This is from Adams Ranch in Ft. Pierce, FL where the live oaks grow undisturbed. They are huge trees with far reaching limbs. A bit farther down this dirt road on the ranch is a picnic area with a giant tree house.
I’m getting ready to start a new commission and while taking stock, making sure there were plenty of pastels in the box and planning my approach this painting came to mind.
The new painting won’t have a path with dappled light but many of the colors will be the same, as well as the size.
The magnolias are blooming like crazy this year – or more than they have in the past – I tend to exaggerate. We have two trees in the yard. One in the front and one in the back.
They are the big trees with the big flowers. They smell great! Some magnolia trees in the neighborhood are dwarf trees with the big flower, which is nice because the flowers are lower. With the big tree it’s hard to even get a good photograph of the blooms because they are so high. However, once in awhile, if you can catch it at the right moment (the flowers peak on one day and then they’re done!) blooming on a lower branch you’ll be able to at least have a photograph to work from.
Here is one of my favorite painting spots at Jonathan Dickinson State Park on the bank of the Loxahatchee River. In the past I’ve seen very large gators here and often there are kayakers going by too. Not together.
This first plein air is done on an 8×10 panel that I made with a gritty coating to give the surface texture. It’s done in pastels, pure brilliant pigment – in stick form – better than crayons!
Next on the Loxahatchee, same place different day and time, was also a textured panel – much bigger and was done as a class demonstration. The class wanted to also see how to underpaint so I used some rubbing alcohol over the pastels, which solidified the background. Then I waited a bit for the painting to dry and finished the pastel on top.
Wait, I’m not done – there’s one more for now – this one is same place – of course a different day and time and different paper! Viewpoint is slightly farther down on the river bank. This one is my favorite – it too has an underpainting – this time with watercolor.
The watercolor underpainting is a great tool. You can get some great darks in without getting too messy and build some beautiful shadow areas. Also the pink undertone in the sky and water adds luminosity and air.
Looking at all these together like this makes me want to go there again.
I can’t promise that these are all the paintings that I have done or will do of the Loxahatchee River.
A few years ago I did a special project that I called “The Hobe Sound Project” where I left post cards around town and asked everyone to tell me what they wanted me to paint and in the spring there would be a show of all the paintings. This particular painting is one of my favorites from that project. It’s a pastel on La Carte pastel paper. This paper has a lot of tooth to it and it has a luscious look to it when you fill the tooth, probably from the coating, which they say is vegetable matter, and I think some cork. You can’t use liquids on it though because it will just fall apart.
Harry and the Natives is located on the main intersection of Hobe Sound at Route 1 and Bridge Road and serves local delicacies, such as gator burgers. The street light is from the old part of Hobe Sound and there isn’t actually a glass globe on it but I thought it needed one.
The actual title of this painting is “Postcard from Paradise” but it’s the usual spot at Hobe Sound Beach. This was done from a photograph that I had taken, actually I had taken many photographs that day because while I was there painting another painting more umbrellas kept popping up. I wanted to be sure that I had the maximum number of umbrellas and this is what I ended up with. The beach drops off and people set themselves up on the edge of the dune.
This is a pastel painting on Wallis Museum Grade paper. It’s a decent size – 18×24 and I started with a water color underpainting. The underpainting is mostly a block in of complementary colors. So, in the grassy foreground I used a reddish brown and pink for the sky and water. An underpainting also saves on pastels, because the Wallis paper is a sanded paper that will eat up the pastels fairly quickly.
STORIES BEHIND THE FACTS. This project is made possible by Anne Marie Toccket, Carlos Camacho, Arielle Teer, Ben Sarah and Albie Fishbein-Brewer, David Zak, Fitz Fitzgerald, Ceci Ebitz, Abi Beddall, Mark Dixon, Nate Kling, Erin Tobin, Joe Herbstritt, David Bernabo, Steph Herbstritt, Sondi Stachowski, Anne Cortese, Christine Waller, Donna Sommer, Theo Keller, Jim Price, Chris Donadio, Brennan Kaye, Andrea Johnson, Michael Wacht, Jackie Heilman, Chris St. Pierre, Teresa Martuccio, Jason Clearfield and Rosanne Spolski.