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Shea to be featured at Plein Air Workshop

March 6, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Pine Island Art Association is sponsoring a Plein Air Workshop next week, which features well-known artist Kevin Shea.

Shea said although he has done quite a few workshops in Southwest Florida, mainly in Naples and the Everglades, this is his first workshop in the Matlacha area.

"I was painting in Naples when I was recruited by Phyllis Dowd to teach a workshop on Pine Island," he said.

Article Photos

Kevin Shea

Kevin Shea, who will be teaching a plein air workshop in Matlacha next week, paints at Third on Canvas in Naples.

The plein air workshop will be held Wednesday, March 13; Thursday, March 14; and Friday, March 15, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Matlacha Community Park.

"We work right outdoors on site," Shea said.

Each morning, he said he does a demonstration in the morning, which his students typically watch and see what he teaches. Shea said he teaches what colors and palette to use for outdoor painting, composition, use of the brushes and color mixing.

Fact Box

If You Go

What: Kevin Shea Plein Air


Sponsored by: Pine Island Art


When: March 13, 14 and 15,

from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Where: Matlacha Community Park,

4577 N.W. Pine Island Road

Cost: Members $295,

non-members $325 (includes

$30 membership fee)

"They set up and I do instruction and critique into the afternoon with a lunch break," he said of the workshop.

Shea said his typical locations feature village scenes, nature and seascape.

"In Florida, our companions in nature are spoonbills, wood storks, barred owls and alligators," he said. "In Matlacha we can expect to meet cottagers, anglers of the docks and snow birds, who, along with palm trees and colorful shops, become part of our scenes on canvas."

Shea began teaching plein air workshops in 2000. He said he was an art education major at Massachusetts College of Art and became a professional artist painting on site in Boston and traveling to Europe.

Over the years he had done demonstrations for art associations and eventually mentioned that he would teach a workshop, which kicked off another portion of his career.

"It opened another part of my career," he said. "I started to do the workshop and brought people on site to paint with me."

The workshops are held in New England, Florida, Hilton Head and Tuscany where Shea and his students travel through the Tuscan villages.

The interaction and the excitement of the people is what he enjoys most about teaching the workshops.

"What I find the students really like is the idea of getting outside and getting in front of nature and painting directly from nature," Shea said. "It is very different from studio painting and painting from photographs."

Plein air painting, he said, is a very holistic approach.

"Every part of what you are doing is very interactive with the light that you are in outdoors, the stance and your posture, your easel and your approach, along with the patterns and rhythms of the day," Shea said.

He said the artist is able to watch the weather happen, which allows them the opportunity to capture fleeting moments in nature and take what works best in their painting.

"Florida is so exciting," Shea said. "There always seems to be something lively or exciting around the next corner in the light and nature."

When he paints in Naples, he said it's nice because he becomes kind of a novelty with the caf, the people and the passersby on the sidewalk.

Shea is known for painting at Fenway Park, which he frequently visits when the Boston Red Sox have home games. He said he began painting plein air during the 2007 World Series games.

"Working there is so much fun because of the excitement from the fans and the excitement of the people that come to Fenway Park," Shea said.

He said painting at Fenway Park has become a recent phenomenon.

"It has become a big part of my repertoire," Shea said. "I have been a heartbroken fan, when they won it awakened something in me where I felt like making a painting of Fenway Park."

He said the great thing about Fenway Park is the stories that develop within the painting themselves.

The Plein Air Workshop is $295 for Pine Island Art Association members and $325 for non-members, which includes $30 membership fee. Paint and the canvas are included in the price.

To see Shea's work, visit



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