From the minute I set foot on the island of Assateague in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge I felt a connection. I’ve only been there once, but I keep hearing a voice calling me back. The wildlife refuge is a perfect balance of water, land, and birds. Mother nature created an almost spiritual place where the skies are big, and the water is calm.
In my most recent painting, Tall Grasses on the Salt Marsh, I took what was a dreary, gray morning late in the fall and turned it into a sunny morning. I also turned back the clock a few weeks and put a little more greenery into the browned landscape.
My photograph provided the bare bones of the landscape, but didn’t do justice to the large vista. The photograph provided a starting point. From there I was free to create. I added cloud formations, blued up the sky, reflected the blue sky off of the water, brought the tall grasses slightly back to life, all keeping in mind warm tones that would give the painting a sunny feel.
In this large painting (30 by 40), I enjoyed experimenting with colors, working with color theory, and creating mixed colors that work well together. I worked to create light filtered throughout the painting, with the exception of a few shaded areas.
In my two paintings of Assateague Island (this one and Sunrise Over the Salt Marsh), neither includes any birdlife. Such was the case in real life, and I wanted the landscapes to stand by themselves. In the future, I’m sure birdlife will be included in many of my marsh scenes, after all, wildlife refuges provide the migratory grounds for a great variety of birds.
Salt marshes are a transition between the ocean and land, where saltwater mixes with freshwater to create a productive ecosystem for plants, fish, and birdlife. Tall grasses are common along the banks of the marsh. Along the slightly higher grounds bordering marshland, a variety of trees and shrubs are common.
In this painting, the tall grasses reach skyward and are thriving. The lower grasses are beginning to brown and lay down for the upcoming colder months. The borders of trees are still holding their leaves, but tinges of ochre and orange, mixed with the greens, hint at a change of seasons.
Thank you for your interest in my art. I hope you like Tall Grasses on the Salt Marsh. If you feel so inclined, I’d love to hear from you either through my website or through Facebook. Thanks, too, for reading my journal.