THIS WILL BE ANOTHER WONDERFUL WORKSHOP, WITH DAILY DEMONSTRATIONS IN WATERCOLOR AND OIL.  5 sessions per week and frequent critiques with lessons on value, design, color, and capturing light.

Please come and paint contact with me and the group for more information contact me through this blog or at

IMG_2547watercolor painting of coastal rocks

IMG_2228opaque watercolor Pemaquid Point, Maine

IMG_2166oil painting Rockport Harbor, Maine

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  • steve flemingMarch 15, 2017 - 1:08 pm

    Just checking to see if it worksReplyCancel

It has been a while since I posted anything but I have been working hard, most of the work is unrelated to art and poetry.  I have struggled with this poem for a long time, it once was twice as long and bounced all over as an epic of my life and then when I noticed the arrogance in it all I decided to cull it down to just a few stanzas.  The painting was my third version of a theme I really liked but it was waiting for the poem to behave itself.  Enjoy!

15 x 22 watercolor on 300lb paper.  “Golden Field”

Golden Field

Standing next to my tired

French easel,

That’s covered in duct tape and years of splatter

I look up,

across a golden sunlit field,

To a white clapboard house

That cries out to me like a long lost lover.

Shimmering like a pearl necklace

On a pad of rich amber velvet

Under a lazy blue-violet sky

And tucked into a copse green umber trees

The light on the house creating shadows

Like a modern version of a Franz Kline painting


The house reflecting the summer light

Lies slightly buried in a field of tall swaying weeds,

Seeds pods pregnant ready to give birth.

the delicate fragrance of wild flowers

rises with the heat.

Ready with my paint, paper and brushes

I pull down my hat to screen the glare

I’m alive, awake, in the moment.


Sometimes when trying to mix the perfect grey,

Or softening the edges of a cloud

I can feel one with the movement of the grass

as it whispers to me, its’ primal rhythms

and waves to the bees and birds.

I can hear the low rumbling voice of ancient rocks

weathered by nature over millions of years

as they grind from mountain boulder to grains of sand.

and I can talk to the birds as they keep a wary eye on me

but they do appreciate my adult conversations.

In these moments I am nature

Not above, not removed, not in control

Just one, at peace, aware

Aware that today

I only need shape, color and proper proportion.

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  • Jo Ann GoldbergAugust 17, 2017 - 2:19 am

    Steve It is good to follow your work, a highly talented artist. The last 5 lines of your poem describe a way of being that I find only in art. Thank you jo ann Goldberg washington DC ReplyCancel

This watercolor was a demonstration for one of my class.  The lesson was pretty simple.  I wanted to achieve rich darks, that were very translucent and then I wanted to get well times scrapes using a pen knife. It is hard to produce this level of dark colors if you rub them into the paper.  Also stay away from the dark staining colors they don’t scrape or lift very well.   I never expected it would lead me to this poem about how confusion and frustration can lead to so much lack of focus.  Enjoy

12×16 watercolor on 300lb paper


shallow boat floated
lightly over reeds turning
gold with the season

early morning rain
liquid pearls sparkle brightly
mirrors to the soul

golden leaves flutter
helicopters in breeze
cake flowers on ink

darkness shrouds return
the path vanishes
night smothers the way

After hours of winding my way through channel after endless channel, I realize I have no idea which one will lead me back to camp.  Every curve, tree and jetty looks exactly the same and all lead me to another level of confusion and nervousness.  I stroke with a furious intensity, the paddle more of a hammer than a means of propulsion. Water splashes on my pants, soaks my arms and begins to cover the bottom of the canoe.  I lose all my senses, my connection to the river and the beautiful world around me, there is no beauty just a slowly descending dark fearful dread.  I move with a manic energy hoping that with enough speed and determination I can will myself back to camp. Around every bend I expect to see the familiar, the friendly; a warm fire, smiling friends, and the comforts of the camp I left earlier this morning.  Maybe I should have left a trail of bread crumbs or notched a few trees to help guide me back to where I started, my personal arrogance has again led me astray.  Absentmindedly, I start to hum the theme from Gilligan’s Island and break out in total belly laughter; really whats the worst thing that can happen?  I breath. Over to my left I see a Great Blue Heron, and out of the deep shadows a frog splashes, and a bass moves in, just a flick and wrinkle on the surface. Counting my breath, I relax, focus and center myself.  I think I smell coffee and a campfire; I go left with a positive cadence stroke.

