Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Beginning tomorrow...

We’re ready to go. Panels, paints, gear checked... nothing but the painting left to do. If you want to follow this month long painting event, be sure to subscribe to our blog Salt Marsh Studio for posts of  daily events and paintings.  All paintings will also be posted daily on our website Salt Marsh Studios. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

A New Year, Two Views...Thoughts about the 'why'?

Getting ready...

Panel Prep... 9"x12" Centurion Universal Primed Linen and SourceTek 1/8" hardboard primed with  Lascaux 'Gesso'.  31 days of painting x 3 panels(at least)per day x 2 painters = 186 painting panels (minimally) needed.

I'm sitting on the couch sipping some coffee, in front of our windows onto the marsh, and all I see is the fog shrouded short expanse of palms swinging too and fro, and rain drops dripping off of the Spanish Moss, all while the sound of the wind is creating faint freight train type sounds that trickle in through the glass.  And yet... it's 64ºF, perfect painting weather.

In two days we will begin a painting adventure that will mean that every day of January will be a day spent outside painting...'no matter what'!  And I can't wait to get started!  If any of you where reading my blog back when this was the way I communicated socially with artists and others who decided to follow it,  you may recall that in April 2009 I first began doing these month long painting 'marathons' by painting 4 little 5"x7" paintings every day of that nasty month, up where I lived in Minnesota.  I know it's hard to imagine, but that was before we were all on Facebook, don't think I even knew what that was, and the blog was The Way.  The reason I started this one had a lot to do with Duane Keiser's  'Painting a Day' blog,  where he became incredibly well known, and collected, by painting one little piece per day.  That sounds like nothing new now, but in 2004 he began it and in 2009 it was becoming a huge deal.

Like so many other artists who were aware of Duane's blog, I wanted to take on a challenge myself, something that would push my painting skills and knowledge, and that would be fun to put 'out there' for other's to follow.  Part of the following along is the educational side of doing this, but it's also about the human interest, especially the interest from other artists, who are intrigued by something that they also might like to try, or can't but want to be there, vicariously.  However, I'm very aware that it's to easy to find something of interest as an artist, that another artist is doing and having success with, and get too close to replicating it.

I didn't want to do that... sooooo... I thought that since I am a landscape painter, at the time primarily working outside from life, that a daily painting project outside would make the most sense.  Especially since it was March when I was thinking about it, and the weather in Minnesota had kept me studio bound for quite a bit.  One painting a day outside didn't get me too excited, there's nothing very challenging about that, so I decided why not try for four a day?  Two in the morning, two in the afternoon would be my MO.  Little did I know April would be Very nasty that year, it was.  It turned out to be very successful for me (I finished), and I sold a bunch!  On May 1st, I decided that it had been a good idea after all.

That was quickly followed by a 2 painting per day 'Nocturne Marathon' that made it until September 29th when I hit a very large Minnesota white tailed deer that did $8000.00 damage to my truck and put the painting on hold.  Then I did something I called March Madness in 2012, again in Minnesota painting 6"x8" paintings, but could only get most of the way through the month because of some teaching/travel obligations.  The last one I did was when I lived in Colorado, 'A Leap Into February', where I painted four 8"x10" paintings a day.  The first of February it snowed 12", which lasted until almost the middle of the month when the temperatures dropped down into the double digits below zero range for a couple of days.  The snow did finally melt, but then the winds from the mountain slopes picked up and mostly caused me to have to either chain down my easel, or hunker down behind my van.

Back to the "why" one would want to do this...

First, it's one hell of a lot of work, and I don't mean the painting.  Most any painter could go outside daily and paint a painting, even three or four paintings.  Many do now on a regular basis.  The work is what follows the each day's outside work is more time consuming than the painting time.  All work is first photographed, edited, and saved.  Then there is descriptive writing, about the day and the work, that is all posted on blogs, websites, Instagram, Facebook, etc..  In our case, Dottie and I both have personal blogs and websites, our Salt Marsh Studios website (where the paintings will be displayed for sale), and a Salt Marsh Studio blog (where we will be posting all of our days work and other 'interesting' news).  We're going to try to keep Newsletters going as well.  So you see that getting the paintings done is only half of the work, or less.  Now, imagine that for 31 days that's all you have time to do... all that you can do or your project will fail.  Meaning that when household, auto or familial events arise, you can only hope and pray that they can be dealt with easily and quickly so that you can stay on track.  So that's the first reason, the challenge of it all.

