Saturday, February 1, 2020

January 31, 2020 - A New Year, Two Views... The End!

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

What a month!  Where to begin?!  Marc and I have been talking a lot over the last week about the last day...dreading it and wondering how we would feel.  It has been the most exciting, challenging and amazing first month of any year in my 54 years. I can hardly believe that it is over.  It's like the days all fall into place behind me now.  At once a blur and crystal clear.  We celebrated last night and talked late into the night about all of the moments we shared out there... good, bad, funny and all of those breakthrough moments of clarity.  
It was a challenging day for me yesterday.  I think my heart and mind were full of the emotion of it all.  I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat most of the day, and not from all of the wind and the rain.  I wasn't happy with a lot of how I painted yesterday, either. It was tough.  I wanted to say so much more than I felt like they were saying.  I think I was trying to sum up the experience of the whole month in yesterday's paintings.  Impossible, I know but it felt like that.  I painted a total of 5 paintings yesterday and then sat on the porch in the rain and painted a gouache study of the old oak outside.  I don't think I wanted the day or the adventure to end.
Moving on from January, I think we will look at a lot of things differently, and like Marc, I think I need some time to digest the 31 days of January before I can really write about it.

DTL - 1/31/1 - Morning Blend
We were out at daybreak to try and get an early start before the rain.  There was a lovely lavender sky behind the clouds that were heading quickly our way and I tried to get that in as quickly as I could before it disappeared.  I had just blocked in the marsh when the rain started coming down.  My panel and paintbox were covered in raindrops as we ran to the truck.

DTL 1/31/2 - Light On The Horizon
This was actually my 3rd painting of the morning.  My second was a wiper.  I struggled getting focused with that one, my emotions were running high.  We went and got coffee and a apple fritter and warmed up a little and Marc tried to talk me off the ledge.  :)  We then headed back out to paint the marsh before the next wave of rain hit.  I felt better about this one.  The sky had brightened a bit and the tide was starting to come in.  I loved the soft color of the marsh grass and the water reflecting the lavender color in the sky.  I struggled a lot with this one too, scraping it down a couple of times before I finally got the feeling I wanted.

DTL - 1/31/3 - Before The Rain 
The tide was coming in and we thought we had time for just one more before the rain hit us.  The glow in the water was nice against the gray sky.  It was a sweet and somber ending to finish in the spot that we had started a month earlier.

DTL - 1/31/4 - Little Boat House
When we got back home I wasn't ready for the day to end.  It just still felt unfinished.  I just had this nagging need to paint another one.  I went out and sat on the screened in porch and painted a gouache study (see below) of the tree outside, hoping that doing so would satisfy that feeling.  I enjoyed the peacefulness of it and the chance to paint in another medium for a change, but once I was finished I still had that uneasiness.  So with a little less than an hour of daylight left, I gave in and dragged my paint bag outside in the pouring rain and stood under the porch and painted this view looking out over the marsh behind our house.  I couldn't really see what I was doing and Marc offered to get me a light but I didn't want the intrusion of the light.  I just wanted to paint, where I was and what was in front of me and listen to the rain.  It was a pleasant way to end it all and I felt a sense of completeness once I was done.  I had finally exhausted the urge to paint.  

gouache tree study

Marc's Day

So here we are, 31 days after our first day's post, our first day of painting this month, followed by another 190 paintings!  After yesterday our total number of paintings painted, minus a few wipers, is 196 paintings completed.  That's a lot of work, believe us when we say that it's all involving, and I'm personally going through withdrawals this calm Saturday morning as I sit here writing up my part of our daily post.  I think that I'll give it a few days before I write up my concluding thoughts about our month.  Suffice it to say that it's been an amazing experience to spend nearly every minute of the last 31 days with the love of my life in a daily routine of getting up, ingesting enough coffee and nourishment to make it out the door in mostly less than perfect weather, making joint decisions about how the day will go, where we'll paint, paint and then return home to photograph, edit, label, upload and write about all of the paintings and the day.  We've done it, and done it while having a great time at it.   There is a lot to sit down and look back on, to think and laugh about.  A period of time to let it all digest is required before trying to unfold and share a comprehensible closing chapter on what we've done.  I'm blessed beyond anything I could have ever imagined to be living this life, right now.

