Painting Waves on Nantucket

Ever try to paint a moving wave? Its not easy! That’s exactly what we did for 2 days last September on the beach in Nantucket with pastelist Jeanne Rosier Smith. The third day we spent in the studio to refine our sketches and work from photos we had taken the previous two days.wave2

Jeanne is a fabulous teacher, and an expert at observing, understanding the structure of, and capturing the beauty and color of waves and water.


It was a glorious weekend on Nantucket, off-season, so not too crowded. I took the ferry from Hyannis with my bike. All my clothes and plein air supplies fit into my paniers and back-pack.

Once in Nantucket, I rode my bike to the Star of the Sea International Hostel, an old life saving station right on the beach on the south side of the island. It was a beautiful ride, and dusk when I arrived, the windows of this beautiful Victorian were glowing warm in the cool night air.


StartofSea_hist beds night

I loved staying in the hostel, with its 2nd floor women’s bunk room, and cupola with a view of the ocean just above my bed. The men’s bunk house was separate, in back of the property. There was diverse crowd there that weekend, the oldest being a woman in her 80’s from Germany, and the youngest some European and Asian teenagers traveling through New England. Everyone was polite and considerate. Since our plan was to paint on the beach just down the road from the hostel, I couldn’t have been in a better spot!

Starofsea_morning road

I explored the dunes near the hostel while the morning mist still blanketed the shore diffusing the light. Then it was a quick ride down the road to the beach. We did our critiques in the sand by the edge of the beach.


At the end of the weekend on the ferry ride back the sky lit up and a glossomer cloud followed in our wake all the way back to Hyannis.

Sunset GlossamerWake_web

In my painting I combined several images, as I loved the wake in some previous shots, and the color in this last one, coming into Hyannis. What a beautiful weekend. Can’t wait to go back!

“Glossomer Wake”, 18″ x 16″, pastel on UArt. For more of my paintings, see

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