Secondly, as a painter there is nothing that is more of a self help than a serious dose of concentrated work, for both the mental, and the practice side of who we are... ie... painting without distraction.  How many of us have that in our lives daily?  For a month at a time?  I know that unless I specifically decide to do something like this sort of a project, I don't.  That is the second reason, a selfish self help month.

Thirdly, each of my previous painting marathons, this one included, I had hoped would make me more familiar with where I lived,  and put me more in touch with the area or time of year that I was painting.  I learned fast how to find nocturnes in the September Nocturne Marathon, how to create ways to stave off snowfall by using a tarp off of the back door of my van in Colorado, and more.  Mainly, I found out that I could stay within a few miles of my home, in all of those locations and times, and find anywhere from 112 to 120 paintings to paint... in a month!  That was personally the biggest advantage, learning how to "see" paintings where ever I was painting, when all I really wanted to do was to go inside and drink some hot chocolate.  The third reason, personal growth as a painter.

Fourth, but not necessarily last, is the discovery that many other artists, and non-artists, loved following along as I went through the daily trials and tribulations of this sort of a project.  To this day people tell me that they found out about my paintings via one of these marathons of the past.  It's an education for me for sure, but I also found out that there are many others who also get something educational, and entertaining, out of it.  That's the fourth reason to do it, that it's an art event that can help inform and entertain others along the way.

So on this Wednesday, January 1, 2020, Dottie and I will begin something together that only accents what our lives have become over the last year and a half or so as we joined them, together.  We absolutely love where we live, love painting here, love just being together.  Like everyone else though, our studio can capture us in it's comfort, our daily 'needs' for all else other than painting can take us away from being out in the landscape, painting, which is such an integral part of life for us both.  We are both very excited to be in a place in life where we are able to do this, and to share it with anyone who wants to follow along as we take on the challenge.  I hope that you find it an interesting look into our daily adventures here on Tybee Island and the surrounding coastal area, and that the beauty that has so captivated us is recognized by you in what we do to put it down on canvas.

If you're interested, you can follow our Salt Marsh Studio blog to see how we do.  Wishing you all a blessed New Year full of love, happiness and peace, but mostly full of the beautiful gift that life is!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

P.A.P.S.E. Show! 'Bringing The Outside In"

I'm very happy to be a part of this showing of members plein air paintings at the Booth Museum of Western Art in Cartersville, GA.  The Opening Reception is January 16th, 5-8pm, the show remains on view through March 8, 2020.  So happens that this is the 20th Anniversary of PAPSE.  The invitation features Dee Beard Dean who is the founder of the group.

This is the painting I have in the show...

"Bonaventure Blooming" - oil on stretched linen, 12x16.  
It was painted last March on location in the cemetary. 

I have yet to get to the Booth to see what I hear is an incredible collection of art of the West, and more.  However, I will because I am going to be teaching a workshop there, along with artists David Boyd, Jr and Bill Farnsworth, in the fall of 2020.  The dates are September 28 - October 1, 2020.  This is a 4 day workshop with a limited number of spots available.  The three of us will be teaching as a group and individually, along with lectures and demonstrations.  It's a great deal, and should be a great time too!  The information about signing up is on this flier below.  I hope to see you there!


Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Holiday Open Studio - Demos!

We spent Friday afternoon from 11-3 doing some public demoing at our Salt Marsh Studio Holiday Open House.  Dottie worked on a larger sized 40x30 piece, I painted a 24x24 acrylic, start to finish, steps shown here.  I hope you enjoy...

Starting it up! I have been painting with acrylic paints since my art school days... uhmmm... errr-rrrr... since the late 70's.  Since then my use of them has been sporadic at best.  I have this drive to keep on working with them until I find a way to be comfortable enough with the process to paint with them more frequently.  What I want out of them is to be able to be comfortable with them in a more painterly way.  So that's what I work on every time I get them off of the shelf.  

