Just over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston off of Coleman Blvd. take a right turn onto Shrimp Boat Lane and you’ve arrived at one of the gems of Mount Pleasant, Shem Creek! There is a long boardwalk, starting at the waterfront businesses, which goes almost all the way out to where the creek empties into the sea. Looking back at the waterfront one is struck by the majestic shrimp boats with their rigging rising up to the sky.
Shrimpers are a dying breed, but these remaining shrimp boats have weathered many a storm and the shrimpers continue to work the seas on a daily basis. When docked they call Shem Creek home. The sunlight dances off the colorful boats and creates constant creative reflections in the water.
Square and rectangular shapes of windows, angular metal rigging and rooftops, all dominate the complex picture but somehow the scene remains serene. There is a stillness to the moment even though Shem Creek is always full of life.
I started out very loose and used bigger brushes than usual, not wanting to get mired down in detail work. I wanted the first impression to be one of an Impressionist painting with elements of Abstraction.
In the end, the rigging is fairly intricate but not exact. I didn’t want the rigging to be sloppy against the sky, which would have been the easy thing to do. Instead I painted in just enough detail to be representational.
The lighthouse in the center right of the painting was one of the main reasons I chose this particular image of Shem Creek to paint. It rises above the other buildings and stands as a landmark and beacon for incoming boats.
Shem Creek will be a frequent subject of mine over the years. I find it offers all of the elements I need in order to become inspired.
I hope you like Shem Creek Waterfront. I’m grateful that moving to Charleston has reinvigorated my interest in my maritime art.
Thank you for reading my journal and for following my art. I’m not sure what will be on the easel next. Perhaps another marsh painting of the Lowcountry???