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.   


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Show Business

Paying it Forward

I have recently worked, with a group of young people who are students at the RAW Art Works program, at Central Square, in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The connection was initially made by Elena Bachrach from the Newburyport Art Association.

22 July 14 ---Students at RAW Art Works (photo: Bruce Orr)
At the first visit, 15 July, I set up a still life of kitchen items, much like I did in this post
Most of my time was spent making a reasonable grisaille of buildings, mountain, and fields from the still life. The students had previously taken a number of photos around Central Square. From these, they would make their grisailles.
At the end of this session, the youngsters were laying out their paintings by drawing the information from their photos onto panels, which were donated by Artist and Craftsman Supply in Saugus.

photo: Bruce Orr

At the second Tuesday meeting I continued with my demonstration, adding color. Bruce and I both talked a bit about vibration, complements and harmonies. The students began their lay-ins in grisaille, using burnt umber acrylic paint. Of course the speedy drying time meant that they needed to work fast, before the paint dried.

As I left that day, everyone had accomplished a lot. I look forward to seeing what they've accomplished since I last saw them.

On Tuesday the twelfth, I'll be at NAA, helping to hang the students' work.
I, personally, will have some fifteen or so studies from my work this summer.

I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit this show. The information is at the end of the article, below.

These kids have worked very hard to make a good exhibition, I would be most grateful if you would honor their efforts by coming to the reception and supporting them. An added bonus is the chance to meet the young artists at the opening reception, August 12th, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Art Association on Water Street.

Below is an article by James Pouliot which appeared in the Newburyport Daily News. It has some interesting information about this collaboration.

Please come!


July 24, 2014

Finding 'A Sense of Place'

