They don’t move when you look at them but when the people go home they get rowdy!
The water is low because its been dry. Normally you can’t walk in there without sinking in.
This tree must have fallen down across the path but I don’t see where it broke or was uprooted. Then there’s three more trees growing out of the stump! This view looks uphill on an ancient sand dune that got covered with trees. I heard of trees on sand dunes growing roots back into the sand from branches that touch the ground but I never saw a tree stump with trees growing out of it. And the stump doesn’t look rotten.
This is where the lower end of the stump goes down into the sand and you have to step over it as you walk on the path. No root ball? No broken tree in the swamp? I should investigate further.
This is looking up the first new tree growing out of the stump. I don’t know what kind of tree it is but some leaves are hanging on.
This is close to the size I need. I have 2 more figures that are too large but I can draw them smaller then I’ll have 4 for the painting.
I should probably paint them before I paint the sand so they don’t look weak. A couple years ago I tried to paint a man on top of an already painted background in a scene and I thought the man didn’t look strong enough, like he was an after thought.
Boy throwing sand
Yesterday it was windy and rainy all day from the left overs of the latest hurricane / tropical storm. Today it’s so nice out! Kids were playing in the water! Tonight rain. Tomorrow will be cloudy in the morning and cooler. they say. I might go back to First Landing and work on my painting again if it clears up early enough.
This is a popular dead tree. I sat on it to do my drawings for the painting I’m working on. I was about 5 feet down from the root and leaned my drawing board on that second broken branch. It wasn’t too bad for balancing the drawing board and sitting there.
I knew it would be crowded today and I didn’t take my painting and supplies but I walked on the path with my camera a little. Lucky I found a parking spot. A lot of people were on the beach.
A boy around 6 climbed onto the trunk and walked all the way up to the roots and then climbed through the roots to the top and had his own recliner up there on top. He was talking to his Dad the whole time. I didn’t ask if I could take his picture up there because I was afraid the answer would be no.
When I was there working on my painting it was sunny and I sat on the sand under the big pine on the right of this photo in the shade. Big black ants were crawling on my legs. The kind of ants that eat wood. They don’t bite and I kept brushing them off but I must have been right on the ant trail. Then the shade moved so I moved around the tree to stay in the shade and the ants didn’t follow me. Ants, a problem for your Plein air artist.
This is the scene I’m trying to paint. My drawing doesn’t look like this. Oh well. My photo doesn’t do the scene justice. If I worked from a boring photo to start with my painting might be boring too. A pro photographer might be able to get a better shot.
I was thinking of painting some kids in the scene but didn’t sketch any so far. Except I have some sketches of kids I did over the summer at the beach I might use. They’re so tiny in this pic I don’t know if I can use these kids.
The water is warm because it’s flowing out of the marsh which is on the left out of the picture.
This canvas paper is tinted with acrylic from some time ago when I mixed paint colors together that were left over from another project. It’s uneven but that will be ok. You might not see it when the paint goes on top of this.
A bunch of little kids were playing in the water. It’s November! but nice and warm. I was getting too much sun so I didn’t start painting. This took me a couple hours to draw again. I wished I had my sketchbook so I could sketch the kids. Maybe they’ll go back tomorrow. Kids in the water and I’m getting sunburned in Nov! Tomorrow I’ll wear shorts and sandals!
It is a slow process. This is the third time I’m sketching with charcoal. Third time I drove over there for this painting and walked down a trail with my art supplies. I need to do all the preliminary steps and not skip the sketching because it gives me a better chance of making a good composition for my painting. Most Plein air artists take a small canvas and start painting right away. It will take me a half hour or more to mix a few colors for my underpainting. Then when that dries mix more and more colors and build up some layers of paint. I don’t think I can do the whole underpainting in one trip since I usually stay for two hours or so, sometimes less than two and sometimes more, but after that my concentration ends and it’s time to go. A little at a time gets ‘er done when it’s a big complicated plan.
The weather has been nice. We’ve had some clouds and some sun, not too much rain and not too hot. I’ve been out walking on the trails a lot and not taking my sketchbook. One time I checked this spot where I sketched before and the water was high but today it was back out. This is a place where the water flows in and out of the marsh. The sun wasn’t glaring on it today. I was sitting on a huge tree that fell down on the edge of the beach.
I think this will work for a painting. I’m planning on taking my acrylics and palette knives instead of oils. I don’t want to take my easel out on the beach because if sand gets into the telescoping legs it might make them get stuck. If I use my acrylics and palette knives I probably need to work on a flat surface but I could use the dead tree which is a huge round stump on its side with giant branches and roots. It would make a wobbly surface to put my drawing board on.
