Lowcountry Evening Light ~ Low Horizons Lead to Big Skies!

In my latest painting, entitled Lowcountry Evening Light, I set out to capture the elements I find captivating when experiencing the beautiful marshland along the South Carolina coast. With very little vegetation other than tall bladed spartina grass, marshes create a flat horizon line, often leading to an expansive view of up to 180 degrees. This simple landscape characteristic leads to big skies, often dramatic at that!

    Lowcountry Evening Light    by William R. Beebe, 30 x 40, Oil on canvas, $5000

Lowcountry Evening Light by William R. Beebe, 30 x 40, Oil on canvas, $5000

I’ve become increasingly interested in studying cloud formations and the effect time of day has on them. This interest has developed from becoming more familiar with the Lowcountry marshes. I love the expansive nature of marsh scenes and the endless possible combinations of cloud formations and ever changing tidal marshes.

Lowcountry Evening Light has the sun descending behind a band of dark clouds. The sun remains strong, casting rays of light over the marsh and up into the sky. The clouds closest to the sun have strong highlights along the upper edges. Clouds lighter in color are the consequence of more direct sunlight (not backlit).

Ironically, this tranquil scene was started before Hurricane Florence and finished just after it. The Lowcountry was in severe danger of bad flooding. This time we lucked out and the storm turned inland instead of down the coast. Sadly, North Carolina was hit hard. We are keeping the victims of the storm in our prayers.

Thank you as always for your interest in my art and for reading my journal. Please check back soon to see what’s next on the easel!


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What’s next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What’s next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

Shem Creek Waterfront ~ Mount Pleasant’s connection to the sea!  

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. 

    Shem Creek Waterfront    by William R. Beebe, 24 x 24, Oil on canvas, $5200

Shem Creek Waterfront by William R. Beebe, 24 x 24, Oil on canvas, $5200

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.  

   Shem Creek Waterfront   by William R. Beebe, boat detail

Shem Creek Waterfront by William R. Beebe, boat detail

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???  


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

Next Stop Aaron’s Deli ~ Charleston Americana! 

As I walked toward the colorful and historic buildings along Meeting Street in downtown Charleston, SC, I noticed there was a line out the door and up the street waiting to get into Hyman’s Seafood and Aaron’s Deli. A white sign in the window read, Rated Best Seafood in the Southeast!  I started taking pictures of the entire row of storefronts in the old wholesale district of Charleston.  

    Next Stop Aaron's Deli    by William R. Beebe, 20 x 20, Oil on canvas, $3800

Next Stop Aaron's Deli by William R. Beebe, 20 x 20, Oil on canvas, $3800

After a little research I discovered that Aaron’s Deli and Hyman’s Seafood are owned by the same family, Eli and Aaron Hyman, and have been in the restaurant business since 1986. From 1890 to 1986 the family was in the wholesale dry goods business.  

My particular focus for my painting Next Stop Aaron’s Deli is the Aaron’s Deli side of the business, along with the Charleston Visitor Information building on the left. The two storefronts with their signage, colorful historic architecture, and flags flying gave me the feeling I was in small town USA. 

   Next Stop     Aaron's Deli   by William R. Beebe (detail shot)

Next Stop Aaron's Deli by William R. Beebe (detail shot)

I am struck by how Charleston has managed to keep much of its historic integrity as its grown into one of America’s most popular cities. I love the fact that there are many old storefronts like this with boutique businesses, art galleries, and restaurants all thriving.  

Having just finished the painting I thought it would be fun to walk inside the world I just painted! I parked just down the street and walked right up to the vantage point in my painting. Of course, I stopped at the stop sign and took it all in. It was another nice sunny day with the flags flying, but this time I was on the early side and there was no waiting line.  Next stop, Aaron’s Deli!  ☺

A lady greeted me at the door and asked me if I’d like to sit at the bar or at a table. I chose a table at which point she thought for a minute and then told me to tell the server at the top of the stairs Table 521.  

The walls were all covered in pine, with photographs of celebrities, musicians, politicians, athletes and coaches, and other notables who have dined there.  

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The server showed me to my table and as I sat down I noticed a brass plaque stating that Dr. Ruth ate here! Earth Wind and Fire also ate at my table! ;-)

Since Hyman’s Seafood and Aaron’s Deli share the two buildings, one is free to order off of either menu. Since I painted Aaron’s Deli I decided to order from the deli menu. I like to test new delis by always ordering a Rueben as my first meal. I started with a cup of Gumbo, which was very good! Aaron’s Rueben (pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing on fresh marble rye) was just what I had hoped for! A side of hushpuppies was complimentary on top of the hand cut fries I had ordered.
  
I left pleasantly stuffed and happy to know that when I look at my painting I can relate even more with the imagery. The exterior 1800’s architecture is now complimented by knowing that the restaurant is family owned and operated.  The interior has its own retro charm. Their house rule #1 is the customer is always right. They donate over $200,000 a year to local and national charities. 

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The painting is realistic in the sense that most of the detail is painted as it is in reality. I used touches of Impressionism to soften the piece and make it more painterly. I had originally intended to make it an Impressionist piece, but then decided the details are what makes this image interesting.  

 I hope that Next Stop Aaron’s Deli reminds you of the many small towns across America and gives you a sense of nostalgia. Small town America is still alive in Charleston. It is a wonderful city to experience.
 
Thank you as always for your interest in my art and for reading my journal! Please check back soon to see what’s next on the easel.  


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe

Sundown on the Marsh ~ mixing up the palette!

I recently painted a marsh scene on a bright sunny day, with a blue sky and blue reflections in the water. That time of day provided strong reflections and contrast between the white cumulus clouds and the blue sky.  A collector, who liked the painting, said “can you paint me a similar marsh scene but late in the day?”  

The setting sun disappears beyond the horizon, but its rays still light up the sky and casts a glow over the marsh.  Sundown on the Marsh is that moment when day transitions into night. It’s a quiet reflective moment, where the winding waterways lead one off into the distance, pondering what tomorrow will bring.  

    Sundown on the Marsh    by William R. Beebe, 14 x 11, Oil on board, SOLD

Sundown on the Marsh by William R. Beebe, 14 x 11, Oil on board, SOLD

I used a transparent red-oxide paint as an undercoating for most of the green areas. Letting the undercoat show through in areas created an appearance of warmth from the setting sun touching the tops of the tree line and the tall marsh grasses.  

Darkening clouds, with just a little bit of slate-blue sky helped to create the overall darkness cast over the marsh grasses. Naples yellow light and white were mixed to create the yellowish glow in the sky, resulting from the remaining rays of light from the setting sun.  

This painting was about creating a mood. Even though the sky is dramatic it is not stormy or brooding. The vibrant summer green grasses are dulled by the loss of light, with touches of stronger color in the center of the painting as the grasses recede closer to the sun.  

I enjoyed this opportunity to paint my clients vision. Sundown on the Marsh is a scene I’ve wanted to paint. I’m enjoying painting marsh scenes very much, and will be constantly on the lookout for Lowcountry marsh scenes to paint in the future.  

Thank you for reading my journal and for your interest in my art. I am now on Instagram so if you’re not on Facebook but would like to follow what I’m up to, I post pics on a regular basis of what I’m working on. 

I’m finishing up another downtown Charleston painting and will be posting that in the near future and writing a blog about it in the next week or so. Thanks again y’all!  ☺


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
 What's next?  Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe