit a bit bedraggled.

Kittery Point - Day 2. Portsmouth Harbor

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It's pretty warm here and I'm discovering that choosing something to paint depends a lot on finding somewhere to sit that isn't roasting hot but still has something interesting in view.   I know that some people have umbrellas that they attach to their easels/ground/themselves and maybe they're worth it but it's yet another thing to lug around.   I've also seen people spend more time fiddling with the umbrella than painting and I have enough trouble keeping my easel under control.   But I found a shady spot on a wall where I could sit out of the sun and still have my easel up.    Not the perfect scene but good enough.

Frankly it came out very differently and better than I originally thought.   The first aim was to just paint the boats and leave most of the foliage out.   (Foliage is hard!).   However it turned out that a lot of the foliage crept in and came out pretty well.    Boats came together well - not too much detail, just enough to make sure you know it's a boat.      As always there are a couple of things annoying me . I put that boat smack bang in the center of the picture which I shouldn't have.   Also the sea needs a bit more punch - it's pretty much the same color as the sky and I could have given it more color.

But on the whole - pretty chuffed.

Even in the photo you can see I should have given the sea some more welly.

Resting on the porch after a hard afternoon's work.

Kittery Point Maine - Day 1

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We've rented a fabulous house for the week in Kittery Maine.   It is right by the sea and has wonderful views of Portsmouth harbor.  I can just step out the back door, set up the easel and paint. It's wonderful.

Day 1.   This is a view of part of next door's garden.   I haven't painted landscapes in a while and summer greens are notoriously hard so this was a leap into the unknown.

To make things harder I started this the day before in the afternoon and finished the next day in the morning.  This meant that all the shadows were reversed which was annoying.   However I struggled on but almost gave up on it as I got towards the end.    Everything was getting muddy and the trees were looking rather stodgy.   Didn't like it one bit immediately after I'd finished but it's growing on me.

Here I am on my perch.

Cape Porpoise Maine

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In my Joseph Zbukvic videos he is constantly saying that we have to paint outside if we want to be better painters.   As James and I are now not going to Canada (about which the less said the better) we took a trip up to Maine to find some coast to paint.

We ended up at Cape Porpoise near Kennebunkport and we were lucky that it was relatively quiet compared to Kennebunkport itself.   After lobster rolls by the sea and few boat sketches we sat down and I did my first painting outside for quite a while.     It wasn't the most relaxing of painting sessions as James (helpful though he is) decided that video would be taken and helpfully provided a running commentary.

The result above (30 minutes) I'm quite pleased with with only one really bad mistake.   If I had my time again I wouldn't have made the sea an unadulterated cobalt blue but otherwise I'm pretty happy.   As we were finishing a couple came up behind us and were very complimentary and actually offered to buy it.   

Oh - and the really bad mistake is the red boat.  It looks fine by itself but it's completely the wrong scale and looks like a toy.  Never mind.

Boats viewed while consuming lobster rolls.

More boats - always good to have reference photos.

What is this?  A pier?  Jetty?

More boats.

Nice rocks.

And a few more boats.