Sketchbooks on Peaks: round 5!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2017 in Art Classes, Drawing, Maine College of Art, Pastels, Peaks Island | 3 comments

Maine College of Art faculty Judy Labrasca and I led our fifth Peaks Island Sketchbooks Workshop last Saturday. The weather gods dealt us complete fog this year, not necessarily a bad thing. It was like being in a bell jar, with no horizon line and maybe less crowds. We began on the beach with a discussion of sketchbook practices, paper preferences, and handy tools for portability, like this wee watercolor palette Judy brought.

This class is a gently guided tour of sketching spots with permission to find your own point of view. Judy made small sketchbooks for everyone and I supplied Canson and Sennelier pastel papers to add. Without further ado, sketchers found their perches. Doris focused on a composition of stones while another ferry departs.

Janine gave her signature flourish to the water’s edge.

A driftwood seat for Dan and Lisa works just fine!

Cheryl got experimental with both watercolor and natural textures.

There was not much view, really. It’s the power of artistic vision to bring out mood and place.

Doris used a pastel blending stick to achieve this evocative drawing that hints at the distant presence of House Island.

I tried drawing the very complex structure that is the Peaks Island transfer bridge, the portal we pass through every trip.

We witnessed more than a few canines on their morning strolls to the shore.

Molly quickly captured this dog’s personality in her graphic view.

This dog just needs a unicorn horn, right?

We packed up and moved on to Sandy Beach. At high tide, it’s mostly ledge. We found places to draw from the rocks.

Jay’s watercolor of Whitehead Passage is so serene.

Another dog enjoyed a swim while the gnarly tree provided visual interest for some.

Edie began to draw all it’s winding detail.

I sketched the sketchers below me.

We moved on to the Fifth Maine Museum, where we ate our lunches and shared what we had done so far.

In Mary’s sketchbook, she captured the gap between Picnic Point and Cushing Island in lovely strokes.

Mary and Jay are regular drawing companions, and talked about their favorite methods and tools.

We split up again to draw more. A few ventured down into the Fifth Maine’s gardens.

Sudden sprinkles drove us all back onto the porch.

Doris began this bright botanical study. Leave it to an artist to create a buzz of color!

Judy took this photo of Peaks as the class returned to the mainland. The island has been shrouded in fog many times this summer, but I don’t mind. It slows down and gets dreamy, the fog horns muffled by the mist.

Thank you, MECA and Judy, and all the intrepid artists I am honored to meet. Keep filling those mighty sketchbooks!




  1. What a beautiful addition to your blog, Jamie–all the evocations are there–the fog, the random sparkles of color, the faces bent over sketchbooks–the way to see the world deeply. Forgive me, but it is often on my mind, here in Nova Scotia while I listen to the news south of the border, but the US Congress would benefit from such an activity. It would be an act of charity for you to give that to the nation, but since I usually throw these ideas out there–there it is. See you in September

    • Nicole, the slow looking at a view is indeed a worthy undertaking. Wouldn’t it be radical to get politicians to look deeply? Thanks for your insights. We miss you!

  2. Very nice, Jamie ! All of it !
    Beautiful drawing of the transfer bridge!
    Loved the yellow n blue flowers. How could I not? It’s in my DNA!

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