I'm a huge admirer of the late Charles Movalli (1945-2016), even more so since finding out a couple of years ago that in the mid-90's he switched from oil paints to acrylics and never looked back.  All these years I thought that his work had been painted in oils, it has that kind of 'bravura' look to it, surface and brushwork.  That he could take the acrylic medium and paint those strong images is inspiring me to paint on with it.

When Golden 'Open' acrylics showed up I thought that they'd be the answer with their longer 'open' time, and they're a great paint to paint with!  You're able to work them longer, and they hold their value, from wet to dry, better than any other acrylics that I've tried.  What they lack is the ability to hold up brushstrokes like other 'heavy body' acrylics can, when they dry.  They tend to flatten out to the surface.  So I've been painting with several brands over the last few years... Holbein, Golden, W&N and Utrecht.  For this painting I chose to use the Utrecht, since they also hold their value quite well.  Painting on a stretched cotton canvas also helps as the depressions in the canvas helps to keep the evaporation down, delaying the setting up of the paints. 

I have the acrylics set out on folded, wetted paper towels and occasionally mist with water.  They stay fluid and don't dry out for as long as the towels are wet, and you mist them from time to time.  I'm not using any medium on the painting, very little water mixed into it, just paint!

Dottie at work!  She has a beauty going...

For reference I used a small study, and a photo of the scene, viewed on the computer.  Both were only starting points for the painting.  The color and composition was changed, even shapes of clouds in the sky, to meet my wants for the painting.  That's one of the things that I really appreciate about acrylics, the ability to change the image around, to be able to re-draw almost instantly, to mold it more closely to what my idea is for the painting.  That's possible with any medium, of course.  But with acrylic there's no scraping, wiping or working into wet paint.  Wait a few minutes and over paint!


Block-in... this is about 30 minutes into the painting.  Just dividing up the land/sky, setting the value scale and comparison, for both. 

At this point I'm starting to build up the sky design, color and movement.  The main cloud takes the stage, so I kept cutting it down in size, molding it's shape and the movement around it until I had something that I wanted.  I'm an hour or so into it at this point.  We had visitors into the studio while all this was going on.

I've put color into the marsh grasses, the water, and changed the clouds again.  I'm pretty satisfied with the sky movement now.  I wanted the shape of the water to move up into the sky, follow sort of an 'S' around and up into the sky to the right, then circle back around and down to the marsh.  The little puffy vapor patches and clouds are intended to lead the eye around in that way. I found that just applying the acrylic straight off of the palette, without diluting it with water, helped to keep it fresh and alive.  Watering it down with either medium or water and medium, produces a weaker looking surface in my opinion.  Painting with it straight out of the tube is more interesting, and something that I'm going to keep on pursuing.

McQUEEN ISLAND MARSH - 24x24 - Acrylic on Canvas (available)

Final, for now.  Since it is so easy to work back into, next time I see this, I may alter some things, even though it's signed. Thanks for looking in.  I hope you enjoyed the little bit of a demo.

Cheers... Marc

Friday, November 22, 2019

Some recent work for sale!

I'm sharing a selection some paintings that I have available through our studio, Salt Marsh Studio, on Whitemarsh Island, GA.  The honest truth for artists is that we paint so many paintings in a moth, year, over the years, that we inevitably have some paintings returned.  These are some of those pieces that have been sent to galleries on consignment, but for whatever reason, did not sell.  

We just recently held a Holiday Open House.  These pieces are a selection of what I have hanging for it.  If you're in the area of Savannah, GA be sure to drop us a note to make an appointment to stop in to view the work on hand, and to say 'Hi'.  You can email me at marc@marchansonart.com.

Thanks for taking a look...

SPRING ON THE MARSH - oil on board - 24x48 - $9500.00
This is a painting entirely painted on location with Dottie, near the Bull River, on the marsh between Wilmington Island and Tybee Island.  Gnats got us the second session, but we persisted and each painted a painting this size.  Something we want to do more often.  

