Tag Archive for: Plein Air

Camp Pobello

Paint Campobello 2013

Paint Campobello – Plein Air Painting Workshops with Michael Chesley Johnson

Instructor: Michael Chesley Johnson
Date: July to September, 2013
Time: N/A
Location: New Brunswick
Cost: $300 (not including lodging)

Michael Chesley Johnson is once again offering his popular plein air painting workshops from July into September at his summer studio on Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada. These workshops are a real treat for the student because they are small in size – typically no more than four students – and offer some of the best Maritime scenery anywhere.

Campobello Island is home to the 3,000-acre Roosevelt-Campobello International Park, which was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and to the Herring Cove Provincial Park. The parks offer quiet beaches, bold cliffs and meadows edged with apple trees, and elsewhere on Campobello and in neighboring Lubec, Maine, the painter will find fishing villages and lighthouses.

Michael schedules two types of workshops. He gives workshops for any level of student in which the fundamentals of plein air painting are taught, and also workshops for advanced painters where the finer points of the painting process are discussed. Additionally, he is happy to serve as a guide or mentor for the advanced painter seeking a retreat. Workshops cost $300 for four half-days. They run half-days allowing the painter to paint on his own, if desired, or to explore the area’s many recreational opportunities with family or friends. Although Michael will paint in oil or pastel, students are welcome to bring any medium.

For details or to register, please visit www.PaintCampobello.com or contact Michael at mcj.painter@gmail.com. For details on Michael, visit www.MichaelChesleyJohnson.com.

Michael also offers a similar program in the Red Rock country of Sedona, Arizona, from October into April. For details, visit www.PaintSedona.com.

Michael Chesley Johnson is a plein air painter working in the American Southwest, coastal Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. He has been an Invited Artist at the Sedona Plein Air Festival for the past 6 years (2006-2011) and in 2011 also participated in the Plein Air Southwest, Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park invitationals. In 2012, he is an Invited Artist for both Plein Air Magazine’s Plein Air Expo & Convention and again for the Grand Canyon event. Additionally, he is a Contributing Editor for The Artist’s Magazine and a frequent contributor to Pastel Journal. He also specializes in teaching small-size plein air painting workshops and has many books and instructional videos available.

The Ugly Tractor

Hawthorne on Painting

Every good plein air student needs to discover Hawthorne at some stage. “Hawthorne on Painting” is a little paperback which is currently being listed on Amazon and other book selling sites.

Charles Hawthorne is often quoted by painterly illuminati, although some say his teachings are contradictory. I bought the slim paperback online. It is without any illustrations but it IS full of advice.

The book consists of students’ notes of his teachings collected by his wife.

I’m paraphrasing here:

“Avoid drawing – simply put one spot of correct colour and value next to another…”
“Don’t paint with a brush, use a lot of paint with something like a palette knife without a pointed end.”
“Exaggerate colour, create a surprise…”
“Paint something ugly…open peoples’ eyes by showing them the beauty inherent in commonplace things.”

So I took my pochade box to Government House in Victoria and and instead of selecting the gorgeous flowers I chose a tractor in the gardens.

Wow, did I struggle. I missed my brush, I missed my under painting, I missed my drawing and I duly started with a spot somewhere in the middle, laying other spots around it, ignoring edges. Just like he said.

I’m not so certain about the end-result but I learned a lot, and had fun. Just like he said I would.

The 6 x 8 was dripping with wet juicy acrylic so I had to carry it to the Show ‘n Tell with my dustpan – my fellow Al Frescoes laughed when they saw my Hawthorne-method painting.

Next I’m going to discover Henry Hensche. The book is listed at over $1,500.00 on eBay but I’ve ordered the penny-horrible version off the Internet. Talk ta ya later…



Here are the two separate methods I have used as sleeves on a tripod leg to keep the umbrella in place.The sharp end of an umbrella pole can slide into either of these. The upper grip can either be a hole drilled into the paint box or a key-ring wide enough to accommodate the umbrella pole.


LEFT :: From the liquor store, a plastic sample holder

RIGHT :: From an old bicycle tube, some rubber. (Note- the valve is not necessary but it does provide a helpful handle).