Saturday, June 16, 2012

Black Flies Offer Assistance in Outdoor Painting

Removing the flies
I was happily painting away  near the summit of Mt. Stanton, when I saw a gathering of tiny swarming shadows dancing on my palette. Moments later the entire swarm descended into the fresh sticky paint of my sky. Because I work with a very light ground, as I removed the flies one by one with the end of a pointy brush, each one left a little white dot of lifted paint.

the attack 


From there it was just a matter of turning the white spots into a lovely swoop of tiny clouds.

Flies turned to clouds
As I continued so did the black flies

So I added more clouds

I tried to get a finished picture with no flies, but one sneaked in while I was shooting it (left)
Thanks for reading, and don't worry Hudson River Fellows, the black flies will be gone by July.

Upcoming Lectures:

NHAC June 23 (Click for details)

Keene State College, Thorne Sagendorph Gallery, June 28 in conjunction with the exhibition, Wild Land: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Landscape Painting, which will include three of my paintings as evidence of Cole's influence today. Exhibit info click here. Lecture details to follow, or contact the Gallery.

Teaching Studios of Art, Plein Air Competition, July 13 and 14, (click here for competition details) I'll give a talk at the competition.

Upcoming Instructional DVD:

Upcoming Workshops:
July 5th to July 8th, 2012: Traditional Oil Painting at the Wentworth Hotel: elegant wine, food, and accommodations alongside a weekend of painting in the White Mts. Click here for details

July 16th to 26th, 2012: Through the Grand Central Academy of Art: Paint with us in the White Mountains alongside the Hudson River Fellowship for 10 days. Click here for details


  1. Love it!
    I've been told that there are purist plein air collectors who actually look for evidence of flies/bugs - like looking for inclusions in amber. I don't think they'd want that many, though!

  2. Black fles are gone. This year Airondack publishers invitational will be warm, suny and not so many bugs.

  3. That's just great humor-advice & painting! Along the Niagara river it's the sandflies as the painting assistants. Perhaps you'll have a Luna moth do the job for larger evening cloud formations. I'll check back later to see. Judson

  4. Thank you, They've actually been pretty mild here in the White Mts. most of this year. This day was an exception! @Eric, wish I could be at the Adirondack Paint Out! Schedule conflict (lecture above).

  5. That is so funny! I like the one where they continue to plague you and from here look like you've painted birds in the distant sky.