Thursday, January 22, 2015



There will be a DEAD PAINTING SOCIETY Pop-Up Session at my studio, 14 Cedar Street, Amesbury, MA, this Saturday, January 24th, from 9-12p.m. The class is limited to the first 12 who email me at The painting below, 30"x46", will be the subject of the class. I will re-imagine it, from moonlight to another mood, explaining the choices I make, demonstrating techniques, and answering questions. Tuition is $50

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Quick Return

By the Sea...

Well, it's been a long time! 

I apologize for having been so absent. Many of you now follow me on Instagram, where I post several times a week. I found that writing longer blog posts was occupying a lot of time and so I've mostly appeared on IG (@donaldjurney) as a way of keeping up.

Since I last wrote, we had a very successful workshop in Holland, followed by a a great one in Toronto. Students made a lot of progress, and I was pleased with the classes.

Here's a demo from Holland, being held up by the Dutch boy:

 And one from Canada:


For those who don't know, there will be a workshop under the auspices of The Welsh Academy, in Crickhowell, Wales, 22-30 June. There are a few places remaining. If you'd like to join us, painting the countryside and the mountains in the Brecon Beacon National Park, do write to Lucy Corbett, Director, at the Academy:

Plans are afoot, too, for a workshop in Norway, in the beginning of August, centered on Egersund. For more information about this workshop, please send me an email at


I'm pleased to report that an American collector of mine has invited me to Ireland, to paint a group of paintings during three weeks this coming June. I've been encouraged to suit myself on subjects and locations and so I look very much forward to following my nose around the Emerald Isle. Although I've drawn in Ireland, I've never painted there. So if you have some suggestions of places for me to visit, do leave a comment. This is the sort of carte-blanche invitation that one only dreams about, so you can well imagine my excitement about the opportunity.

After the return from Holland, bracketing the the Canadian workshop, I continued to spend a lot of time painting out of doors, including a stolen hour on Christmas Day at my sister's. Here's the sketch from then:

Christmas Willow, 14"x11" (35x28cm)
Rather a hasty grisaille, but it enabled me to report that I'd painted outside in every month of 2014.

Recently I've made this painting (almost finished) from an 11" x 14" plein air study in Rhode Island, painted last summer.

The Schooner Robert McClintock off Brenton Point, 30"x36" (75x90cm)
This photo's a bit yellow, but you'll get the idea.

For now, that's all. I look forward to seeing some of you for the two workshops and to painting with you. In the meantime, I send my very best wishes to you for 2015 and for lots of good painting.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014


For information about the Plein-air Workshop in Holland, please visit

First some exhibition information:

Seven of the 8" x 12" studies, from this spring and summer have arrived at Quidley & Co, 26 Main Street, Nantucket. They await you.

Fifteen of the the studies are on exhibition at the Newburyport Art Association, as part of the colloborative exhibition with RAW Art Works of Lynn (a previous post about this is here ). The studies will be for sale. The show is now open, at regular NAA hours, and will be up until August 17th. 

Please come to the opening reception, on August 12th, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the NAA, 65 Water Street, Newburyport.  I'll be there, and we expect the young artists, too.
I helped to hang the show yesterday and I can report that the students made some wonderful paintings. So please come and support these kids, and the immense effort they're making to direct their own lives. It's important!

On August 23rd, The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is hosting its 10th annual Art by the Sea gala and auction. Among the auction items is my painting, Rockbound.


A Five-day  Progression

Knowing, as I do, your fondness for progressions, here's a five-day post that started en plein air last Friday at Coolidge Point, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts. I had a great time with my IG friend Tony Bevilacqua, at a beautiful spot, on a lovely day. 

Here's my grisaille, where I stopped. The panel was tinted with a pale coat of Old Holland transparent red oxide and was fully dry. As is my custom, the grisaille is done in a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine. I vary this from warm to neutral to cool as the situation requires. The panel is 24" x 20", 60x50cm.

Knowing, too, that some of you are crazy for details, here's one of part of the grisaille from above.

As you can see, my grisailles are like drawings done with a brush. I mostly wanted to get a grisaille that describes some of the commotion of the tumbled rocks.

Here you can see that I've painted out the sky, added some violet to the water, and begun to think about the rock forms. This stage is very neutral compared with the grisaille It's much quieter. At this point I could decided to do a different sort of painting, one that emphasizes a more melancholy mood.

In fact, I held on to my original conception of a sparkling day, though it's still far from the desired result. Here I'm mostly concerned with the forms of the light-colored rocks. Although you'll see some changes from photo to photo, there were many more chops and changes to the rocks in between the pictures. I considered going insane (please don't say that it's a journey I've already made). 

Because I don't take reference photos, and I didn't make a drawing, what is currently on the panel, at any given moment, is the only reality. I'm thus forced to make a painting, with all the elements contributing toward a particular goal, rather than an illustration in which Mother Nature has done all the arranging part. It's a tremendous freedom, and a daunting prospect.

NĂ©anmoins, allons-y!

