9 painters interpret the coastal landscape
This story was featured in the December 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine December 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine December 2012 digital download here. Or simply subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
Richard A. Johnson
“Most of my work is coast related. THE EVENING STAR is special because it was my brother’s boat—a 52-foot old wooden schooner. He died several years ago, and I miss the good times we had on his boat. This painting is what I imagine his last voyage would have been like on Winyah Bay near Georgetown, SC. Most of my paintings are based on real places mixed with a little imagination. My style is a mixture of realism and impressionism. I’m told that people like the detail I put in my landscapes.”
“I’ve always found Everglades National Park to be a magical place, and being chosen as an artist in residence there was the opportunity of a lifetime! When I’m there, I have a heightened appreciation for the ability of nature to heal our spirits and connect us to the majesty of our physical world. I painted this piece from a plein-air study I did one late afternoon, as a pink blanket of clouds warmly covered the marsh. The fleeting colors and light created a mystical tableau that I hoped to capture. Native waterfowl and raccoons hunting for dinner entertained me as I painted. I was reminded of a quote by [Winston] Churchill, ‘Happy are the painters, for they never shall be lonely; light and colour, peace and hope will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day.’”
J.M. Stringer Gallery of Fine Art, Vero Beach, FL; Anderson Fine Art, St. Simons Island, GA; Corse Gallery, Jacksonville, FL; Mountainsong Galleries, Carmel, CA; Stellers Gallery, Ponte Vedra, FL; www.marygarrishfineart.com.
“It’s a challenge to get form and structure in such a confusing subject as a harbor or a marina. Here it’s only a dock for boats in an inlet on the Gulf of Mexico. My former math teacher probably would give me my first A ever for this painting, with the comment: ‘Your best geometric accomplishment. Well done.’ Well, happily, somebody also liked the colors and the mood. So it hangs where it was painted, in Alabama. It’s generally a challenge to paint water. So many artists paint it in horizontal strokes. That’s why, to me, it often looks like a supermarket parking lot. But vertical strokes show depth, in addition to a few horizontal reflections, and that’s it.”
“There is generally a quiet streak that runs through my work, regardless of subject matter. DELTA NOCTURNE 1 is among my most serene creations to date. The strong horizontal shapes and the soft tones of early twilight, when the lights just begin to appear on the distant shore, contribute to the tranquil mood. The scene depicted is just a few short blocks from my home near the San Francisco Bay. I often go there to paint. In late evening or nighttime, when the light is too dim to paint, I simply contemplate and commit the scene to memory.
“DELTA NOCTURNE 1 was based on a 4-by-8-inch oil sketch done from memory. The color scheme is essentially an invention based more on emotional memory than literal memory.”
“There’s something magical about strolling around a small fishing village at daybreak that seems to overwhelm your senses—the mist rising off the water in the hazy light, the smell of the salty air, the sharp cry of the seagulls that shatters the stillness, the color and reflections of the boats in the water—all of these simple and wondrous things have been a constant source of inspiration for my art. The sea has been a part of my family history for generations, and I feel a deep connection to it. Sunrise and sunset are magical times along coastal areas, and I strive to capture a moment in time that interprets the visual splendor and emotion that I experience. Capturing these elusive qualities on canvas offers great personal satisfaction, and it’s what I thrive on artistically.”
Pacific Edge Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; Winters Gallery, Carmel, CA; Aloha Images, Kauai, HI; Dabbert Gallery, Sarasota, FL; Red Trombone Gallery, Fort Lauderdale, FL; www.tomswimmfineart.com.
“SEA GREEN was inspired by the thundering beauty of the surf near Cape Hatteras. In all the world, few places have witnessed more storms and shipwrecks. Painting these historic waters is a passion of mine. Capturing the delicate pattern of foam floating above the surging energy beneath, combined with the luminous effects of the late-morning sun, was a compelling challenge.
“My love for painting water began in childhood. Though my media has evolved from crayons to oil, my love for expressing the majesty of the sea as it meets the shore has been increasing throughout my lifetime. Few other subjects challenge the artist as much as water. Wave shapes are endlessly changing. Wind, current, weather, and time of day must all agree for a painting to be convincing.”
Meredith Arteriors, Summit, NJ; Left Bank Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA; John Collette Fine Art, Cashiers, NC; Hinsdale Gallery, Hinsdale, IL; Tom Nielsen Fine Art, Carrollton, GA.
“I love the ocean! I am lured by the beauty, energy, and constant changes it brings, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to record the coastal changes.
“INCOMING WAVES is a studio painting done from a plein-air study I did in Monterey, CA. I was attracted to the many elements that separate the viewer from the calm sea seen in the distance: the seaweed-encrusted rocks, the smooth stones, and the fast motion of relentless waves spraying sea water into the atmosphere. I painted with equal intensity to portray my emotional experience in the moment, while being sure to leave a small sliver of calm sea in the background where the eye can rest before returning on an incoming wave.”
“MONASTERY BEACH, CARMEL was exhibited at the Napa Valley Museum along with a series of panels explaining the composition and the major steps of the watercolor painting process. I love painting the rugged California coastline; it never remains the same. The changing colors of the sky, land, and sea, plus the feeling of freedom one has at the continent’s edge, are always exhilarating. There is an eternal sense of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. This was a studio piece, but I much prefer to paint en plein air where I can feel the wind, hear the sound of birds, and sense the power of the surf.”
“SMUTTY NOSE is part of a series of paintings that I did during my visit to Monhegan Island this past summer. The island is full of places that spark the interest of many artists of the past and the present. Smutty Nose was a site located on the seashore that captivated my attention immediately. The colors, the fresh sky, the beautiful light contrast, and the tranquility between mainland ferry visits provided a peaceful setting to capture on canvas. The rhythmic sounds of the rolling surf as I was painting completed the seaside experience.”
Featured in the December 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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