Show a unique collaboration between well-known painter and student artists

When artist Donald Jurney was offered a solo show in exchange for raising the most money at last year’s Newburyport Art Association auction, he knew he wanted to do something different.
Rather than just display his own work, the noted landscape painter decided that he wanted to showcase young artists instead.
The result is “A Sense of Place,” an exhibition of artwork by teenagers from Lynn and the surrounding areas. Opening Tuesday, Aug. 5, the show seeks to offer students exposure to the world of fine painting.
Jurney’s work is well-known in the art community. His larger pieces are human-sized and incredibly detailed, often commanding high prices.
So when he donated “From Captain Emery’s, High Street, toward the Merrimack, ca. 1802” to last summer’s “Artful Feast,” bidders battled fiercely over the 20-by-12-inch painting. When the dust cleared, the final price was $7,500, with 100 percent going to the art association.
NAA tradition holds that whoever donates 100 percent of a work’s proceeds and receives the highest bid gets an art show of their work, according to Bachrach.
“He very kindly came to me and said, ‘I would like to donate something,’” Bachrach said. “He doesn’t really, for his career, need a featured artist show at the NAA. He very generously said, ‘You know, I want to make this an opportunity for emerging artists.’”
Around that time, Bachrach had been looking for an opportunity to collaborate with Raw Art Works, a Lynn group that seeks to educate and encourage children to take up the arts. Created more than 20 years ago, RAW was intended to help underprivileged children avoid the cycle of incarceration by creating a safe space to learn and express themselves through art.
Now, RAW serves more than 1,000 children and adolescents ages 6-19 each year with free art classes through the summer.
Jurney partnered with Bruce Orr, a group leader in the program, to teach teenage students to produce their first paintings for the show.
“It’s exciting,” Orr said of Jurney’s visit. “I didn’t know Donald Jurney, but I looked at his website and did some research and thought, ‘This is going to be a really exciting opportunity for kids to do something that they don’t get to do that often.’”
Orr’s group is one of the most advanced ones in the program, dubbed “Adventures in Fine Arts.” It’s meant for high-schoolers who take art seriously and are considering careers in the field. But fine painting isn’t their craft, Orr said; most of these students are drawers or cartoonists, because a pen and paper are more accessible.
“We’re kind of tearing down the mystery of what paint can do,” Orr said. “It’s very involved. The things that we’re presenting to them about composition and light and shadow, they’re getting it.”
The students jumped into the work, he said, going out into the city and taking pictures of what they found. Students described fire hydrants, chains and protruding pipes creating eerie shadows, fodder for photos they would later turn into landscapes and still lifes.
For most, the central theme was a challenge: Students sought out images that spoke to them on a personal level and tested their skill at lighting and composition.
Kelly McNulty, a rising junior at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute, found herself fascinated by the view of commuter rail signs from under a bridge in Lynn. As a budding cartoonist with dreams of studying animation at Massachusetts College of Art, the chance to show off her work is the most important part of the experience.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I like showing my work, and I think this is a really cool opportunity. I’ve had my work featured at shows at RAW, but this is really a bigger place that probably a lot more people go.”
For Orr, this is exactly what he wants in one of his groups, even though many of the students are too shy to gush about it.
“The way you see the result of what’s being taught is in what the teens are doing,” Orr said. “They’re diving right into this project. ... They’ve seen what the possibilities are, and they’ve just started their underpaintings, and they’re already exploring what the medium can do.”
Those “underpaintings” are a big part of the switch between drawing and painting: Even when teens have the model photo in front of them, Jurney teaches them to paint their work first in a single color, paying attention to details of composition and form, before adding colors.
This is the stage where the painting begins to depart from the source material and take on a life of its own, when the artist can transform the literal shape of their subjects into something imagined. Jurney first demonstrated the concept by depicting objects from his kitchen.
“There was a box of saltines, and a box of spaghetti, and a tuna fish can,” Jurney said. “I asked them to imagine that these things were not what they were, nominally, but that they were things out of this world. I made one of the things into a big mill building, another one into sort of a shed, another one was a road ...”
One student turned her photo of a traffic light into a tree.
“That may have been a comment on urban life,” Jurney joked.
Colors came this past Tuesday, during the students’ second and final session with Jurney.
“They had done really good work since last time,” Jurney said. “I had this feeling that connections were being made. They all tended to be very shy around me, but I could see in what they were doing that some of the stuff was going through.”
The final results of the classes remains to be seen: The artists have another week and a half to color and tweak their paintings before the show opens. Jurney will also display a group of his plein air studies from this summer.

If you go

What: “A Sense of Place,” featuring pieces by Raw Art Works students and painter Donald Jurney
When: Aug. 5-17. Artists’ reception on Tuesday, Aug. 12, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Regular gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Newburyport Art Association, 65 Water St.
How much: Free

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tall Order

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

The Genesis of The Door to the Golden Age

It's my pleasure to report that The Door to the Golden Age Age (90"x44", 235x120cm) has been sold by Quidley & Company, along with another large painting, to a new collector. The Doorway will be on view at Quidley, Nantucket, until mid-August.
Many of you who are local were on hand to see it at my studio, before it went off to New York last fall. You may remember Jacob Maris's flatboat beginning the trip to the city.

Jacob Maris Ferrying the Door to New York, 28 September 2013
But, of course, the saga had begun long before.

Stretched canvas, 28Jul13
I'd been thinking about the design, and soon, with the help of friends, it was flat on the floor so that the perspective of the vestibule floor could be plotted, using many strings. Because it was completely from the imagination, it had to be correctly drawn in a very slow fashion.

Above, and below, laying-in, 9 August 2013.





Jannetje's first appearance, 22August2013
And so it went, each day a bit more. Until it made it's debut in New York, at the Park Avenue Armory Art and Antiques Fair.

And had a profound effect on the cleaner at The Four Seasons in New York.

I'm glad it found its home. But I confess to a bit of post-partum, too.

Tomorrow I'm off to Ogunquit to paint the rocks and sea with some friends. I'm taking a tinted, 20" x 24" (50x60cm) cradled birch panel with me. After all the 8" x 12" panels, it seems like a billboard!

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. THIS CLASS IS FULL

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

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