salt marsh

'Salt Marsh with Sand'


8x6 original oil on stretched canvas (sold)

Computer problems have delayed my postings. Even my cherished iMac is not idiot-proof. Repair required a trip to the 'Genius Bar' in Jacksonville. Enough on that.

It seems odd to me that the paintings that are stubborn about 'falling off the brush' often turn out to be the ones I like best. These little Frederix canvases I bought last month have a substantial texture that I managed to take advantage of here I think. Maybe the inherent texture lets the bits of impasto paint harmonize on the painting surface more effortlessly?

I'm reading The Art Spirit by Robert Henri which offers insights and advice for all who appreciate art. I'll start tossing in some quotes I like.

"All manifestations of art are but landmarks in the progress of the human spirit toward a thing but as yet sensed and far from being possessed." Robert Henri


"Cedar Key Trail"


6x8 oil on stretched canvas,  SOLD
Cedar Key, Florida


We drove over a couple of weeks ago, it is only an hour away. I found a few places to paint but the tide was extra high, covering features that are important to me: sandy spots, base of the marsh grasses, and even a little mud is good. This is from a photo I took that day. The birds are meant to be a small flock of ibis. If you notice the "paint blob" that is catching the light in an unfavorable way, on the front tree, that is now smoothed down.

"Marsh in Violet"


6x6 oil on stretched canvas, SOLD


This scene is more from memories than from any particular location. I added magnesium violet to my palette for this one, it compliments the four yellow colors that I use (cadmium yellow, hansa yellow, yellow ochre, transparent oxide yellow) very nicely I think. I've ordered quinacridone violet to see how that works, now if only I can pronounce it...Four yellows may sound excessive but all my tube colors are of only one pigment so I find it works for me. I don't use them all for every painting but they allow me to mix countless greens and this is a real help.

I've been just initialing these little guys because my name just looks so big on 6x6s and 6x8s. I usually remember to sign the back.

"At the Marsh Edge"





6x6 oil on stretched canvas, original $40 (including $5. for shipping)

Biddeford Pool, Maine

The Purple Martins are starting to nest in our gourds so I have swallows in my mind. This nestbox and dinghy are in my reference photo taken last summer, but not the Tree Swallow, my best guess as to who uses this box (hopefully not starlings!).


At the top, a side-view shows it painted a harmonizing gray so that the small piece does not need to be framed. I do this to all my paintings that are on stretched canvas, as opposed to linen panels, which must be framed.


"September at Salt Pond"


6x8 oil on stretched canvas, SOLD

You might recognize this view from the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center in Eastham. It looks out over Salt Pond with Nauset Marsh in the background. While I was working for the park I had many a Teva sucked off my foot by the muck out there. Nevertheless, me and my partner decided that Tevas were the best footwear to wear in the marshes while we did bird surveys. But what does this have to do with this painting? I just love this marsh & the one up beyond Race Point too. I've spend many enjoyable hours out there. I took this photo in 2008 during a September visit, on an overcast day. I knew I would paint this scene someday and I may do a larger one too.


"Palms at Crystal River" (Citrus Co. Florida)

(6x6, oil on canvas - SOLD)
The salt marshes on the Gulf of Mexico are bordered by expansive stands of sable (cabbage) palms, cedars, and oaks. The groves of palms often stand alone on islands and create an interesting landscape, their crowns pointing in all directions with many "bald" trunks interspersed. On this little painting, I got carried away with the color and texture of the grass and let the creek become a straight "Z". I need to remember to step back more but this can be surprisingly hard to remember when you are having fun.

There are dozens of "crystal rivers" across the country but here is a link to a small photo gallery of this area and it's wildlife. It is best known as a place to swim with the manatees. The "page 2" contains a few nice marsh pics.



"Sable Palm at Crystal River" (Wildlife Refuge)

(8x6 oil on canvas - Sold)

So this is finally okay with me after working on this longer than I should have.

I learned a few things from this painting, I hope. First, it is easy to say I love cobalt blue, over ultramarine, but can I afford to use it most of the time? Have you tried Gamblin's transparent earth yellow? (and the t.e. red beats burnt sienna, IMHO, and they dry slower since they are synthetic) I think I might not use yellow ochre anymore? And finally, never again will I fool myself into thinking I can paint a close-in palm tree loosely...

I have another small marsh painting I'll post tomorrow. Today I spent the afternoon at Dudley Farm Historic Park, I think I'm going to be on a rural life subject kick, more on that later.