Saturday, December 30, 2017

Beginning an Art Journal: A New Year Reflection

Since I am teaching a workshop on visual journaling in a couple of weeks, I was inspired to engage in the journaling process myself.   The art of visual journaling is also the art of mindfulness, where one engages in reflection without a plan and without fear of making mistakes.
This piece contains three phrases I wrote out and pinned to the corkboard above my drawing table several years ago.  I pinned them there for inspiration as I began the whirlwind adventure of pursuing my art while earning two degrees and working as a single parent.
Perhaps this journal page will be inspiration for someone else who is beginning new challenges.

Monday, December 18, 2017

O Holy Night

12 x 16"
mixed media
"O Holy Night" is one of my many favorite Christmas carols.  I really didn't have a plan when I started this one.  Sometimes I kind of see what I want to do beforehand, and then carefully plan it out.  This time, I just did what came to mind each step of the way; so even though there were a few times that I thought I would toss it, I just let it keep developing despite the decisions that I thought had possibly ruined it. 
Despite the loose style of calligraphy and lack of much else to illustrate it but the angel, I like the result. The message of the carol is emphasized, which is most important, after all. I added quite a bit of gold and silver paint to this piece, which makes the original one of those which will rival any print that represents it.
Details that show the metallic accents

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Luminous Blues

Luminous Blues
20 x 20 inches
Acrylic on canvas
Don't these two boats look inviting?  I chose to paint this scene because I liked how the boats just glowed with the brilliant hues of cobalt blue. I decided to crop the painting so that the angles of the dock and boats played off of the dark reflections in the negative space of the surrounding water.   I just want to step into this sun-soaked scene and drift off in one of these little boats.
This painting will be available in the "Deck the Walls Holiday Show" at the NHAA Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery in Portsmouth, NH.  (Nov 29 - Dec 30, with Opening Night on Friday December 1st)

Monday, November 13, 2017

NHTI Press


Library Exhibit Celebrates Coastal Life

     This month, the NHTI Library Gallery presents "Coastal Life: Boats and Harbors of Maine and New Hampshire," by NH artist Christine Blain.
     Christine writes, "Fishermen sorting their catch. Sunlight glistening on water. A sleepy harbor wrapped in fog. These subjects have captivated me for as long as I can remember.
     "I am equally intrigued by the coastal light and weather, feeling constantly motivated and challenged to capture its mood with my paintings. Whether it is the fleeting moment of a brilliant reflection or a rain-swept, stormy sea, I seek to celebrate the beauty of coastal life."
     Learn more about Christine at

A Little Boat, A Little Sunshine
by Christine Blain
"Sometimes the simplest subjects
can be so intriguing

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Long-term project

Today I am embarking on an art piece that I will likely pick up and put down many times before it is complete.  My goal is to have it complete no later than one year from now, on the annual day of prayer for the persecuted church.  Here is a literal peek over my shoulder, as I begin the planning that has been being pieced together in my brain over the past few months.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Old Glory

Old Glory
24 x 18 inches
on 2 inch-thick, gallery-wrapped canvas
This painting will be on display during my NHTI solo show
November 2 - December 7.

 The light is key in this painting.  From the bright line designs cast on the schooner, to the illuminated light coming through the flag, to the tangle of reflections in the water - the light competes for center stage with the large flag. While working on this painting, I kept thinking of the term "Old Glory" so I looked up the history of the term. 
I was fascinated to find out that it referred to a flag that was flown on a ship before the Civil War that then became a source of contention and a symbol of Union loyalty throughout the war. Its owner, sea captain William Driver, from Salem, Massachusetts, relocated to Nashville, Tennessee just before the war.  Despite his southern wife and relatives, his defiance of flying it made national news.  The story of what happened to the flag thereafter is very interesting. 
This schooner in the painting was designed in 1926 for a Yarmouth, Massachusetts man and was renamed the Olad after the Great Depression.  It left the cold waters of New England to become a charter boat in the Caribbean for a while, carrying Walter Cronkite and others who needed a break from city life on sojourns down there.  In the 1960's, it returned to New England and it's home port is now Camden, Maine. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

nhmagazine event ad for solo show

New Hampshire Magazine

Coastal Life: Boats and Harbors of Maine and New Hampshire


Nov 2, 2017 to Dec 7, 2017
12:00 PM



Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Little Boat... a Little Sunshine - Maine boat painting

