A selection of student drawings, Artwaves MDI

Tonal study, paper bag demo, oil on paper

Paper bag study, oil on paper

Paper bag study, oil on paper

Fundamentals of Painting, Problem I

A new session of my painting class is under way.

At first glance this looks like the old fave, tonal wash paper bag study problem and in fact it is although with a very interesting refinement.
Start with a medium value all over your page. Use a 2″ brush. Get it even. Then without any measuring, sketching, mapping, outlining or drawing of any sort, start modelling the form as directly as you can manage. It’s like working with clay, just push and pull the forms into a rough structure then work to refine the light, push and pull the space.
Drop-ins welcome on Tuesday nights. Let’s paint.


Robert Pollien, Landscape Painter, Bar Harbor Maine

Painting from Direct Observation, Grand Manan, NB, Canada

Painting from Direct Observation, Grand Manan, NB, Canada

During the 1980’s I taught art in the Portland area and often visited Acadia to take advantage of the public access to the coastline that forms the backbone of my work. Acadia National Park protects more than 47,000 acres, in stark contrast to the patchwork of private and municipal holdings along the coast in the rest of New England. After a few visits I proposed an Artist in Residence program to Acadia National Park management, and in October of 1994 I was Acadia National Park’s first Artist in Residence. The following year my family relocated to Town Hill in Bar Harbor. As a landscape painter, the issue of public access to the coastline was central to my decision to leave South Portland to live near the Park.

My work is done largely from direct observation and I have spent countless hours studying, painting and drawing on Mount Desert Island. My favorite sites include Great Head, the Otter Point area and both Hunter’s and Little Hunter’s Beaches, however this summer found me working off the island. For the month of July, I was an artist in residence at the Maine Farmland Trust’s Joseph A. Fiore Art Center at Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson. It was an opportunity to explore a very different Maine landscape, and one that has been likewise opened for artists and others to experience freely.

I paint both in the studio and outside from direct observation, year-round. In winter I break out the finger-less gloves, warm boots and occasionally, a chemical heat pack tucked into the palm of my glove. The calm beauty of the island in the winter speaks to mer, though the variable weather and winter’s short day length can make winter work challenging. There’s much to be said for having Sand Beach all to yourself on a calm, cold February morning.

My work is currently on display at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockland and the Artemis Gallery in Northeast Harbor, Maine. I teach painting and drawing at ArtwavesMDI, a a member supported, community arts center in Bar Harbor. For more information on my art classes, visit http://artwavesmdi.com