I painted this little piece back in early June, but have been holding on to it for reference purposes. This was one of those end of day surprises… when, even though I was packed up and headed home from a long day of painting, I was compelled to stop and do just one more. There was just something about the light, and the lavender reflections in the marsh, and the great big sky that just had my name on it. See more Small Works
Huge palm trees seem to be beckoning visitors in to this lovely garden courtyard in Brunswick, Georgia. This garden square was originally designed and built in the late 1800's to provide a gathering spot for a growing city. Even though it has been restored in recent years, It has an old feel to it. I can't help imagining church picnics, ice cream socials, and the bandstand music of another era that took place on these grounds. In May, I did a painting demonstration at the Anderson Gallery of another view in this same garden. See process notes of that demo by clicking HERE. See more Small Works
I painted this little study as a color warm up for a commission piece I just finished. It helped to get the paint flowing on a small panel before diving into the large canvas… a bit of an appetizer so to speak! :) I will post the commission piece once it is framed and safely in the hands of it's owner (I don't want to jinx anything.) See other Small Works.
After an intense period of plein air painting, I am often inspired to take some of my smaller pieces to a larger scale. The plein air study for this piece was only 6x8, and I just had a hankering to see it bigger. Sometimes I make changes as I scale up, and other times I simply try to recreate the same spirit captured in the original. This one falls into the latter category. I loved the scene small and I love it big. :)
Sea Passage is an enlargement of one of my spring plein air pieces from the Georgia coast. This view caught my eye because it included marsh waters, the ocean, AND where the two flow together as the tide rises and falls. That confluence between rivers and the sea always intrigues me. It has it's own special eco-system and beauty. This piece is on display in the Davis Gallery summer group show - All Summer Long. The cool thing about this exhibit is that purchased work goes home with buyers immediately (instead of waiting until the end of the show for pick up). New pieces replace the sold work, and the show is constantly changing. If you are in town, please go visit the Davis Gallery, 837 W. 12th, Austin, TX.
I hope this finds you well, and enjoying summer! I have been busy painting and playing, and otherwise distracted from blogging and technology. :) This is a piece from my Georgia trip that I never got around to posting before my little hiatus. I just finished a larger version of it for a show later this year, so I have been living in this scene for the last week or so. It's always interesting how I can be transported right back to a location, with it's ever shifting elements. In this case, it was the incoming tide and elusive light that kept me on my toes. It's always something!
One of my last days in Georgia offered up a beautiful pink sky morning. I really look forward to the surprises of each new day in the low country, and am always delighted by the variety of color and mood and sound. And what is not to LOVE about a pink sky morning? :)
This quaint divided boulevard is in the town of St. Mary's, Georgia. It's a peaceful place to visit and I loved how the morning sun lit up the front of this historical Catholic Church, "Our Lady Star of the Sea". Isn't that a great name? The chapel was built in 1840, originally as a bank. When the bank failed, the building was purchased, a bell tower was added, and parishioners met there until a formal church was built in 1957. The chapel is only used now for special services. It's quite a charming place.
One thing that fascinates me about marshes is their connection to the sea. The tide pushes ocean water into the marshland, and then the rivers push it back out to the sea. Consequently, the marshland and the beaches are always interacting and in a state of flux.This view from the marsh's edge includes the ocean in the distance as the tide is coming in.
I so enjoy discovering new places to paint and explore, and this is one of those places. Ashantilly, or "Old Tabby" is a historical homestead in Darien, GA. It was originally built in 1820, and was the "mainland" home of Thomas Spalding, an early Georgia planter, legislator and landowner. It sits right on the marsh and was quite elegant in its day. A group of historians are committed to seeing the place restored, and hopefully that will happen. It's quite a gorgeous setting. I chose this intimate side yard as my subject… the garden had gone to seed, but the wildflowers were stunning.
St. Simons is a barrier island connected to the mainland by a causeway and bridges that cut through the marsh. The causeway has great views of wide open marshland and ever-changing waterways; and it's a favorite place of mine to paint.
Slanted morning light can be so dramatic. When I came onto this scene in a quiet island neighborhood, I was captivated by the slivers of light outlining the home and it's garden. I quickly set up my easel to try and catch the mood before everything changed. And it did change fast! What works best for me is to indicate all the dark values on my canvas first thing, before the shapes of light and dark shift. Then, it's important to hang onto that information and not chase the light as I finish the painting. Easier said than done!
Today I did a painting demonstration at the new Anderson Gallery Annex on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Since the demo was indoors, I decided to replicate this plein air painting completed on location yesterday. Having the finished piece is a great reference because it helps students/viewers get an idea of where I am headed with all my process decisions. (And it's a great reference for me as I paint the image again!!) I even remembered to take pictures to recap it here for them and for you. Many thanks to all my attendees!
The scene from my easel...
This is a garden park named Hanover Square in Brunswick, Georgia.
Line and mass sketch establishes composition and value relationships.
Paint color is a dark neutral mix of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna.
Dark and light families in the upright elements adjust as they recede into the distance - values come together (darks get lighter and lights get darker).
Since the ground plane reflects the sky, it is usually the second lightest element in the landscape (the lightest element will be the sky, where the sun is).
Sky Plane and Final Highlights…
Once all elements are working together, add details and final highlights. This is a serious exercise in delayed gratification, but it always, ALWAYS works best to leave those details until the very end!
