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.
After my day yesterday, today seemed like a dream. We drove back out to the Savannah NWR because for this weekend, the 4 mile wildlife drive was open. It was beautiful, lot's of coots, a pretty fair number of gators, including one behemoth of a beast we spotted while walking on a dike off the road a bit. Two of them were sitting on a bank, behind a large clump of weeds. One of them had to be 11-12 feet long, massively prehistoric. Of course we made a backwards retreat and drove on.
The refuge is a perfect waterfowl and wading bird habitat. The paintings today reflect that, and my love for wildfowl.
Three paintings in the box today, a little experimenting in my use of paint today, from one that was painstakingly tedious in it's construction. It may not look like that in the end, but I fretted way too long on it as I was painting it. I couldn't seem to back away from it, my nose up in it's face. All that time I was trying to do the opposite... The last one was the opposite, freely brushed on in broken color. Not sure if either approach means better or worse, it's the outcome that matters. But, internally as a painter, you feel these things and they affect your attitude as you paint along. Just something that went through my mind as I was painting today. I hope you enjoy them all, I ended up putting a signature on them instead of wiping and adding a selfie. :-)
MH - 1/18/1 - Coot Scoot
My first one was moving along, our first stop, as a painting of the marsh and it's morning sky. While painting, we were constantly serenaded by coots, who were the main birds in charge today. We also saw a few gallinules, lot's of coot chicks, some pied billed grebes, lots of anhingas, egrets, herons, cormorants, various birds of prey, especially marsh harriers. We also had a massive alligator cruise through the scene mid morning. At some point in the painting, it only made sense to include some coots. They were doing their running water ballet partial take offs, and their "splash" landings all around us. I painted this one guy who was up in front of me practicing touch and go's, scooting along through the marsh.
MH - 1/18/2 - Refuge Left
Dodging the other slow driving, stop and block the road, wildlife and mostly gator watching folks, we made a trip through the refuge and back in again before stopping at a wide spot along this road. To the east were cattails and marsh grasses (see painting below), to the south I saw the road as it made the turn to the left along the wildlife drive. I liked the line of the road and it's curve, flanked by all that gator territory to the left of it. Something that Dottie and I have talked about frequently, since we've been spending most of our time in the studio working on larger paintings, is how difficult it is to get the broad sweep, the vastness of this sort of a landscape on a 12" wide by 9" high panel. This should be a 30 x 40 at least in order to open the space up enough to show all that I wanted to show. What happens to me is that I end up with my elbows locked into my rib cage, my forearms and wrists being held as still and quiet as possible, and my nose rubbing against the board getting paint on it trying to fit all that observation into these few square inches! I'm fine with the result, actually kind of enjoy the intimacy of it, but painting it is harder than painting it would be if it were a much larger canvas.
MH - 1/18/3 - Harrier
All afternoon we had one male Northern Harrier, a beauty of a bluish gray and white bird, floating like they do, all around us at low altitude. I was painting the marsh and decided it was appropriate to place on just at the horizon where they're frequently seen as the cruise over the top of the cattails and grasses in search of rodents and small birds. I painted this piece quite broadly, with more freedom than what I used in the painting before this one. I like the results, it feels loose and alive. Thanks for looking in and following us along. More tomorrow...
A long and beautiful day at the refuge. It is such a wide and wonderful landscape, punctuated here and there by trees. As things go with these kind of parks, the places you most want to paint are inaccessible. If only you could set up your easel and paint in the middle of the road, or the swamp. There were so many awesome places to paint that would have put me right in gator territory. But it is their home, I was just visiting and stayed a healthy distance away.
DTL - 1/18/1 - Winter Marsh
It was calm, quiet and overcast this morning. The colors were muted and soft looking out over the marsh. I liked the distant treeline and the bright sky up against it.
DTL - 1/18/2 - Blue Sky
This was painted around lunchtime and most of the clouds had cleared off leaving just a little haze. The sun was behind me as I was painting, so the sky was that wonderful soft blue that it gets in the winter and the grasses were lit up in every shade of gold. Lots of dead grass floating in the shallow water gave it a wonderfully wild feel. The first two paintings of today, I painted on the linen panels. Maybe I should say, I fought with the linen panels. It is interesting... at the beginning of this month, they seemed ok. Not my absolute favorite surface to paint on but pretty good. As the month has progressed, I have begun to dislike them more and more and prefer the more absorbent ground that is on the hardboard. I think painting so much this month, I am starting to really notice things like surfaces, brushes, paint, that may have never occurred to me before because I was only painting outside a couple of times a week not every day like I am now. I am starting to get picky.
DTL - 1/18/3 - Perfect Chaos
Definitely the most fun painting of the day! This one was an absolute joy to do. Painted on the hardboard, this painting was just "easy" to paint. The paint went on and stayed where I wanted it to and was easily manipulated with second and third layers. And I may be the only person in the world, but I love the subject... all the lines and tangles and backlit limbs. The cool little tangle of vines that was probably a squirrels nest but looked almost like a hammock. It's always nice to end the day on a high note, with a painting that is fun to paint.