Friday, January 24, 2020

January 23, 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

Another windy, cold day but it's getting warmer!  There was a chance for rain so we headed to the beach where we knew there would be shelter if we needed it. The clouds were low and the sky, although beautiful with all those clouds,  didn't look very promising.  We could already see rain off in the distance over the water.  I set up at the bottom of the boardwalk on the beach, close enough to the covered pavilion if I needed to make a run for it.  
It is amazing how many people come to walk on the beach on a cold, windy stormy looking day.  I think it speaks to human optimism and to the pull of the beach.  There is something that compels us to be near the water.  Even with the threatening skies and the rough surf, there is a sense of peace and calm that soothes the soul.  I've often felt that there is something that helps your whole body breathe better in all that space.  It opens up your lungs and your mind and your soul.  Lightens the load, even on the darkest of days.  I spoke to all types of people all day long as we painted.  Old, young, couples, families, single individuals.  Everyone was happy to be where they were.  At least for the moment.  All smiles, no frowns... even the few people, who because of their physical limitations could only go to the end of the boardwalk and look at the ocean and breathe in the salt air.   I thought, if we could only feel that sense of peace wherever we were, not just at the beach.  It is such a gift to be able to live somewhere where everyone around you is so happy to just "be". 

DTL - 1/23/1,2 - Light on the Water
There was a nice sweeping dune at the bottom of the boardwalk.  A single panel seemed unable to contain it so I put up two.  I love the sand dunes.  They are like living sculptures... always shifting always changing.  The dunes are expanding here, and there were wonderful little sprigs of grass extending their reach along the sand. They are one of my favorite things to paint on a sunny morning or late afternoon when the shadows give such personality and dimension to their forms.  But this morning, there was no sunlight and the light on the sand was flat and without shadow except in the most overgrown of areas.  I was excited to see if I could still convey their sense of height and ridges of sand without any help from the sun.  
I wanted enough space to work so I set my horizon line high but felt like I needed to include the water and the sky to tell the whole story.  As often happens when the sun is still low on the horizon but behind the clouds, the water was lit up in this shimmery almost metallic color.  I wanted just enough of it but not so much that it took over the painting.  
I was about 90% done, when I noticed raindrops on my painting.  We packed up and headed home to eat lunch and then I set back up in the early afternoon to finish it.

DTL - 1/23/3 - Dune Passage
Taking no chances with the rain this time, I decided to paint the dunes from just outside the shelter.  The sky was starting to clear in places, and I had to stop painting every so often to take pictures of all of the cloud formations in the distance.  No matter how many times I look at the sky, it's always as if I have never seen it.  It just speaks to me in that way.  I must have 10,000 pictures of just sky on my phone. :)
You can't see the beach, just the water, from where I was standing.  There are just ridges of dunes interspersed with palms and cedars.  The patterns are really interesting and I loved the way the little bits of sand looked like a walkway.  The strong darks of the cedars in the foreground made a nice contrast to the almost washed out color of the grasses. When I was about halfway through, the sun came out, which gave some nice highlights to the darks and helped give them a little more dimension.
Marc's Day

Like Dottie said, we keep returning to the shore/beach/dunes to paint because it's an endlessly changing celebration of beauty and life.  This is what I wanted to find this month, that feeling of the casual confidence that "I can find a painting, an idea to paint, anywhere I look, right where I am!".  That's what we're doing by returning to the same areas over and over again.  The challenge is to find new ways to 'see' it.  That's not completely easy to do when the weather is pushing and tugging at your will to continue.  We have found ways to combat the weather, windbreaks, gazebos, and today (writing this on Friday morning), will need to find that again, because we have a complete rain coverage situation.  When we leave here in the morning to paint on these kind of days, we have a half baked idea about where to go to be able to paint.  But we never know for sure.  Sometimes we just take the leap and give it a shot, sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.  Yesterday offered up a good chill to the wind, a spattering of rain that drove us inside to reconnoiter and warm up before heading out again for the afternoon.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, had us painting right up until nearly last light again.

I decided the night before yesterday that I needed a change up of some sort, so I went and switched out my oil painting supplies, for my acrylic supplies.  I'll be painting in acrylics from here on out until this is over, in 7 days, unless the weather or something causes me to have to use oils again.

I had a great time with the Golden Open Acrylics painting these paintings.  There's something about them that I feel more able to directly get to my point with.  I find that because they're a little easier to make changes/corrections with, when I'm trying to paint the vision of the idea that I first have, I'm more effective in getting to it painting with them.  The GOA (Golden Open Acrylics) cannot be painted over immediately like standard heavy body acrylics, in fact they're probably still tacky this morning.  They have that benefit of your being able to work edges, blend paint strokes as they're laid over each other, and they hold value just as well as oil paints do.  As an acrylic, that's their downfall... you can't glaze over them in a few seconds, you have to paint more like an oil painter.  But they set up and get tacky faster than oil paints, another plus.  Anyway, these are the result, I look forward to using them again today to see what I think.

For the curious about these things, here's a link to the blog post with Supply information and a list of my acrylic supplies... SUPPLIES.

MH - 1/23/1 - Dune Crows
I started out painting this just wanting to express that ridge of cedars and palmettos, and how they from a shape that is like an advancing animal, heading away from the winds of the sea, on the ridge line of the dunes.  Painting along happily, other than fingers numb and face windblown, some crows decided to come and hang out.  Formerly a bird painter/illustrator, I can't help but to include them in if they make sense.  I liked how the starkness of the dune landscape felt a little bit more alive while watching the antics of these guys. 

MH - 1/23/2 - Sky Crow
Turning in the opposite direction in the afternoon, we came back to the same spot to avoid some spotty rain showers that didn't materialize, I found another idea using the cedars along the dunes tops.  The color was a lot more vibrant than in the morning, a nice change, as the day was wearing on.  Again, a crow helped me to secure an accent for my composition.  At one point it sat on a branch of some sort of scrubby tree that was near by, faced into the wind as birds will do, so I stole it and placed him at the upper right edge, looking into the painting and the force of the wind sweeping the dunes.  Might make a nice larger scale painting.  I love finding something when at first glance not much is visible.

MH - 1/23/3 - Just Wind
No crows later in the afternoon.  I considered continuing the series and 'faking' one in... the word 'fake' these days, and it's use in our society, caused me not to want to do that.  However, the wind was blowing along at a stiff clip, so this painting became about that, just the wind.  I tried to get the idea of it whipping the cedars around, knocking branches one way on one part of the shrub, while simultaneously whipping them the opposite direction on the other side of the shrub, only a couple of yards across.  The light was gorgeous when the sun poked it's head out, I tried to take advantage of that and play up the closely complimented, grayed color.  The previous two pieces were painted on hardboard primed with acrylic primer, a pretty absorbent one, Lascaux.  They painted well, but I wished I'd had some medium with me as the paint dragged quite a bit.  This last one I painted on one of our Centurion universal primed panels, untreated in any way.  I have to say that it was a great surface to use for these paints.  Will be using more of these with them.  Thanks for looking in. 

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