·                     American Artist

·                     Showcase Your State

·                     Trees

·                     Weekend With the Masters

·                     Workshops

View more


·                     May 2009 (3)

·                     April 2009 (5)

·                     March 2009 (3)

·                     February 2009 (3)

·                     January 2009 (4)

·                     December 2008 (4)

·                     November 2008 (4)

·                     October 2008 (3)

·                     December 2006 (1)

This month Massachusetts is the featured state for our national Plein Air: Showcase Your State competition. Massachusetts is a popular destination and residence for artists, with its many charming harbor towns, picturesque landscapes close to the Berkshire Mountains, and historic communities with rich artistic legacies. Plein air painters in particular often travel to Massachusetts to paint in Provincetown—where Henry Hensche’s Cape School of Art originated—try their hand at the famous Motif # 1 of Rockport, or marvel at the nautical and natural beauty on Cape Cod and Nantucket.

Entries came from both residents and frequent visitors to the state, and their paintings were all fine examples of not only some of the more popular and well-known motifs of Massachusetts but also some of the hidden gems of the area. Our editors have reviewed the entries, and we have selected the following three landscape paintings as Showcase Your State: Massachusetts finalists. Thank you to all who submitted for sharing your interpretations of and stories from this favorite landscape-painting destination.

* If you would like to submit an entry for any of the 50 states for the Showcase Your State competition (with the exception of New Jersey and Massachusetts, which have already been decided), please send a low-res (72 dpi) JPEG or TIFF to pleinair@myamericanartist.com, and please include a brief description of the subject as well as caption information for each of your entries (title, year, medium, dimensions, collection). No more than two entries per artist, please. For full contest rules, see below.

FINALIST #1: JEANNE PIERCE (from Townsend, Massachusetts)

Summer Day, Plum Island
by Jeanne Pierce, 2008, oil, 12 x 16.

In the Words of the Artist:Plum Island's Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, in Newburyport, Massachusetts, has been a favorite painting spot of mine for many years. Dunes, beaches, salt marshes, and meadows provide habitat for many resident and migratory birds, and it is a favorite place for bird watchers, artists, bikers, and runners. On a hot July day at the height of greenhead fly season, I was captivated by this view. Puffy clouds filled the sky, and cloud shadows swept over the meadow. The shrubs standing watch in the middle distance are known to locals as 'the pea and the bean' and have had that distinctive shape for as long as I can remember. I began this painting with the sky, as I was anxious to capture the feeling of the clouds. Next I massed in the distant hill, the shadow shapes in the trees and tall grasses, and the cloud shadow on the meadow. Then the light areas were added and color applied to indicate the masses of wildflowers in the meadow.”


FINALIST #2: MARY ERICKSON (from Marshville, North Carolina)

Essex Marsh
By Mary Erickson, 2008, oil, 8 x 10.

In the Words of the Artist: “In September I made a plein air painting trip from Newport, Rhode Island, to Boothbay, Maine, stopping in Boston to visit my good friends Gary and Cindy Davis.  We spent a day looking at paintings in Gloucester and then painted this scene in Essex. Plein air painting is all about capturing the essence of a scene—the light, emotion, and atmosphere—and a sense of place on a two-dimensional surface. The challenges of weather, bugs, and time constraints can be easily overlooked once you get into the moment. For me, this painting is a momentary memory captured on canvas.”


FINALIST # 3: J. RICHARDS, JR. (from Williamstown, Massachusetts)

Berkshire Morning
by J. Richards, Jr., 2008, oil, 24 x 30.

In the Words of the Artist: “This painting is a scene from the west side of Mount Greylock, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, overlooking Williamstown and the Taconic mountain range. In this studio painting done from on-site sketches and historical references, I tried to capture the plumes of fog rising off the stream as the morning sun warms the mountain, similar to what Winslow Homer observed and painted when he visited the Berkshires many years ago.”

The plein air sketch that preceded
the finished painting above.