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Carol Douglas to Teach Windjammer Plein Air Class Afloat!

08 Mar 2018 4:04 PM | Anonymous

Sail and paint aboard an historic windjammer!

Rockport, Maine:  There are many painting workshops on the Maine coast, but The Age of Sail promises to be the most unusual. It’s the brainchild of teacher Carol Douglas and veteran windjammer Captain John Foss of the schooner American Eagle.

From June 10-14, a select group of painting students will set out on a four-day cruise of Penobscot Bay. While Captain Foss navigates the bay’s beautiful islands and harbors, Douglas will teach plein air painting to passengers.

Is it even possible to paint from a moving boat? “It’s different from painting on land—quicker, more immediate, and more fleeting,” says Douglas, who is known for her paintings of the spring fit-out at North End Shipyard. “I’ve painted from the deck of the American Eagle twice now. Last fall, I started sharing my materials spontaneously with other passengers, and the idea for a sailing workshop was born.”

The watery landscape changes minute-by-minute, according to Douglas. “The water might be quicksilver in one direction and deep indigo looking another way. The shore is different depending on the tides. And the skies are always changing over the ocean.”

The American Eagle was launched in 1930, the last wooden fishing schooner built in Gloucester, MA. She was purchased in 1984 by Captain Foss, who restored her for the windjammer trade. “She’s a beautiful, comfortable boat, and her crew is kind and welcoming,” says Douglas. "The boat is a relic of the age of sail, but it’s been updated with comfortable berths, fresh linens, modern heads and a fresh-water shower."

The trip lasts four days and includes an evening “gam,” a raft-up of the great schooner fleet of the mid-coast region, providing an opportunity to sketch or photograph the boats as they come in. Lighthouses, unspoiled scenery, and wildlife are part of every trip. “Our sail will be in puffin season,” notes Douglas.

Painters will concentrate on water media—watercolor and gouache—and all levels of experience are welcome. “It’s a small, focused class, so it will be one-on-one instruction rather than group lectures,” says Douglas. All materials, tools, accommodations and meals are included in the $1020 fee.

For more information, contact American Eagle at 1-800-648-4544, or visit

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