Here the rocks have gotten warmer and the sea more blue. Because the two elements are in a warm/cool opposition, they each enhance the other. I spent some time depicting the seaweed on the rocks, wracking my brain to imagine how it would look. And, of course, I played with the light-colored rocks yet again.

Who knows if this is the final rock structure?! 
And I still must paint a sky!!

I have today and tomorrow to whip this into shape. On Friday, I'm back out again with Tony, Paul and Brian, and it will be time for another grisaille.

Here, by the way, is how the previous one at Marginal Way, in Ogunquit, has turned out. 20"x24" 50x60cm.

Marginal Way, Ogunquit

You still have time to sign up for the two-day plein air workshop which I'm teaching in cooperation with the Ogunquit Summer School of Art, next Thursday and Friday, August 14 & 15. Call them if you'd like to join the class: 603-819-9100. We're going to explore painting the coast and sea at Ogunquit, learning ways to manage a complex subject. So come along, it's fun!

For the students in the Dutch workshop, more information will be on the way in a day or so. I'm really looking forward to painting with you!

 Classes and Workshops

Fewer than four weeks 'til Holland! 
Please note, in the section on classes, that there's a class sponsored by the Ogunquit Summer School of Art on 14-15 August. Sign up and paint the sea with us!

The Ogunquit Summer School of Art Ogunquit, Maine
14-15 August 2014
27-28 September 2014
Contact them at 603-819-9100

4-12 September, Alkmaar, NL Contact me about this TWO PLACES REMAINING

Toronto 6-10 October 2014
Contact me about this. ONE PLACE AVAILABLE

Norway August 2015 Contact me to receive information as it becomes  available.

Wales A possible 2015 workshop for the Welsh Academy of Art.   


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Landon and Knox

For information about the Plein-air Workshop in Holland, please visit   

An Ogunquit Outing

Above is a campaign button from the 1936 U. S. presidential election, one of a number I have in a my collection. I thought of it because I've been spending a lot of time on the rocks recently, from Cape Elizabeth to Newport, by way of Ogunquit, York and Rockport. 

The latest iteration was last Friday, when five of us painted along Marginal Way, in Ogunquit. Below is what the passersby saw from the path above us.

Clockwise, from lower left: T. Bevilacqua, F. Hyer, N. Corvinus, T. Bonita, and my unattended easel
We gathered quite a peanut gallery. From time to time I'd turn around, toward the Marginal Way path, and discover a couple of dozen spectators, taking photos and just watching. I called up to several groups, asking for a show of hands in approval of what we were doing. We had a pretty supportive audience though they could hardly have been able to see what we were actually up to. This reminds me of a remark made by one woman to another as I was painting on the rocks, closer to the path, on another occasion, "It looks okay from here, but...." 

The next photo will show you why I was glad I had my brand-new, neutral gray sunglasses with me. Five hours of this glare without them would have made me even more of a raving lunatic.

Here's the result of my five hours there.

Marginal Way, plein air state

It doesn't look like much for five hours, but it's a 20" x 24" panel (50x60cm), and pretty large for outside. My fellow painters were working much smaller. Recently, as you know, I've been working on 8" x 12" panels, both at the seaside and in Rawson's Corners. So this was a big jump in scale.  But after all the 6-foot+ canvases of 2013 this is rather a treat.

I changed the composition a bit as I painted, moving rock masses from one part of the view to where I thought I needed them. This won't surprise regular readers, who know I am always more interested in picture- making than in illustrating views. In this case I was particularly intent on trying to get to the spirit of the place. 

Subsequently life intervened and I didn't get to this panel for a couple of days. When I did, I changed the composition yet again, and wound up with this version.

Marginal Way, second state
The troubles with this one are many: first, the water is too self-conscious and, second, many of the rocks look like Idaho potatoes. And that's just for a start.

Although I posted the second version on Instagram, as I sat down to have a cup of coffee I wasn't very pleased. I'd spent a lot of time getting that water wrong. 

Finally, I decided that drastic measures were necessary. Simplification was required.

Marginal Way, third state
Although the potatoes are still in evidence, the simplification of the water makes a big difference. Tomorrow I'll do some potato work and hope to get a general tone throughout. 

Remember to always ask yourself if you're making a painting unnecessarily complicated. Are facts getting in the way of meaning? Are you showing off, making the painting about your skill rather than about the spirit of the place?

Remember the words of Emerson, "All great actions have been simple and all great art is."

(Below, you'll find some information about two 2-day workshops, in and about Ogunquit. If you'd like to come paint the sea with me, the contact information is listed below. This will be a small class, the better to work with each student).

 Classes and Workshops

Just five weeks 'til Holland! Please note, in the section on classes, that there's a class sponsored by the Ogunquit Summer School of Art on 14-15 August. Sign up and paint the sea with us!

The Ogunquit Summer School of Art Ogunquit, Maine
 14-15 August 2014
27-28 September 2014
Contact them at 603-819-9100

4-12 September, Alkmaar, NL Contact me about this TWO PLACES REMAINING

Toronto 6-10 October 2014
Contact me about this. ONE PLACE AVAILABLE

Norway August 2015 Contact me to receive information as it becomes  available.

Wales A possible 2015 workshop for the Welsh Academy of Art.