Plein Air Paintings from the PSME Retreat (2021)

Plein Air Paintings from the PSME Retreat (2021)
Bennetts Park, Boothbay, Maine, by Polly Castor

Bennetts Park, Boothbay, Maine (pastel) by Polly Castor

Yesterday, I posted photos of the wonderful time we had on the PSME plein air retreat. Today, you can see what we painted!

I painted four (in three days), and you can see three of them in this post. One is above and the other two are first below.  The fourth I don’t care for, and it will eventually serve as an underpainting for something more abstract.

My husband and kids asked me why I didn’t paint something more abstract than these, like I did here in my recent New Pond Farm painting. The answer is that abstraction takes more time and thought, more privacy and contemplation. These representational images I painted are more relaxed ponderings of the beauty in front of me, without getting a lot of myself balled up in them. As with anything that is actually art, there are emotions here– above it is more of rest and peace, while below it is that that more vacant, settled feeling of release that comes from being on vacation. I merely focused on the simple bliss of being there, and being with who I was with. After all, I just came out of plenty of solitude during Covid, which was an intense stint of abstraction and experimentation for me, so it was very relaxing to just paint (in a stylized manor) what was in front of me. Furthermore, it is quite likely that when I know these people better, my naturally wild painting side will come out more.

Meanwhile, if you want to purchase the painting above, you can do so here, or the first painting below, you can do that here.  Prints and merchandise of them respectively are available here, and here. Both are 15″x22,” which is rather large for plein air, and done in pastel.

I’m happy to sell the church painting too; just let me know if you are interested, since I did not add it to my sales sites. It is 9″x12″ and done in pastel. I’m told this church JFK visited, and I just loved its name: Our Lady Queen of Peace.  Its intricate but confident stature was fabulous brandished against the bright blue sky, and the disproportionally large crosses festooned all over it were riveting too. I painted the church with my back to the bay, while others around me were focusing on the boats. I heard too that the church is a common landmark to photograph from the water, imposing as it presides regally over the harbor.

Below the first three paintings of mine, you can see some of the work by others on the retreat.  As you can see, they are a very capable bunch. It was a complete pleasure to work along side them. I can’t wait to do it again.

Also, let’s welcome several of these artists as new readers of this blog!


Hendrick's Head Lighthouse, by Polly Castor

Hendrick’s Head Lighthouse (pastel) by Polly Castor


Our Lady Queen of Peace (pastel) by Polly Castor

Our Lady Queen of Peace (pastel) by Polly Castor



I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John gregory 3 years ago

    I ❤️ The lone pine with the black background.

  2. LOREE A. OGAN 3 years ago

    a different side of all your talent! lovely

  3. Donna Roy 3 years ago

    Lovely documentation of the beautiful paintings done by attendees and an extraordinary retreat! It was so nice to meet you. Love your pastel work!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 3 years ago

      Great to meet you too!

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