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

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.