Saturday, January 11, 2020

January 11. 2020 - A New Year, Two Views

All images are photographed late in the evening for posting the same night we paint them.  We strive to reproduce the color of the paintings here as close to our originals as we can, but some variation is probable.  The paintings are labeled with our initials preceding the date label and title.  The date label is Month/Day/Order Painted. 

All of these paintings can be purchased on our website.  This link will take you to the page where they're posted... Salt Marsh Studios.

Dottie's Day

I get Seth Godin's blog everyday and there are so many great take aways.  Earlier this week, he wrote about falling behind vs. streaks.  Our culture always focuses on the "win".  From childhood, we are focused on "winning the race", whatever that may mean to us.  Focusing on doing the very best you can do and improving upon that gets lost in the shuffle.  As we go through life it stays with us.. getting the promotion, making the most money, getting into the top galleries, winning the coveted award at the art exhibition.  If we don't get into the juried show or have our work in six galleries or have 30K followers on instagram we feel like we are falling behind.  We look for shortcuts to get where it seems like all of our contemporaries are.  There is a culture now because of social media of what my kids would call "posers".  People trying so hard to keep up and be at the top.  Social media and society doesn't reward the beginner, only the "expert".  So we all try to be one.  And in doing so we are missing so much along the way.  All those baby steps and failures and questioning that is so essential to improving.  Here is what I loved that Seth Godin wrote:
".. it turns out that real progress comes not from measuring ourselves against everyone else's  pace, but in building habits.  And habits come from streaks.  You're almost certainly never going to win a 26 mile marathon, but if you train every day, you'll finish one.  
...Show up every day. Do the work, return tomorrow. Drip by drip, day by day.  Habits lead to commitments and commitments create learning."
There is no secret formula.  There is only hard work.  The longer I paint, the more I realize I don't know.  And the more I realize how much I need to learn.  So many people have asked why we are painting outside all day, every day this month.  Why push so hard and spend 10 hours outside painting., another 2 or 3 photographing and writing about it.  Because to get better, to learn, to push to another level requires everything you have.  All your focus.  That is what the last 11 days has been about for me and what the next 20 will be about.  

DTL - 1/11/1 - Saturday Morning
We hit the beach early this morning.  Clouds have been around for the last day or two and they are always so beautiful above the water.  The softness this morning was so captivating.  Such a nice variety of grays to figure out how to mix.  

DTL - 1/11/2 - Slow Break
This was the second painting this morning and the beach was beginning to get busy with people enjoying their Saturday.  I had lots of people come by and stop and talk.  It's always entertaining to talk to people while you paint.  I could write a book on all the comments we have heard just in the last 11 days.  
It can get distracting sometimes.  I was putting the finishing touches on this one and was leaning in to put a highlight on the foam and the moment I touched the brush to the canvas, a man behind me said loudly "Hey! Would you mind if I take a look?"  I jumped, the brush went skittering across the canvas and what should have been the last brushstroke turned into about 10 more trying to fix what I had just messed up.  One thing I have noticed is that people's sense of timing and sense of personal space is not always on target.  :)
The greens in the water were so nice against the grays in the sky.  Every so often the sun would peek through the clouds and light everything up.  

DTL - 1/11/3 - Just A Glimpse
We just barely got our afternoon paintings in before a rain shower hit.  I loved the contrast of the dunes up against the gray sky and the glimpse of both ocean and sky.  I'm hoping you can feel the softness of the wind blowing the tops of the dune grass and the last little bit of warmth as the light dissolves into clouds.  Such a peaceful place to be.  

Marc's Day
Well, if you just read Dottie's comments about the day, you'll understand why I love painting with her, love tackling this month with her, and love her!  I've worked hard at my art, since my early 20's, most of my life at this point.  If I'd had Dottie's undiluted determination to become a better painter, there's no telling what I may have done in my own art life.  I mean that with all sincerity, I've never known anyone who, with such pin pointed determination, has worked so hard to educate and practice their painting.  She's an inspiration to me in so many ways, and as a painter, I learn something from her every day.  
Yesterday and today were very softly lit days.  There's been no dramatic sunlight to create deep, dark shadows and contrasting warm lights to the color.  I have described these sort of days in the past as 'butter sky' days.  Part of the weather is some pretty good humidity and it's accompanying atmospheric softening.  The beach areas on days like this are wonderful to paint!  So today, we spent all day painting on the beaches around Tybee, picking them out depending on the wind, to stay out of the wind as much as we could.  Looks like we'll be doing this again tomorrow.  I want to dig into the dunes, figuratively, some more. 

MH - 1/11/1 - Light 'Er Up
We've been painting with a split-complimentary palette, with the addition of ivory black, for this entire painting marathon.  I've never painted a lighthouse before, maybe one many years ago?  I don't really remember one.  Not because I have anything against them, I tend to want to paint situations, be them weather related, emotional (mood), or to say a something about Nature that is sometimes subtle and not immediately seen my many.  One of my all time favorite quotes, which any student I've ever had has heard, if they hadn't already read it themselves, is by Charles W. Hawthorne.  He said, "It is so much better to make a big thing out of a little subject than to make a little thing out of a big one.".  
A light house is a "big thing", it's something that has a stand alone majesty, like a dramatic mountain peak.  Plus, it's a "thing", and I am not out here to paint "things", I'm out here to paint my feeling about things, and about Nature.  When I look at something like the Tybee lighthouse, I am fascinated by it from a historical point of view, because it's a very interesting shape, because it sticks up into the sky in a dominant way.  But I am not emotionally attracted to it as an artist.  It's hard to make it a "bigger thing" than it already is, at least not by me.  Other artists would jump on it and make paintings that I would also admire.  I was really more interested in the close values of the beach grass and foliage in front of it, than I was in the lighthouse itself. BUT... I did find the color of the black paint against the white on it interesting.  All I used on this one was White, Cad Yellow Lemon, Cad Red Light and Ivory Black.  It was a great palette for this one.

MH - 1/11/2 - Balmy Beach
Our beaches on Tybee are being 'restored' this winter.  They're dredging sand from off shore and trucking it onto the beaches where it's spread around with the hope that it will act to build up the dunes as the sea moves it around.  Erosion is a constant enemy of the dunes, our barriers to the sea.  Standing in the built up sand today, some of the truck tracks are showing here, I found the sweep of the beach to be interesting against the soft sky colors, and love how the figures of the people enjoying the day, are perfect little scale accents.  It was balmy, a beautiful time to be shoreside. 

MH - 1/11/3 - Foothold
I had a good idea with this one, but rain showed up and caused us to have to rush, finishing up with easels filled with water and panels rain soaked.  I'm going to tackle some more using this idea.  


Paul Nutting said...

Bravo. I'm lovin' the chance to follow your thinking and your painting.

Salt Marsh Studio said...

Thank you for following along, Paul! WE appreciate the feedback. Every day brings about new challenges so there is a lot to think about.

Debbie Lamey-MacDonald said...

I'm playing catch up on your posts and commentary Dottie and Marc. Really enjoying reading your thoughts about your experiences and work! Keep up the dedicated and beautiful work!