Lighthouse sailboat Maine

For years, I have admired the poetic landscape paintings of T. Allen Lawson. So, when fellow artist Shanna Kunz asked me to join her at Tim’s plein air painting workshop in Maine, I jumped at the chance! 

Corralled by T Allen Lawson

Together with 12 other seasoned artists, we began our week at T. Allen Lawson’s charming farmhouse and studio in Rockport, Maine. Tim and his wife have created a 50 acre haven for themselves and their 4 children.

T Allen Lawson's studio
Maine horse barn
Surrounded by paddocks of horses and sheep, free roaming chickens, happy dogs and colorful woods, the Lawsons have endless inspiration. It was interesting to learn that Tim’s talented wife, Dorie, is a published author, and the daughter of famed American historian, David McCullough!

artist, T. Allen Lawson and author, Dorie Lawson
Dorie and Tim Lawson

artists painting in Maine
We enjoyed watching a rare demo by Tim Allen Lawson

Tim Allen Lawson demo

A native of his beloved Wyoming, Tim now prefers painting the more intimate landscape environment that Maine offers, ‘a small portion of a scene’, as he puts it. A strong kinship to fellow painters who hail from Maine can be sensed in his work. Artists N.C. Wyeth (1882–1945),  Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009), Jamie Wyeth (born 1946),Winslow Homer (1836–1910), Edward Hopper (1882–1967), Rockwell Kent (1882–1971), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), Frederic E. Church  (1826–1900), and Robert Henri (1865–1929) are just a few.

monhegan island
The infamous artist colony, Monhegan Island sits quietly off the Maine shoreline.

Tim’s generosity and hospitality is unrivaled. He kept us working from early morning until dinnertime each day. In the 12 passenger van, Tim acted as our personal chauffeur and patiently answered our endless questions as he drove us to each new painting location.
art workshop students
Tim explaining our assignment for painting at an old church cemetery.

artist painting Maine church cemetery
Morning painting at the old church cemetery. Kinda creepy, but I painted things I’d never paint on my own, and learned a lot!

Maine lobster shack
Lunch break with fellow painter, Shanna Kunz, at a Maine lobster shack!

After a full day of painting, T. Allen Lawson was still teaching at sunset!

Here are just a few of the highlights from my week with landscape artist, T. Allen Lawson:

 “If a painting is ‘high key’, it’s the darker areas that become important. Or if the scene is dark, it’s the lighter areas that matter.” 

“When you begin a painting, ask yourself – why am I painting this scene?”

“Pay attention to the nuances of temperature within the masses.”

“Value design is strength.”

“Dont’ break up the value masses.”

“Keep your paintings to 4 values or less. Dark, mid-dark, mid-light, light.”

“Think in terms of flat, abstract shapes.”

“Start every plein air painting with a thumbnail sketch. Work out your design first.”

“Chalky color = unclean color.”

“Use photographs as a tool, not a crutch.” 

“Draw from nature. You get more of an intimacy drawing from nature rather than from painting.”

“You have to draw everyday to get better.”

“Color mixing is your painting vocabulary. Get to know your paint, make color charts of your palette.”

color charts artist
Tim, explaining the importance of color charts.

T Allen Lawson drawing of tree
Field sketch by T. Allen Lawson

drifted-in t allen lawson
Drifted-in by T Allen Lawson

Tim’s exquisite landscape paintings balance a sensibility of the natural world with exceptional artistry. It was an honor to be invited by the Lawson family to paint with Tim.

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