A Little Boat... a Little Sunshine
12 x 16" acrylic
SOLD 12/17
I really enjoy the colors in this painting.  This little boat became my subject of a painting because of the sunlight and the contrast between the sand on the shore and the reflections in the water. A simple, but serene little scene.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On the easel.... a little boat, a little sunshine

Spur of the moment change of plans....  I was getting ready to paint something else when I spotted the thumbnail photo for this scene.  The simplicity of the light, shapes and colors made me throw a canvas on the easel and begin it. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sometimes an Island

16x12" Oil
on 2" gallery-wrapped canvas
I am thinking this little peninsula must turn into an "island" come high tide. Not only did I like the way the water and sand formed great lines to lead the viewer through the scene, but I also liked the way these scrappy pines huddled together on this craggy spot.  I'm sure these little pines have endured many a Maine storm. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On the Easel.... Maine coast pines...

I got a good start on this scene today.  However, this is an oil; and, as usual with oil, I ended up with paint all over myself and on just about every space within 20 feet of my easel.  I also went through 13 paint brushes for some reason, so the sink was also a mess. 
The good part - oil is SO lovely for blending.
This scene is from a photo I took on a recent trip to mid-coast Maine. When I saw this small group of lonely pines on a tiny peninsula, I liked how the sand and water formed interesting lines and shapes to lead the eyes of the viewer around this rocky little place. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Autumn Night

8.5 x 10.5 Watercolor
Yesterday, I was in the mood to paint an autumn night sky, and the resulting painting was surprisingly rich in color and mood.  The sky was one of those painting experiences where I kept adding more and more paint, layer after layer, all the time wondering if I was over-working the surface and should throw it out and start over. Once I stepped back from the table and let it dry, I liked the results.
In this scene, the autumn wind blows over farmland, and throws leaves across a dramatic night sky.  This is New England, so of course I needed to include a stone wall with pumpkins glowing in the moonlight.  I like how the barn looks inviting - kind of like something out of a storybook - where you want to step into the scene and investigate.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Midcoast Maine Fishermen

12x12" acrylic on 2" gallery wrapped canvas
SOLD Sept 2018
 I spotted these mid coast Maine fishermen out in a sea of fog and buoys
on a beautiful morning just a few weeks ago.  I couldn't believe the amount of buoys floating in the harbor - they looked like tiny little lines as they receded into the distance.  I love the monochromatic look to this scene - the blue violet light is a quiet, calm element.
I'm not sure is I will stay with this title - still thinking about it....

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Spending a little time here and there on this painting during a busy week....
Even though painting engages me in continuous problem-solving, it is kind of relaxing...
 I put on the music, try to block out any chaos around me, and just get into it
- with an occasional dance break, of course!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

On the Easel...

Finally starting to paint for my solo show at NHTI this November. 
This one is from my little trip up the Maine coast - fishermen, in a foggy sea, are hauling their catch.  It's nice to get back to painting on canvas after spending a great deal of time on my upcoming teaching year and my masters courses. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Heading up the Maine Coast

Every summer, I set aside a day to explore the Maine coast. 
I typically aim for a certain part of the coast, and then I drive around looking for interesting places to stop and snap reference photos for future paintings. Tomorrow, I am leaving in the dark of early morning to hopefully catch some views of fishermen leaving the small, out-of-the-way ports of mid-coast, Maine. I love the historical feel of the working ports, with the generations of lobstermen and fishermen continuing as they always have.  Much of the traditional fishing industry in Maine has survived for centuries, and the customs and rural areas along the sea have changed very little over the years.        