Watchful Blue heron lurks
head a miners hammer cocked
bass swims unknowing

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  • Barbara EtzelJune 10, 2017 - 4:38 pm

    True reflection of life’s journey! All is well!ReplyCancel

This oil painting is about walking on the beach in St Augustine right after my father died a few years back.  A storm had just past over and I was taken by the strong golden light coming through the clouds and the light reflected on the water.  I wanted the painting to be simple and somewhat abstract in design.  I compressed the values of the image to make the light more important.  This area of beach was where my father rented a condo and we would spend time together there. 11×14 oil painting on canvas panel.

Shore Birds

sun breaks through the clouds

wind blown sand lashes my face

surf rises and pounds

as the storm races off shore

But gulls remain steadfast, calm


I walked on the same stretch of beach everyday for weeks recalling memories of my father. I imagined him sitting on the porch looking out over the ocean, steaming cup of coffee and his crossword puzzles: always a crossword puzzle, done in ink with no mistakes. What I would give to be able to ask about how to start a stubborn mower after a long winter, or to tell him that things were good with me and that his baseball team was in first place. I take things for granted and harp over mistakes made when everyone was just learning the rules of life. Now they’re just ghosts. Hovering on a porch.


footprints in the sand

vanish with the incoming

tide, and walking leaves

no record, we make

marks then they’re gone

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  • Debbie HighMay 24, 2017 - 8:13 pm

    Lovely painting and poem!ReplyCancel

    • SteveJune 10, 2017 - 12:06 pm

      Debbie, thanks for taking the time to look at my website and to write a response. SteveReplyCancel

I painted these 3 watercolors for a scene in Rockland, Maine and I kept changing it to get a better more light filled composition.  I will post them first to last and I think you will see that the first image is pretty dark and the movement in the painting is pretty harsh.  In the latter versions I kept adding building and more pieces of light which slowed the painting down and added more places to highlight the shadow and light on the building. this painting is pretty compressed and everything just falls into the junction of the road and sky.this is slightly better; the road is more interesting but the left side of the painting doesn’t work to keep the viewer in the composition.The telephone poles and the lighter road help a lot to create a more interesting light pattern.  The trees and the sky are much more interesting.

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  • Pat McSwainMay 1, 2017 - 2:04 am

    Great examples of shadows and different values!ReplyCancel

  • MercedesMay 12, 2017 - 6:45 pm

    Masterful lesson about composition and brilliantly illustrated with the three watercolors. The last one is really great. Thanks for sharing. Respectfully Mercedes.ReplyCancel

    • SteveJune 10, 2017 - 12:07 pm

      Thanks Mercedes, I thought it was a good opportunity to share the different versions of the same image. I hope your painting is going well.ReplyCancel

This painting was a demonstration for one of my watercolor classes.  I kept the background really cool and nondescript and used a large flat brush to apply the cerulean blue and cobalt violet background.  I used a really small rigger brush to paint everything else.  I used the rigger every way I could think of trying explain that the use of different tools creates more opportunities for unique solutions.  This light is captured with the bright foreground and dark cast shadow.  Try a different brush and make  your paintings more expressive.

“first day of spring” 12×16 watercolor on 300lb arches

First day of spring

Low horizon’s dazzling light

Casts long winter shadows,

viridian greens

dark on lime colored grass

Big stocky robins

breasts painted red

do the two leg happy dance

followed immediately

by their shadows

As they peck, hop and pick

Staying just out of range

of my crazy pinball puppy

Bounding to the end of its’ long black leash

Like an atlas rocket

tied to a tether.

After weeks

of endless miserable weather,

today feels like what I believe is


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  • MercedesApril 21, 2017 - 5:53 pm

    This watercolor is very luminous and beautiful. Thanks for the explanations and for sharing it, Steve. Respectfully Mercedes.ReplyCancel

    • SteveMay 1, 2017 - 1:24 am

      thank Mercedes, it is always nice to see your comments. SteveReplyCancel