BAR HARBOR — Certified grammar school teacher, writer and self-employed artist Emily Bracale has launched a seasonal, outdoor instructional painting business called Paint Your Maine Memory.
Bracale grew up in Michigan where she attended high school at Interlochen Center for the Arts. She received a degree in education from College of the Atlantic in 1990 and became a certified K-8 teacher.
In 2002, Bracale quit teaching to work full time as a self-employed artist. Over the years, she has written and illustrated books such as “In the Lyme-Light” and “Our Last Six Months.” In addition to her new business, she also gives private painting lessons and draws sketches on the side for her former husband, local landscape designer Dennis Bracale.
In 2020, shortly after the pandemic began, Bracale decided to pursue her passions for teaching art and the outdoors, leading her to create Paint Your Maine Memory. For her, it was the perfect way to continue to teach art in a safe way.
“It turned out to be a fortuitous plan because I could teach it in spite of the pandemic,” she said.
Paint Your Maine Memory’s services include watercolor landscape and seascape painting lessons with complimentary art supplies that are hosted outside in Acadia National Park. With every 90-minute session geared to the individual, Bracale offers a step-by-step approach to drawing and painting areas of nature where her classes are hosted.
“These sessions allow people to tune into their natural environment,” she said.
Though Bracale typically teaches around two people per class, she does allow up to six people to join.
“Students get two pictures for themselves. One is for practice and another is for a second chance to try the same technique over again, so that way people have two chances to do it,” she said. “I loved being given an immersion experience with landscape painting and the basics of how to paint and sketch, so it feels like a very natural way to teach.”
Bracale especially enjoys it when she works with a couple or a group. She also likes teaching complete beginners with no artistic background.
“It’s wonderful to see people realize they actually can paint if they are given the right instruction,” she said.
Bracale added that oftentimes teaching outside provides her students a natural history lesson when she explains what they are drawing.
“Everyone’s paintings are all a little different. Sometimes people get discouraged when they compare their paintings. I want them to see what’s working and beautiful in their own work,” she said.
Due to the variable weather this time of year, Bracale is currently teaching art classes in her at-home studio in Bar Harbor and via Zoom, but she looks forward to returning to outdoor teaching in May.
For more information about Bracale’s new business, visit https://tinyurl.com/2p94fcxd.