Cape Ann Plein Air with Ray Hassard

Pier at Cape Ann, Ray Hassard
Pier at Cape Ann, Ray Hassard

Prestigious Outdoor Event Invites Ray Hassard to Return

Cape Ann Event Logo

The mission of Cape Ann Plein Air Competition is to preserve and promote Cape Ann’s legacy as the birthplace of American Plein Air painting. So it is no surprise that Ray Hassard was once again invited back to this prestige event in the Cape Ann communities of Gloucester, Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the Sea.
Ray Hassard

Ray’s main medium is pastel, but he also works in oils, acrylics, and gouache. He is widely regarded for his urban scenes featuring such figures as on-duty police and iron workers doing construction.

Shown here is the painting he completed at the competition (Low Tide at Beacon Marine, 12” x 12”, pastel). After painting it on a narrow floating dock which rocked when anyone walked past, Ray realized the great benefit of solid ground.
Ray was born in Freeport NY. He studied at Pratt Institute, and moved to Buffalo NY in 1977 where urban landscapes became his primary theme. Ray won several commissions, most notably one to create and install a large wall piece for the subway the city was building. In 1987 he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, much to his surprise, and decided it was a pretty good place to be.

Ray is a Signature member of the Cincinnati Art Club and the Pastel Society of America; MidAmerica Pastel Society has designated him Master Pastelist. He is in the Master Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies. In 2013 he was Artist in Residence in Dinan, France for the month of June. His work appears in recent pastel, acrylic and drawing publications from NorthLight Books.

He participates in juried plein air competitions often and has won top awards in New Harmony IN, Richmond VA and San Angelo TX. In the last three years he has painted in Plein Air Easton, Wayne PA Plein Air Festival, Mountain Maryland (Cumberland), Bucks County Plein Air, Plein Air Maui, Finger Lakes Plein Air, and was awards judge for the first Cape Ann Plein Air event in 2016. He is the Chair of the Ohio Plein Air Society’s annual competition this year and 2019. It will take place Sept 27-30 and is open to all with no jurying in and will be based in Mariemont.  For more information, go to

Ray received Third Place at the Club’s ViewPoint 49.  He loves painting, gardening, travelling, dancing and rollercoasters, maybe not in that exact order.

Pier at Cape Ann, Ray Hassard

Monica Achberger’s Golden Hour


Once the flowers are in full bloom the area becomes a crazy tourist attraction. At first, most people are respectful of your space, as you get the canvas blocked in and your image evolves it is natural for people to be curious and the questions, comments and statements start flying.

Traveling extensively the past few summers, I’ve missed the local sun flowers traditionally blooming at the end of July. This year I was determined to catch the Natorp’s sun flower field in full bloom on the corner of Irwin Simpson Road and Snider Road in Mason, OH.

Arriving in the early morning the sun flower field was bathed in sunlight and literally breathtaking. It was an incredible challenge to try to capture something so iconic and romantically beautiful. The scene is so incredibly filled with the golden yellow of sunflowers blooming that panic sets in, not sure if I have even brought enough yellow paint.

Where to start?  As always, I begin by drawing the scene as this is the fundamental backbone of painting. The sketch gives structure, develops composition and works out design problems before committing to paint on canvas.  Drawing with the paint, I remind myself every day to keep developing my drawing skills especially when working on the figure.

These interruptions can be a distraction to your thoughts and painting process. When this happens, it is easy to lose focus and the painting can become disjointed.  However, this is inevitable and is part of the plein air experience. I remind myself to stay focused and always try to be an ambassador for plein air.

Monica Achberger, Golden Hour, 10x20, oil on wood
Golden Hour, Monica Achberger