The afternoon glow through these trees was impossible for me to pass up. The silhouetted tree trunks provided a perfect juxtaposition for the streaming light behind the veil of foliage, and it was quite striking. The tricky part was hanging on to the darks in the silhouette… they were so necessary to establish the right drama and contrast.
Jekyll Island is one of the barrier island on the Georgia coast and the Jekyll Island Club Hotel is at the heart of it's history. Designed by Chicago architect Charles Alexander in 1888, its turret, extensive verandas and bay windows are typical of the Queen Anne style. It was the scene of many important historical events; including the very first transcontinental telephone call in 1915, and the founding of the Federal Reserve Act win 1913. It also offered a lavish southern playground for the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts back in the day. It must have been quite spectacular… Oh, if walls could talk…
By the way, it's still a wonderful place to stay. Those verandas are available for afternoon reading and the front lawn is set up for some serious croquet, so bring your mallet. :)
This is the backdoor entrance to Lovely Lane Chapel on St. Simons Island. Surrounded by live oaks and Spanish moss, "Lovely Lane" is full of romance and southern charm, and the scene of many weddings. It's gorgeous on any morning when the sun shines on it. :)
This is another demo from my workshop last week. I want to thank one of my students, Joan Vienot, for taking a few pictures; and for sending them to me so that I can share them with you! Did I mention what great students I had?? We had a wonderful time painting together on St. Simons Island.
Pencil drawing in sketchbook for composition and visual idea…
it always helps me to think things through ahead of time.
Outline on canvas for placement…
I keep it light and sketchy at first to make sure I have achieved my composition plan before adding value or details (easy to change if needed).
Blocking in the dark masses…
I always work dark to light and front to back. Yep, I do the sky last.
Palette with mixed color piles…
I try to maintain an organized palette, keeping families of color together. My only medium is refined linseed oil, so I use a lot of brushes - about one per color.
I am finally catching my breath after last weekend's non-stop activity! In conjunction with my show on St. Simons Island, I taught a 3-day plein air workshop to a wonderful group of students. We had a great time painting from marsh side to seaside (notice a theme here?) and below is my demo from our day at the beach.
Many thanks to the Anderson Gallery for hosting the workshop, and to my hard-working students who painted up a storm on the Georgia coast! So much fun!!
getting started with a line sketch for placement...
When I set about to paint my "marsh to beach" series, I knew this beach house corner would be included. It radiates a timelessness and history that take me back to my first visits to St. Simons Island 35 years ago. The golden isles have had a piece of my heart ever since.
Below are some pictures of the Anderson Gallery on opening night. I wish you all could have been there, it was a wonderful evening. You can see the full body work on my website by clicking HERE.
Quick pictures Mary Anderson in the gallery before the opening.
I know I have sounded like a broken record about this upcoming solo show, but I am excited about it! Thank you for letting me share my paintings these last few weeks, and thank you for all your words of encouragement.
The opening is tomorrow night and here are details:
This is one of my favorites from my "Marsh to Seaside" exhibit. Maybe it's because I love the view. It's one that I see every day when I am visiting the Georgia coast, so it feels like home. The warm twilight colors just add to the magic.
"Marshside to Seaside" opens THIS Friday at the Anderson Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA. Click HERE to see the entire show.
Following the tide lines along the beach always turns up interesting ocean treasures. Deposits of sea shells, marsh rack, and horseshoe crabs mark the ever-moving water levels as the tide comes in and out. The beach is in a constant state of flux, and I never get tired of it. To see all the work in my upcoming show, "Marshside to Seaside", click here.
The title of this painting comes from the old saying, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, red sky at morning, sailor's warning; ." It seems to be true. In my experience, a red sky at night usually portends that a fabulous day will follow. Plus, what is not to love about a red sunset?? :)
Well-loved boats, old docks and colorful reflections get me every time. I discovered this spot on Jekyll Island (on the Georgia coast) several years ago and have gone back to paint it from different angles several times. "Seafaring Vessels" was directly inspired by those delightful plein air moments. This piece will be on display in my solo show "Marshside to Seaside" at the Anderson Gallery on St. Simons Island, April 24 -May 25. Click HERE to see the entire show on my website.
There is nothing like a beach day… skip-hopping through the hot sand... the cool relief of the ocean breeze… the smell of suntan lotion… sandwiches on damp towels… castle building... hunting for sand dollars. The beach has a lure and excitement all its own and it hits me full on, every time I climb up over that last dune. This piece is headed to the Anderson Gallery for my solo show "Marshside to Seaside", April 24 - May 25, St. Simons Island, Georgia. Click HERE to see more work for the show on my special website page.
If you follow this blog, you will remember that I had a busy weekend with two juried shows in two different cities this weekend. Luckily, both were in Texas (and within driving distance) and I was able to make the awards ceremonies of both….
And so glad I did! It was reward enough to be included in these shows and to see dear friends... but to win an award AND sell a piece at the Plein Air Southwest show was both affirming and validating! I am one happy painter! Thank you for letting me share, and thank you for your many kind words of encouragement!
Jill Carver, the juror for this year's Plein Air Southwest Salon, shared some personal insights before presenting the awards. She is a true master and her thoughtful comments inspired us all!