ALONG THE FLAT RIVER - oil on canvas/board - 10x20 - $1900.00
I painted this while teaching a class in Michigan this past summer.  It was painted along a very shallow, narrow river called The Flat River. 

TOWARDS THE RIVER - oil on linen panel - 11x14 - $1450.00
This is a field painting, painted on a very warm but misty morning off of Battery Park, Tybee Island, GA.  Three studies were painted that morning. 

STRAWBERRY MOON DANCE - oil on canvas - 48x36 - $13,500.00
One of the many wonderful things I like about living on an island being on the beach at sunset or sunrise.  Watching full moons rising is always a unique experience.  This night that this one arose, the sky was clear except for a few pods of small clouds that seemed to be attracted to creating circle dances around the moonlight.  They were like little cloud faeries it seemed.  

CHANGE COMING - oil on canvas - 24x36 - $7,500.00
Dottie and I were doing some field painting at Battery Park, Tybee Island back in May of this year when this wall cloud came at us!  We very quickly threw everything into our paint bags and skedaddled back to the safety of my truck and then home.  We found out a short time later that this system produced a tornado that touched down on the next island west of us, Wilmington Island, and did some damage to businesses in the small commercial area there.  It's not good to mess with Mother Nature!!! 

BACK ROADS - oil on linen - 22x30 $5200.00
I have always loved the mood of the landscape when takes on other than a 'blue bird' day attitude.  Days like this, ones that are warm and hazy, might be some of my favorite to paint.  This one is painted on a piece of linen that you can't purchase anymore, a linen made by the company out of Russia called Yarka.  They made (make?) three styles, portrait smooth, rough and coarse.  It is sized with sturgeon skin glue and primed with a beautiful oil prime that takes paint beautifully.  It's always very sad when a product that you become used to, and LOVE to paint on, is no longer available.  The ensuing search for replacements begins and sometimes takes years to find, sometimes it never is.  This is one of those, another being that beautiful mouse gray Belgian Mist sanded pastel paper that was produced by Kitty Wallis... I'm still sobbing over that loss.

SOUTHERN LIGHT - oil on cradled panel - 30x40
When I began to come to the coast of Georgia to teach landscape painting I was immediately fascinated by the scrubby vegetation that lives along the coastal marshes and beaches.  Live oaks, palmettos and Spanish Moss, making up a large share of that growth.  One of those trips found us painting on Jekyll Island, near St. Simon's Island, GA, at the fishing pier on the north end of the island.  There is a bridge that crosses a tidal creek from there that carries you over to the east side of the island and the beaches there.  Since it faces the Atlantic, it takes a beating when the seas are up.  Consequently, the trees and other vegetation are always struggling to keep a foothold on solid ground.  I love that kind of landscape, both for viewing and for painting.  One morning I took walk all the way around the east beach when the light was low and warm and caught this scene on my phone. I didn't have time to paint it, so this is a result of realizing that image in the studio at a later time.  A side story, I sent it to a gallery I work with on St. Simon's, Anderson Fine Art Gallery, suing FedEx, and it was lost for weeks... not a clue as to where it went.  I has shipped it out of Tupelo, MS, where I lived at the time.  It was for a show at the gallery so I decided since it was a goner, I would paint another version of it.  At almost the same time this one arrived at the gallery, the other one showed up too!!!  Now I have two versions of this scene.  Would you like one?!?! 

SEA MOOD - acrylic on cradled panel - 23x48
This is the only Acrylic painting in this grouping.  I'd be happy to sell it, but I also love having it in my studio as a reminder of an idea realized in a way that I envisioned before starting, something that doesn't always happen.  Also, I painted it in a medium that I love, but have struggles with in every painting, every time that I use it, that keeps me from using it more often.  In this one however, those struggles dissolved, making it one that I look at frequently to remind me that it is possible to do that! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Catching up... again!

When it comes to blogging... "Don't say 'never', ever!"... is my motto!  As I type this the sound of crickets chirping along the blogging air waves are growing louder and louder.  That's alright... it's been a while but my other motto is... "You have to start somewhere to get anywhere".  That goes for almost everything that life presents as a challenge or opportunity, as interchangeably entangled as those two are.