Yesterday didn't greet us with conditions like it should have, no beach sunshine and flip flops tossing sand up onto the back of our legs as we relaxingly paint, as so many people who walked up to us think that's what we do.  Nope, it treated us with almost gale force winds, rain and cold.  We had to find shelter to paint most of the day, although we started out along the marsh, the same place we started the month on Spanish Hammock, we were rained out of finishing up there so that we had to find a large enough shelter to be out of the blowing rain and wind.  We did, don't tell anyone but we snuck into an unsuccessful development along the north end of Tybee, that has a gorgeous, large gazebo... with a fireplace that we didn't use... that was big enough for us to be a little bit out of the conditions, and still see something to paint.  In the afternoon we were able to skirt around the rain (thank goodness for weather radar on the phones) and get a couple in back on Spanish Hammock.   Our view is of the marsh, a rather flat horizontal composition no matter how hard you try to find diagonals or other design features.  I was talking to Dottie about this, but I realized that painting something that simple, as far as design goes, is such a special thing to do.  We painted it a lot, but each time I gained more insight into the always changing life of the marsh.  The tidal shifts bring about one change, the sky/weather other changes.  Although the lines of composition when painting something like that are rather horizontal, it's that life that is breathing before and around you, that is so worth exploring in paint.  Below are some of my attempts.  Today I only used Ivory Black, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Lemon Yellow and Titanium White.  The day was perfect for that limited palette.

MH - 1/31/1 - It's Going To Be One
Like I mentioned, we only had about 30 minutes or so at the start of our day, before the rains showed up.  But it was worth being there to experience and paint it.  I decided to just use the palette I listed above so that if I had to paint fast, which we did, it would be a simpler matter.  The paintings are all rather thin, almost like the work I do when painting with pastels.  I like painting like this and have found something that I'll explore more in my work as I move forward.  All of the boards today were pre-toned with an acrylic Neutral Tint or Ivory Black wash.  Worked great!

MH - 1/31/2 - Wind, Rain, Palms
As the wind and rain blew in and obliterated the distance, all of the values in the subject in front of me merged, the light and dark end of the value scale were gone and only the middle ranges left.  It was fun to paint and try to get the palette to reveal the range of colors out there from blue-greens to orange-reds, and neutral grays.  It's always a surprise to see how color can be altered simply by the placement of other color around it, even with no blue.

MH -1/31/3 - Tree Shapes
I looked to my right and along one of the roads that the developer put in here for homes that were to be built, but haven't been yet, was a nice stand that made a great vertical composition.  The rain was falling, so again values were somewhat more limited than in clear light.  I thought that with the palette I was painting with that I might have trouble getting the warm and cool greens, but it worked out.  

MH- 1/31/4 - Salty View
Along Spanish Hammock again, this is a painting of the edge of the marsh, similar but looking more into it than I did in the first one with the marsh only peaking through the complicated tangle of branches and cedar foliage.  Might be a good painting to stick a heron into that is gripping onto a branch, for life!

MH 1/31/5 - Last One
Yep... sad to say this is the last painting I painted on this painting marathon of an adventure with Dottie!  The tide was coming in, the rain was too.  I loved softly brushing on the various gentle tones of color that represented the marsh grasses, broken only by the reflections of sky in the rising tide.  It was a perfect ending.


Jo Castillo said...

Wow, congratulations to the both of you on finishing such an ambitious undertaking. You are an inspirational pair. The paintings are beautiful and I loved reading about your experiences and ideas. Thank you both so much. I’m smiling in wonder.

Salt Marsh Studio said...

Thank you, Jo! So glad that we've made it, and that it's been entertaining and informative to you and others. Sort of wish it was still happening. :)

Unknown said...

I have followed your adventure DAILY and have been both inspired and humbled by your experiences. I’ve learned so much from both of you, way beyond the technical aspects of painting. Thank you for so generously sharing!