Tag Archives: Spanish moss

swamp painting finally finished / oils

I might have to pay a pro photographer to take a decent shot of this because I’m not getting it.

Painters and poets, we all reveal ourselves through our work. When I look at this I think oh no! If there’s an art savvy shrink in the room they’ll be able to peel the layers of my personality down all the way to my subconscious which is represented here by a few inches of stagnant swamp water. I would advise you that even if you’re wearing hip boots you could sink in and get stuck in the muck.

It’s almost like feeling undressed in public when you feel like your life is shown in a painting. People who I don’t know will get to know me well.

That’s why I don’t feel the need to express my emotions through my painting. Even if I’m only trying to represent nature as accurately as I can it’s still all me there. Get 100 plein air artists to paint this scene and none will look like my painting.

This close up shows some Spanish moss on the right which I blobbed in some lines of dark green and very light green then scribbled through it with my palette knife, and some orange cypress needles done with my modified fan brush, some bark done with the modified fan brush, and some background trees painted with regular brushes taped to yardsticks.

This close up shows some Spanish moss at the top of the painting. It reminds me of a valence because I worked at sewing for most of my life. I made a lot of curtains and slipcovers but never anything as beautiful as a Spanish moss valence, so delicate, airy, graceful, and yet scary and spooky. I’d take it home and glue it to a cornice for my apartment but it probably has tons of tiny microscopic bugs in it that would come out and bite me. I’m afraid to pick it up when it’s on the ground.

This close up shows a lot of layers of paint. So many I can’t even count. Some in the background, middle ground, foreground and some yellow leaves on black sticks on top of all the rest.

It might seem like I painted every detail but I actually skipped a lot of things that I decided the painting didn’t need, lichens on the branches, stick bushes in the water and dead branches on the ground, dead leaves on the water etc.

The painting fell down again and picked up cypress needle dirt but that will brush off when it dries.

This close up shows my attempt to make sunlight on top of reflections because I could see the reflections through the sunlight. This is a calm place in a busy painting so the art viewer’s eye will find a place to rest. The eye will also go to rest in the background. So, hopefully, the Spanish moss and the orange cypress needles will keep the viewer’s eye going from background to foreground, and around the canvas again.

Cypress Tree with Spanish Moss / charcoal

I’ve had my eye on this old tree off and on for a few years. It looks best in the late fall when the trees in the background get some color. It’s all too green right now. I want to paint it large so I don’t crowd the tree as much. The tree is in a good place to paint with a boardwalk through the swamp and a bench and enough space for an easel and people can still walk through. I might paint it in Nov. but I could start sooner. In Nov. the bugs won’t get me. I sprayed a lot of bug spray today and they were still buzzing around my head so I sprayed my HAIR! I hope I didn’t get bit but you don’t always feel it until later.

I have so many plans for paintings and still want to sketch more first. The one I was planning to do with Inktense pencils, at the overlook facing the bay with the dunes and boardwalk, that had wind surfers, I’m waiting for the wind to pick up again so those guys will be there with their brightly colored kites.

There’s another place I might sketch tomorrow if I get up early enough but that spot looks better in the afternoon. I can do my sketch in the morning and save that until it gets colder too. We had more hot and humid weather but tomorrow is going to be cloudy with less heat. Then the chance of rain goes up for a few days, then a little cooler. It’s been a long hot and humid summer. We had some haze from the Western wildfires but it’s so high in the atmosphere it doesn’t change our air quality. It makes pretty red sunsets though.

We have the Neptune festival coming up which I’m looking forward to this month, then the vacationers will thin out until Spring.

Cypress Swamp with Ice / charcoal and chalk

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It looks like Fairyland over there today with the ice melting on the swamp! The paths are clear, but the boardwalks still have melting snow on them. I saw a Great blue Heron walking on the ice and also heard a funny alto sounding chirp. ( if you know what I mean) I looked around and didn’t see any other birds, so maybe it was the heron making that sound.

I like this sketch more than the other one I did of the swamp. I might use this one for a painting. The bush on the right coming out of the knee has a lot of fine reddish branches that are all bright in the sun. And there’s a lot of Spanish moss dripping around the trees. I decided to do a close up landscape this time because when you’re in the swamp. you’re looking down at the water and cypress knees instead of looking up at the sky. Who needs sky. hahahahahah

Cypress Swamp with Spanish Moss / charcoal

 

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When I was working on my painting at the botanical garden, I met a lady who does plein air painting and she forwarded an invite to me from The Artists Gallery in Virginia Beach. It was a call to plein air painters to meet in First Landing State. Park today. I was so happy because for at least 30 years I wished I had the time to paint there. Now I do and also had the pleasure of meeting some other plein air painters.

I’ve always loved this swamp and came here when I was on vacation at the beach in years past. The water looks black because it’s forming peat on the bottom. I imagined the first settlers that came to VA from England, when they got off their boat at the mouth of the Chesapeake and went a little in off the beach, they ran into THIS! They probably decided to get back on the boat and go upstream. The moss is hanging like spooky draperies all around. It looks soft and breezy. A settler might think it would make good mattress stuffing, but it’s full of bugs. Funny, I haven’t got a single mosquito bite since I’ve been here, and I’ve been hanging around by the water a lot.

Someone told me once, this is the farthest north they call subtropical because Spanish moss is native here. It is a couple degrees warmer here than in Richmond, only 100 miles away.

Wow! was it ever beautiful over there this morning. I could never get tired of painting in there. I have a painting started at the botanical garden which might take me a couple weeks to finish, then I’m going back to First Landing to paint the swamp. I’m looking forward to seeing it again after the frost. I know it will look different after the leaves come down, but I also think winter might be the ideal time to paint it