Fine Arts Work Center In Provincetown

2023 Summer Workshops

Mark Adams The Fluent Hand: A Cape Cod Landscape Sketchbook August 21 to August 26, 2016 Tuition: $650 Workshop: 9AM-Noon Discipline: Painting OPEN TO ALL On-site Housing Available

A week of outdoor forays with portable drawing media to practice observation – and record your experiences with word, brush and pen. The same hand that writes can also draw. Guided by direct observation from nature, the expressive line of pen or brush can trace words and forms and translate them into images. We’ll explore how drawing and writing are related, examine the links between hand and eye that record the observed world and how letterforms add to the images on the page. A highlight of the class is discovering the landscapes of Provincetown, local places that are unique and perhaps not well known. We will meet at the Pearl Street studios and carpool or walk to sites in the dunes, woods or at the shoreline.

The landscapes of outer Cape Cod tell stories: cultural and ecological. Observers with both trained and untrained eyes have captured them as they changed. The Pilgrims saw what fit the story they brought with them to the Province Lands: “compassed about to the very sea with oaks, pines, juniper, sassafras, and other sweet wood, full of brush, wood-gaile, and long grass,” and “springs of fresh water.” Observers like Thoreau saw a landscape devoured by two centuries of European land use: “The greater part of the land was a perfect desert of yellow sand, rippled like waves by the wind, … For the most part we saw neither bough nor bush, not so much as a shrub to tear our clothes against … We saw rather beach and poverty-grass, and merely sorrel enough to color the surface.”

For beginners or experienced artists interested in exploration of the wilder side of outer Cape Cod, using simply pencil, pen, ink, wash and watercolor, we will walk and perhaps boat to some favorite places and record observations with word and image. We may experiment with natural materials such as squid and walnut inks.


Mark Adams has been a cartographer with the National Park Service for over 25 years and a painter showing at the Schoolhouse Gallery in Provincetown. He has also exhibited photography, scientific illustration and video art. He has traveled with a sketchbook in Asia, Central America and Europe and has recently illustrated and co-authored a geologic primer, Coastal Landforms of Cape Cod with geologists from the Center for Coastal Studies and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.