The acrylics would be a lighter load in my beach cart because I won’t need my brushes, terpenoid or big palette. I could mix some acrylic colors at home for my underpainting and make them wet enough that they will keep for a while in little plastic tubes. I use a plastic lid as my palette with acrylics which is much lighter than the one I use for oils with glass. I’ve been playing around a lot with acrylics and palette knives but never did a Plein air landscape with them.
My daughter and granddaughter gave me the gourds. The one with green and white reminds me of a flying saucer and the orange one is alien looking too. I was thinking of drawing the orange one larger than life for a background.
Today I walked at First Landing State Park and took my sketchbook but was too tired to sketch anything after walking but I found some good places to draw where I could get off the main path. I might go back tomorrow. Hopefully the sun will come out because it’s more beautiful then. That red marsh weed would be so bright with the sun on it. The Spanish moss is all over the place and on the ground where it fell off branches. That stuff is spooky all year long.
The good drawing spot has a couple bushes that are blooming with tiny white flowers. I hope they last a while. We might not get a freeze for weeks. The frost warning came close the other night but not all the way to the oceanfront. Some fall color is showing but it won’t go all out big time like it does farther North.
It was really nice out today. After running some errands I drove to First Landing State Park and walked on the trail to the end of the beach where I found this sparkly tidal pool. It’s a good thing I had my sunglasses on because the sun was shining on the water so brightly I wouldn’t stare at it without them. It outlined the tidal pool with bright white and showed a lot of little wet sandy lumps that weren’t covered by water.
My spot was off the trail. I might go back and see if I can catch it the same another time because the timing was just right with the tide and the sun today. The times of high and low tides vary every day by a half hour or so, I’m not sure. A few minutes too late and those pretty lumps of wet sand could be covered by water.
My sketch doesn’t do it justice, but I might try to paint this scene. I’m not sure how to make the white sun reflecting on the water as bright as it looks in real life.
Finally! I got back to the beach and made some progress on this project!
I’ve been staying home more this summer trying to avoid crowds, save gas, not go out in the heat, etc. so it was great to get to the beach this morning. It was cloudy, windy and not too hot.
This is a challenge because my models don’t stand still.
I have to stare at them for a few seconds and try to memorize the pose then quick block in the torso, arms and legs and try to put the head on top in the right spot. The person moves and I try to finish the sketch after they’re gone. This kind of figure drawing will improve my skill if I continue to practice it.
I might be able to use these sketches and finish my beach painting that I started months ago. It needs people in the scene.
I watched these kids for a while and they were having a lot of fun. A couple guys held a raft in place in the waves and threw water on it then the kid would run into the water and take a dive on it and slide across it like it was a slip and slide. This is the second before the kid goes airborne off the end into the water.
They stopped doing it before I finished my sketch, as usual.
This little kid had a pink flamingo float. That would be real pretty in my painting.
I’m trying to draw them from all sides. I need a few more sketches before I can arrange them on my beach scene.
Tomorrow is going to be sunny and hot so I don’t know if I’ll go back. Then we have a good chance of rain for the rest of the week.
The people are far away and they have to be small for the painting I’m working on. If I put closer people and umbrellas in the picture the background guys will be totally hidden. I still need to sketch some kids doing their sand excavations then I’ll have enough people sketched for the painting. At this point I’m still comparing the sizes of figures that will fit in the scene, where their heads fall compared to the horizon and where their feet are on the sand. A lot of the people are tiny tiny, as small as I can draw. The painting might be ok without any people. All it really needs is the brightly colored umbrellas and tents and a few dots for people in the water far away but I’ll sketch more and decide later. Some sand castle builders in the foreground might be nice.
How do you like that dog? You knew that was a dog, right? Ok my job is done. hahahaha
The weather has been great lately and I finally got back out to sketch at First Landing. It was crowded and I sat behind the people on the edge of a dune. They didn’t know I was sketching them. Since I was slightly uphill from them the tops of the umbrellas were below the horizon and their heads were close to the water line. This isn’t the view I need for my painting but I might be able to use it somehow for my big beach painting which is on hold until I decide how to paint people in the scene.
A cargo ship went out to sea and I hurried to sketch it. The ships look so huge right there you think they will run aground because they are so big and close up but I think that might be an optical illusion caused by the sea. I’m not sure. The way the sand juts out right there might add to an illusion. Next to First Landing State Park we have Fort Story at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and they would let me go in to see the lighthouse. I might go in some day and see if the ships look too close but if I do go in they will check me at the guard house and do I really want to go on a military base? I saw the lighthouse long ago.