About a year ago, or at least not very recently, I attempted to re-enter the blogging atmosphere via my FASO website's blogging platform.  While it has many features that might be more advanced than this one, I found it difficult to use in a fluid and fluent way.  Might be because I'm so comfortable with 'Blogger' from years of use?  Whatever the reason is, I'm back here to try this again.

Here's my story 'in brief' since my last post of any consequence, November 2016, that one being one of a couple of schizophrenic decisions about what I wanted to be doing with my time, what social media platforms I found most engaging and worth my time, and that I didn't like Instagram! I'm now fully engaged on Instagram, and for some strange reason have collected about 22.5K followers.  Instagram is where I practice being social, and benefit from it's huge vault of images and interests that I am engaged with. (More about salt water fly fishing and tying later, and about why that even means anything at all.)

In the interest of not having a publishing company to handle the book that it would take to cover the last year and a half, this post will have to suffice.  

I met the love of my life a year and a half ago, the beautiful Dottie T. Leatherwood who is also a very fine artist, many of you may be familiar with her, and we decided that having a life together was the best idea either one of us had... Ever.  We have had Lady Luck's gift of a lifetime handed to us.  So, I sold my home in Mississippi last Spring, we moved to Tybee Island, GA last Winter, set up Salt Marsh Studio on nearby Whitemarsh Island, and have just recently purchased a home on Tybee Island where we plan to stay FOREVER!  NO more Penske or Uhaul trucks for either one of us!!!  Dottie grew up in the Savannah area, it's home to her.  I love this part of the planet, the sea, the marshes, the wildlife, and fishing (posts about that to follow soon).  In short, we are both exactly where we want to be, painting and enjoying the life that surrounds us.  Thank you to whoever serendipitously lines these things up in our lives, We are grateful beyond words. There you go, that's brief! 

To cut to our art life, we've been working our tails off, not only with moving 3 households and studios in the last year, teaching, and painting for multiple shows near and far. All the while we're doing our best to get out into the marshes and onto the beaches on Tybee to capture it's beauty and mood in paint!  Neither of us would agree that we get to do that enough, but we're working on it.

To celebrate being in our studio this past year, we're going to have a 'Holiday Open Studio' on November 21st and November 22nd.  There will be paintings for sale, from small studies to large studio pieces, all will make great gifts for any art lover.  We'll have information about our newly published 2020 Salt Marsh Studio Workshop schedule, fresh off of the press!  More on that below.  

Salt Marsh Studio
51 Johnny Mercer Blvd, Suite A1 - Savannah, GA 31328

Both Dottie and I have been teaching for quite awhile, and love the opportunity it affords us to get out  into nature with other painters to help them in their own efforts at capturing the beauty they see around them.  We love this area deeply, and find it to be an endless source of subject matter for working 'en plein air'.  Near us are vast expanses of tidal salt marshes, beaches, and the ever changing skies that stretch for as far as you can see in every direction.  We'll be team teaching this series of workshops this winter and spring.  We can't wait to greet and work with artists who are new to the area, or who have been here for some time. 


MARSH PUMPKIN TIDE - oil - 36x36
Available at Mockingbird Gallery

Available through me at Salt Marsh Studio

HOUSE LEFT - oil - 30x48
Available at Leiper's Creek Gallery

ORCHARDS AGO - oil - 24x24
Available at Leiper's Creek Gallery

MOONBEAM - oil - 36x36 Available
This one garnered the OPA Gold Medal Master's Division
this past October at the OPA Eastern Regional Exhibition
at Beverly McNeil Gallery in Birmingham, AL.
It's available for sale there until December 1st.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Exploring Your Painting Skills in Open Air 1 and 2

This July I'm teaching an outdoor landscape painting workshop at the Franciscan Life Process Center in Lowell, MI.  Session one is on July 8-10, a day off, then Session two is July 12-14, 2019.  You can take one or both sessions, a discount is applied to anyone taking both sessions.  Details are at the link I provided above.