Maine Workshop 2019

Tom will be teaching a workshop in Maine August 25th-September 1st, 2019 at Wooster Farm, the summer home of legendary Boston painter, Frank Benson, located on North Haven Island in Penobscot Bay.  The farm sits on 18 magnificent ocean-front acres overlooking the bay where Benson painted many of his most famous pieces, including his “Eleanor” painted on the front porch.  The site is rich in landscape and water views and boasts some of the most beautiful sunsets on the east coast.

The class will focus on the approach to out-of-door painting practiced by the Boston Painters (1880 - 1930) All aspects of out of door painting will be covered in these intensive seven-day workshops.

Recent Press on the Workshop
The Free Press, Following the Light by Christine Parrish

August 25 - September 1, 2019
Because transportation to the island is dependent on the Maine State Ferry Service (3 per day), students should plan to arrive on Sunday, September 4th. The afternoon will be devoted to getting settled, exploring or painting - if you would like.

Teaching begins Monday, 8:00 a.m., August 25th, and concludes Sunday, September 1st at noon.
Please note transportation to and from the island is the responsibility of each student and is dependent on the ferry service to and from Rockland, Maine. Please see details below.

Price includes painting workshop, accommodations, meals for Monday evening - Sunday evening. Price does not include transportation or materials.
Workshop Pricing, $1950.00
Deposit of $450.00 due at time of registration with the balance due on August 1st.

To register, please fill out sign up form here.                       
On-site accommodations are shared with six bedrooms with two double beds and six baths.

Please let us know if you will be attending with a friend or partner so we can assign you your own room.

All meals will be included starting with a wine and cheese gathering at 5:00 p.m. each Sunday, for everyone to get acquainted, followed by a light supper. Each day before class a light continental breakfast will be served. At noon a box lunch or light meal will be available followed by a family-style dinner where we will discuss the day's work and talk art history. Please let us know about any dietary restriction or food allergies you may have.

Transportation to and from the Island
Getting to and from the island will require very careful planning as the only way to get there is by one of the three daily ferries which leave from Rockland Maine.
Maine State Ferry Service times and schedule, Click Here for Details
Please plan your ferry travel times carefully. Ferries leave on time.

If you are interested in attending or have any questions,


  1. having done the workshop last September, i'd like to chime in with what i thought of the whole thing.

    first, Mr. Dunlay had viewed and commented on my work for the better part of a year prior to the workshop. he knew what i wanted, and had a good idea how to help me out. the Maine workshops are eight months away. if you are considering participating, i suggest that you consider yourself one of his students right now. read whatever books he recommends. give him a chance to view your work, and comment on it. let him know what you're seeking. in my case, i was seeking better drawing skills with a paintbrush. i don't know what he said to the other students, but everything he did with me was clearly aimed in the direction i wanted to go.

    i can't recall ever having been so exhausted as i was at the end of each day. it was a good kind of exhaustion. we headed out to paint around eight, and stumbled back in the door when the light failed, around seven. be prepared to work like a pack horse.

    a seven day workshop is infinitely more sensible than a three day workshop. but an eight month workshop, which this will be for you if you decide right now to take part, is better still.

    buy whatever he tells you to buy. i was shocked by the difference it makes to use white lead instead of the titanium i'd used for years. buy good oil-primed linen. he knows where you can get it fairly inexpensively. it'll make a difference.

    this ain't yer grandma's plein air workshop. come prepared to work hard, with your eyes open, your ears open, and your mouth shut.

    Dunlay told me some things that were so foreign to my experience, i had to make him repeat them, just to make sure that i wasn't misunderstanding. one morning over breakfast, he began explaining to me how what one does on Tuesday is basically preparation for what you'll do on Wednesday. he talked about keying all values down lower than you intend for the final picture, so as to make adjustments in drawing easier the next day.

    he talked about a pie crust finish, which i assumed was something every Boston trained painter swears by. i didn't understand it then, and none of my classical amigos could explain it to me, unfortunately.

    nobody has Received Truth From On High, and Dunlay would be the first to say that he does not. there are a lot of different ways of working. but his methodology and philosophy helped me enormously.

    the one drawback of the workshop was the weather. we got rained out a couple of days, and the consistent light which i wanted badly, so as to advance a small number of pictures to a high degree of finish, didn't happen.

    spending a September week at 44ยบ latitude was a little unsettling for me; i'm used to the sun climbing higher in the sky. but of course, the northern locale had its own lessons to teach, not the least of which being the heritage of Frank Benson which permeated the house, and the island.

    i argued with Tom about the hues and values of distant hills. i'm not one to argue with a teacher, but i didn't see what he saw. i still disagree with him. but the eyes open, ears open, mouth shut approach is the best one for a student, if you wish to follow the footsteps of someone who's walked a whole lot farther down the path than you have.

    please stay away if you don't mean business. but if you crave the guidance of a competent, skilled painter, and the chance to work with him for an entire week, Dunlay's workshop is about as good as it gets. it's also ridiculously inexpensive, considering the amount of time, the setting, and good grief, the food.

  2. I had the good fortune of taking the last remaining spot in Tom's North Haven workshop earlier this month. Given work and family obligations, freeing up a full week to paint definitely didn't seem feasible, but somehow, things worked out (thanks to my amazingly understanding wife and a late cancellation for Tom's workshop). I was able to spend a week painting in the summer home of the great Frank Benson. Tom and his team created an amazingly conducive environment for us to learn and paint. In fact, I learned more during these 7 days than I did in the last three workshops combined! Tom so generously shared with us the painting know-how that Mr Gammel passed down to him that were passed down to Mr Gammell by the great Boston School painters like Benson, Paxton and Tarbell. Seeing the theory of painting unfold onto his canvas during Tom's daily demonstration when we got to watch him effortlessly mix the most perfect color notes while answering all of our questions, was incredibly helpful.

    I left North Haven with a dozen new friends and a wealth of painting knowledge far more than I bargained for, which gives this amateur a glimmer of hope that one day, I may attain the necessary skills to paint nature truthfully.