With permission we reproduce here Brad Ball's reflections on a recent exhibit in Tamworth, and his wonderful photographs:
Peggy Johnson helped facilitate the original gathering: “This is the show of people who spent five days painting with Michael Doyle. Michael came to be a painting teacher for the Yeoman Fund three years ago and then his students said, ‘Can you come back to teach with us again and paint with us next summer?’ ‘Sure,’ he said. And he did. And so, this year, we spent a day in the village at the Remick Museum, we spent a day at South Tamworth by the mountainside, we spent a day on Cleveland Hill, a day in Wonalancet Intervale, and a day by a pond - because we all feel water is hard to paint – and it is.
"The painters were: Betty Welch, Kate Thompson, Penny Purcell, Kay Boone, Ann McGarity, Mary Breasted and Ted Smyth.”
Mary Smyth spoke about the help she received in this class: “Michael Doyle is the most generous art teacher I’ve ever encountered. He’s a very good painter, himself, and he gives you all kinds of tips about how colors work together. Michael’s taught me how to use the range of consistencies in my ‘wash.’ I had painted hardly at all before – I liked taking photographs; but I was getting frustrated because the camera doesn’t get the range of light that the human eye does. That’s why painting is so fulfilling. In painting you can do things you can’t do in photography.”
Michael Doyle is the instructor of the class and has been teaching in the Tamworth area the last four summers – primarily with these artists. He has exhibited in Philadelphia, Delaware, California and Center Sandwich.
The purpose of the workshop is: “To have people aware … to have the confidence to approach the beauty of nature around them with confidence to say, ‘I can be a painter; I can do this.’ ”
“I prefer them to do one painting a day and in doing that it keeps them from getting stuck on unnecessary detail. When they know they have to have something at the end of the day, they work a lot faster, which allows them to make more decisions quicker and frees them up from unnecessary detail.”
Did he enjoy this group? “Oh, yeah, we had a great time!”
Penny Purcell has been trying to work on trees. "I’ve been terribly detailed and I’m trying to get more of shape and color. I’ve learned a lot from Michael about shape, color: ‘watch your lines; don’t delineate so much’… and that seems to be my thing: I like to get fussy with my artwork.”
I asked her about doing five paintings in five days: “A painting a day. I did cheat - I did go back to [one spot] this morning – this one seemed kind of muddy to me, so I lightened it up a little bit.”
Kay Boone was pleased "as to how much I could accomplish in one session, because each day was a different place and a different opportunity to create something. It was quite a challenge, I have not been painting all that long, to see what I could come up with. The week was a wonderful workshop overseen by Michael. I really enjoyed seeing the variety that each one of the participants in the workshop comes up with – it’s remarkable. Everyone has a different view of what they are looking at and how to put it together.”
Ted Smyth proudly showed off the second and third paintings he had ever done!
It was a fun-filled afternoon for me and from the scuttlebutt in the class, I believe you may see them all out and about another year - capturing the beauty of the North Country.