St. Simon's—Beach Access

Last Days on St. Simons

St. Simon's—Beach Access
St. Simon’s—Beach Access

Back at home this week after a working vacation in St. Simon’s. I did eleven paintings in seven days and had one entire day that I had to devote to my advertising work, so I could have done a few more. This just shows you how much might be possible if I was working full time at this painting gig. I’m sure I’d loose a bit of the enthusiasm that I had while in a very stimulating environment —but I’d like to give it a go! I did run into some problems that I will try to work out before my trip to Hawaii in late October. The first issue I had is with the medium I use – Archival Oils Odourless Lean. Out in the heat and wind near the shore this dries too quickly and turns the paint into a sticky mess. It’s a problem on the paintings but more so on my palette which is impossible to clean up. It would require you clean off the area of mixed paint about every 10 minutes or so—certainly too much bother. I anticipate this being a bigger problem in windy Hawaii so I’m thinking of mixing a special concoction of the lean and the medium to see if I can get the right drying time.

With eleven paintings I had a few that I just felt needed a little bit more attention and I spent Sunday working on them —with mixed results. I find my color to be too bright and brassy after the fact and I have a very difficult time matching the original mixtures. This is a hit and miss thing and I usually end up repainting entire passages just to make them work. As I’ve often noted this is usually a mistake—or a skill I just have not mastered yet.

Another realization after a full week of painting is was how effortless and fresh the wider format 12 x21″ paintings came out. Although I did some work after the fact on the Marshes of Glynn I really enjoyed the compositional opportunities that a wider format presents. I plan to build quite a few 12 x 24 boards in addition to purchasing some frames that size so I can use them in this Falls competitions.

I met probably a dozen or two interested observers as I painted this last week — even in the remote areas. I can say they were all very encouraging and admired my efforts—or at least they were polite enough to say so. I’m about 90% gracious in such encounters—only occasionally  a bit frustrated. As an artist I feel we are emotional, a requirement for being in tune to what is going on around us—some I’d say more than others. I’m in the middle and find myself sensitive but not too much so—it’s a another skill developed thru experience to be a polite as possible and go on with your work. I ran out of cards and find them a god send. They give out all the information most people need and shorten the length of conversations. In my case I welcome an occasional visit. I am so intense in my labors that I often get too cranked up —it’s good to take a break. I also don’t drink enough water when I’m out, this can lead to dehydration and a headache.

On to the work —the last days of a great break from the norm. We certainly lucked out with some dry weather, especially with it raining the entire week we were gone here in Atlanta. On the 4th of July I walked South toward the pier looking for a nice view from the road of the water framed up by trees —I see this as a inviting compositional idea. Beach Access (up top) was the result. I compressed the view just a bit to get a bit of the house to the right in and on the first go I had a figure in chair near the access steps but ended up painting it out as it confused this view. I also lighted the water a bit after, realizing that the painting was just a bit dark. This is common when working outside even though I set up in the shade the light outside is just so much brighter that you tend to darken the colors, I also used a redder dark under painting in for this —giving it a interesting play with all the green. I

St. Simons Surf Fisher
St. Simons Surf Fisher

like this composition and am planning a larger studio version of this.

After finishing up this painting I wondered down to the beach and set up looking South toward the pier. It was crowded and about a dozen beachcombers stopped into check on me. Surf Fisher was the result of this session and it had potential but I think my enthusiasm for including the bridge in the distance hurt the composition. The figure of the fisherman was quite accurate—he was very thin and had long black hair and almost appeared to pose for me. Fisherman, dramatic sky, pier

St. Simon's Banana Plant Pool
St. Simon’s Banana Plant Pool

, and bridge — just too many elements for this small 9 x12″. Might have been much better on the wider format.

The Banana Plant Pool was done in the afternoon as everyone relaxed by the pool at our rental. It was quickly done and features my wife Penny — a reluctant model.

Friday I was going to spend the day with the family but they all encouraged me to paint so after throwing of my guilt I packed up and headed down to the road right off the beach to capture a few of the older homes that I feel are so much more interesting than the poorly designed condos that dominate the shoreline. This island is not as well controlled or planed as Hilton Head but it has a lot more charm and I prefer it. Even with too many of the previously mentioned overbuilt  disasters it still has quite a St. Simon's —Beachfront Propertyfew older areas that keep the romance of the old beach town alive. Beachfront Property is an example although this blue gray shingled dwelling reminds me of Cape Cod more that the Georgia coast. I repainted this a bit to get the angles and values right and it’s another that suffers from to big an idea on too small a canvas. Still I find the light on this quite accurate and it has that bright glow that I was after.

The final painting of the week Beach Side Bungalow was done in a few hours and the view struck me —old beach side shack with bikes leaning up against the skinny pine and a nice glimpse of the sea. I think this one came out well with not to much information for the 9 x 12″ format plus a very romantic feel.

St. Simons—Bungalow on the Beach
St. Simons—Bungalow on the Beach

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