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Coastal Views

Took an afternoon off and went up the coast...
Nubble Light, York, Maine
Badger's Island, Maine
Portsmouth, NH
my beach treasures

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Glen's Lobsters Available



11x11" watercolor,
double matted and framed to 18x18"
(10/26 - taken off of ETSY to be put in the show at NHTI) 
I am posting this painting because it has been professionally framed and is now available in my Etsy shop. This painting of a little lobster shack in Mackerel Cove, Maine is located on beautiful Bailey's Island.  So here's a "shoutout" to Glen - (who might have even made it into the painting!) - your lobster shack and wharf are quintessential "Down East" Maine!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Painting Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth Summer
11x9" watercolor
I painted this "en plein air" this weekend for the "Wet Paint Event" at the NHAA. 
It was quite an experience sitting in the middle of Market Street, in front of the North Church, to paint with many people watching.    

I also painted a fence and beautiful yard of a super nice couple, whose family has lived on Kittery Point for many generations.  The older coupled came out and chatted with me about the history of the place and admired the painting of their fence in the evening light.  Not long after they left, the church bells from the little white church across the street began playing hymns I knew.  I stood there in the evening sun, listening to the bells and the birds and thought about the nice couple with a strong sense of place, and felt like the area was a little bit of paradise. 
 12x12" Kittery Point Yard, acrylic
An artist friend took this pic at my first location painting plein air.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Surf Art

4.5x4.5" watercolor
About a month ago, I took some photos of people surfing along the NH coast. 
I was on a cliff, so I had to zoom in to see the people in the pictures once I loaded them into my computer.  So, from my dark, somewhat blurry images, I caught the gesture of this woman and added bright colors and fun effects.  Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Breaking New Grounds, Portsmouth, NH

 9x11" Watercolor
I absolutely love the feel of Portsmouth, NH. 
There are always people walking about and sitting outside in the
old brick Market Square area.  This scene showcases the Breaking New Grounds cafĂ©, which serves delicious, gourmet coffee and baked goods. There often seems to be doggie friends hanging out with their owners in Portsmouth,
so I had to include one in this scene!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Pet Portrait

8x10" acrylic on canvas
Pets bring us so much joy. 
We carry their memory in our hearts after they are gone and we remember
their sweet little ways and the connection we had with them.
This cute pup was known for thinking he was one of the humans - here he is in a plastic chair pushed up to the table before a summer picnic.  

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Child playing at the beach painting

Beach Play
14x11" oil
I just decided to make this painting available!
One of my favorites...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Boats in the Harbor

11x14" watercolor
Click to see in Shop
At first, I decided not to title this one because I thought of repainting this scene, but after some good reception and another look, I see it's worth whether or not I repaint the scene.  

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Maine Lobsterman: Sold

This painting just sold to a collector in Camden, Maine, and I thought I would write about the day that inspired this quintessential Maine coast scene. 
One beautiful Saturday morning, I invited my mother to join me for a drive up the Maine coast.  We stopped in little harbors here and there along the way so that I could take reference photos for paintings. 
In one harbor, we saw a small fishing boat pass and it stopped right at the dock to unload their catch of lobsters.  I took several photos of the lobstermen, with their fishing overalls and suspenders, unloading their catch.  The scene was so interesting, with the colorful baskets and buckets tipped this way and that, and the bright blue bands of the lobsters catching the morning sun.  Even though it was a modern boat and equipment, there was an aura of Maine tradition and generations past.  I thought of the immense amount of hard work that goes into fishing and yet how people who do this for a living love the sea and the feeling of freedom as they head out of the harbor. I can only imagine that after several generations, it becomes part of one's DNA.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Abstract Fish Design

Copper and Blue Abstract Fish
When I went to Florida for a "sister's weekend" a couple of weeks ago,
I found a little time to paint these abstract fish designs.
It was a beautiful 85 degree day as I sat outside in the shade
and just painted from imagination. 
This shadow portrait of one of my sisters and me is a fun memory.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Artist of the Month

Down by the Sea

Christine Blain
Meredith Public Library
May, 2017
to read blog article and view photos
I was honored when I was asked to be the artist of the month at the Meredith Public Library.
For this exhibit, I wanted to focus on the connection between people and the seaside.
We are inspired by water, calmed by water and exhilarated by water. When we take in
the salty air, feel the sand under our feet and hear the crashing waves, we engage in a human experience that focuses on “the moment” while using each of our senses.
Personally, there’s nothing like that feeling I get when I am by the sea.
It is a sense of discovery and childlike happiness that draws me back to it again and again.