Back to the River for Winter

Reflections on the Flats Ed Cahill Plein Air

Reflections on the Flats. 9 x 12″

I’ve lived here in Marietta nearly twenty years now. It’s actually my second tour of duty here in Georgia, so almost thirty years in this lovely warm spot. Over the years it’s grown more hectic and crazy on the roads, thank God I have avoided most of this by working out of my house the last fifteen years. When I started painting plein air in earnest five years back I knew it would take a lot of work—a lot of brush in the bush time to get to the point I could call myself a professional. This certainly has been the case,with some bravery and ingenuity I might have sped up the process by several decades! There are many young men and women who have taken on the challenge to be professional painters along with raising a family and made it work—I salute them. To those considering it—it’s all a matter of what you expect of yourself. Work hard, have a plan and I believe you can do it. It will take a while but you will learn the things you must do and you will will be happier and more successful in the long run.

BOARDWALK

Boardwalk Map

Back to painting. You can go back many post and see that I’ve pretty much figured out the places I’m most comfortable painting in this area. It’s a process of exploration, and experience. I want to get painting as soon as possible —I want to be productive, so I look for places with nature and some place to park. The Chattahoochee near Roswell is great this time of the year—long views and plenty of atmosphere. And it just got considerably better. This last week they opened a mile long stretch of boardwalk that not only parallels the river but at one point cuts across through the flats area between Azalea Drive and Willeo Rd. I’ve heard that this cost well over a million dollars —money well spent! They did a wonderful job and with the way they build decks now —not with much wood, it aught to last a good long time. The only problem is parking, you must either park at the Nature Center or at the parking lot on Azalea Drive both of which are are not great. The Nature Center is not open all the time and the Azalea Drive parking lot is about a half mile from the boardwalk and is full most of the time. You can sneak into the St. Francis School parking lot at the corner but it’s also more than a half mile away from the entrance.

Complain, complain! Really nothing to complain about. It’s glorious and has view of the river on one side and the flats on the other. Hundreds of paintings here but not easy ones! The brush is dense even in the winter and you will have to edit a lot—again, nothing to complain about. For the next several months I will be spending lots of time there—you are welcome to join me. Not knowing of the opening I started a few weekends ago at the fishing park further up Willleo Rd., this is a spot I’ve painted many times before. A great place to catch the sunrise over the ridge and reflection off the river. I was up early and set up near 8AM on the hill behind the parking lot with a view across. The water level is way down so there was a very interesting shape to the mud flats as it winds out to the river. I wanted to catch that early light and color, but I also had in mind a big 18 x24″ for this view. I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick 9 x12″ first and then take my time on the larger one using the small one for color reference. So this first one is the 9 x12″ that I did Sunday morning 12/11.

ChattahoocheeSunrise12-11-16

Chattahoochee Sunrise 9 x 12″

December Sunrise

December Sunrise 18 x 24″

The next is the 18 x24 that I worked on later and finished up the next weekend. I was not happy with all the excess Dioxide Purple. This a color that I tend to overdue when I have it on my palette. I should just eliminate it but I am always mixing purples and it just saves so much time! I also use Naples Yellow a bit too much—again, It’s just too easy to over use that lovely cool yellow and both are hard to disguise.

Chattahoochee Impresions Ed Cahill Plein Air

Chattahoochee Impressions 18 x24″

I’ve had some success working bigger lately. I like 18 x24 inches when I have everything thought out and the time. Sometimes they don’t even take any longer as with this view from Willeo Road looking North-East. I also used a branch hanging down in front to give me something in the foreground—it seems to work in this one. This was painted before we lost lost the leaves and is a great illustration of why this area is great to paint. You have some distance that you can work with—gradually blueing things as they go back.

Sunset at Riverbend

Sunset at Riverbend 9 x 12″

Winter on the River

Winter on the River 8 x16″

This group of smaller paintings the first a 9×12 painted along the main stretch of boardwalk near the Wellio Rd. (top of page) the other around sunset looking southwest in early December and the third a 8 x16″ painted soon afterwords. The last two were painted perhaps only fifty feet apart—This shows you the diversity of views available here. I like the winter color in the 8 x16, and this view lent itself to the panoramic crop.

This last weekend was Christmas but I got a few good days in before and the weather was unseasonably warm. On the 22nd I got over a bit late in the afternoon to the boardwalk. I set up right at the elbow that start’s the walks section out over the flats. This crosses over a meandering swap like area with a treeline and the river behind it. I did a 12 x12 that day looking straight into the setting sun. I was pleased with it but I saw a potential for a bigger painting and the next day I brought over a 20 x 24″ that I had—with a nice pale red ground. I got in place around noon and worked until almost five—or sundown, this time of the year. The last hour was spectacular!

Cool Reflections

Cool Reflections 20 x 24″

My plans are to do some closer in views next working with the brush and the muted winter colors.

UPDATE 1/4/17

Light on the Flats

Light on the Flats 9 x12″

A few more from the river last week. I met Allison Graham Doke, Shane McDonald and Anna Jones Ladefoged. for a session on Friday. It was cold but bright and everyone enjoyed themselves. I did a small bright 9 x12 first then set in on a 12 x16″ as the day progressed. Everyone else had things to do but I hung in and proceeded to frustrate myself a bit on this view of the marsh through a tree screen. It got a bit muddy and messy so I scraped most of it off and went back over the next day to finish it. A totally different experience on Saturday with no bright sun at all—again I worked hard to repaint and came up with this. Might still require a bit of work!

Gray Day Geese

Gray Day Geese 12 x16

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4 Comments

  1. Martha
    December 28, 2016

    Wow! Your latest paintings are beautiful. I especially love Winter on the River and Cool Reflections. Wish I lived close enough to come and paint. Still enjoying the painting of the boat on a dock I bought from you in Apalachicola. You had just finished painting it and it was still wet. Best purchase I’ve made in a while.

    Reply
    • Ed Cahill
      January 2, 2017

      Thanks Martha, great to hear from you. I wish I would have done one as nice as that the day of the Paint Out. I might have won something. I love that area and hope to get back this Spring.

      Reply
  2. Brenda Pinnick
    December 29, 2016

    Really beautiful work, Ed! I hadn’t seen the top two before.

    Reply
    • Ed Cahill
      January 2, 2017

      Brenda! Thanks so much. We need to get together and go down to the boardwalk—you’re going to love it.

      Reply

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