Old growth pine trees line the edges of many marshes in the low country. They are very tall and drop the loveliest smelling needles (commonly referred to as "pine straw"). People use pine straw to mulch their gardens; and after a good rain, the aroma is completely intoxicating! Just one of the simple pleasures...
Oh, the marsh... I am already missing its lovely twists and turns... and its hourly changes. Here is just one moment in time that I was able to capture while painting in the low country. We had an uneventful (thankfully), 18 hour road trip driving home from Georgia. I have unpacked, sorted, laundered and put away... and am now trying to remember what "normal" is like in Texas. It's good to be back.
Sadly, our time in Georgia has come to an end. As always, it went by too fast, and I am grateful for every minute. I got in lots of painting time (more posts to come) and had wonderful family visits as well. This painting is one of my favorites from the trip. The ever-changing marshland on the Georgia coast always intrigues me - from its brimming high tide waters to its low tide trickling streams, I never tire of its beauty.
I am very fortunate to be visiting and painting on St. Simon's Island, GA for a month. We are staying in a beach community, with wonderful old (and new) beach houses in the surrounding neighborhood. I love to check out the cottages on my morning walks and have always loved the entrance to this one. The vine covered arbor is just so warm and welcoming!
English gardens usually have an element of surprise and a bit of whimsy. This front yard garden was a delightful combination of both. Penny, the garden's owner (who is actually from England), was out pulling weeds when I got started painting her house. She was kind of enough to move her car and came out to check on me halfway through. Unfortunately, she was gone when I finished the painting, but I think she knew I loved all the color and textures in her yard. Thank you, Penny!
This fancy side entrance leads to a shop in downtown Brunswick, Georgia. It is adjacent to a lovely public garden, where the agapanthus and hydrangeas are in full bloom and bursting with color. While I was painting there with my friend Alyson, we met some colorful local characters as well. They gave us a little bit of encouragement and LOTS of advice. My favorite tidbits included, "you need to 3-D it up a bit"... and... "you definitely, definitely need to add a flag." Some days, everyone stops to talk.
These inter-coastal waterways seem to go on forever through the low country. I stood on a dock to paint this piece, but I also love boating on the marshland rivers. My father-in-law has been navigating these waters his whole life and has taught his family to appreciate (and respect) the changing tides and the twists and turns of the marsh. It's always a huge treat when he takes us out. (Thanks for all the great excursions, Charlie!)
This old dock has definitely seen some better days, and I am guessing it has also seen some interesting history. It's fun to imagine. Along the coast of Georgia rivers like this one ribbon their way through the marshes, connecting the islands and communities of the low country. They are dotted with docks, both new and old, but I have a special affinity for the ones that have a little more patina on them.
One thing is for sure about the south - people like to dress up. It's not at all uncommon to see linen dresses and seersucker suits across the aisle at church; and even the casual clothes seem a bit more colorful and coordinated than in other parts of the country. Maggie's has been selling women's finery on St. Simons Island for years. The turquoise building, arched window displays, and red geraniums are a true siren song for the shopper in anyone. :)
This elegant river boat sits at the end of a quiet little marina just over the causeway to Jekyll Island (about 30 minutes from St. Simons). While I was painting, two young boys who were on a houseboat trip with their grandparents kept a close eye on my progress. They peppered me with rapid-fire questions... "Will you put in the bridge? Is that your boat? How long have you painted? Do you sell your paintings? How much will this cost? What is the biggest painting you have ever painted? How much was THAT one? Will you put in the other boats? Why didn't you paint the other end of the dock?"
The boys must have been listening, because later they brought over their grandparents and gave them the entire spiel, complete with prices and explanations about how I had edited the scene. It was pretty funny to hear one of them point out quite logically, "she left out the bridge, grandma, because including it would take our eyes off the boat."
The shadows on this little southern house were just too delicious to pass up. And then there was the old fashioned screen door... can't you just hear it slamming now? If you are like me, you can still hear your mom's voice calling from inside, "don't slam the door!" Maybe I am giving away my age here talking about screen doors and all, but these are such good memories.
Painted at the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation, Brunswick, GA.
The Golden Isles are in full bloom right now, and this flowery entry gate is right down the street from where I am staying. After passing by every day for a week, I finally had to stop and paint it. When Cathy (the owner and gardener extraordinaire) saw the painting, she bought it on the spot. It makes me so happy and seems right that the painting will stay with her.