The Black-crowned Night Herons of White Point Gardens ~ Graduating Class of 2018!  

Every hot and humid Charleston summer the live oaks in White Point Gardens become the nesting grounds for Black-crowned Night Herons. Some people know it as Battery Park but the official name is White Point Gardens. The Gardens are in the historic district of downtown Charleston just south of Broad on the southern tip of the peninsula. Every summer it is hoped that the night herons return. This summer was no exception!

Last summer was our first experience seeing the night herons enjoying the park. They were walking down the sidewalk, jumping up on park benches, and sleeping and resting on low hanging branches, where it was quite easy to get up close to them. They acted like they owned the place, seemingly unafraid of the public.  

They like to hang out around and on the military statues, on the cannons and piles of cannonballs, which were placed in the park after the Civil War. They nest in the very trees that the pirate Stede Bonnet and his men were hanged on! The place is said to be haunted but the night herons don’t seem to mind.  

Most of the summer the juveniles remain in their nest with the adults tending to them. You can hear the chatter back and forth and get glimpses of them up through the trees. But around Labor Day weekend the juveniles find their wings and can be spotted all around the park. 

I didn’t want this summer going by without checking out the Class of 2018. This season’s young ones didn’t disappoint. There are quite a few of them and they are becoming active. I took a number of photographs and thought I’d share some of them with you. 

Class Troublemaker!

Class Troublemaker!

Top of His Class!

Top of His Class!

Most Likely to Succeed!

Most Likely to Succeed!

Most Adventuresome!

Most Adventuresome!

Class President!

Class President!

Best Dressed!

Best Dressed!

Class Clown!

Class Clown!

Best Looking!

Best Looking!

Most Likely to Improve!

Most Likely to Improve!

Let’s hope they all fly off to lead healthy and productive lives. Soon they will return to White Point Gardens as adults and have nests of their own. Funny how time flies!  ☺  

Please check back soon to see what’s on my easel next. I’m thinking it might be another marsh painting???  


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.  

IMG_2897.jpg
IMG_2892.jpg
IMG_2895.jpg

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. 

IMG_2898.jpg

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

The Many Colors of Shem Creek ~ the Jewel of Mount Pleasant, SC!  

Shem Creek is a colorful place.  Most of my visits to Shem Creek are late in the day, when the sun has swung around to the west, lighting up the boats and creating strong, colorful reflections in the water. 

The Many Colors of Shem Creek    by William R. Beebe, 11 x 14, Oil on canvas, $3000

The Many Colors of Shem Creek by William R. Beebe, 11 x 14, Oil on canvas, $3000

It is a deep tidal creek in which shrimp, crabs, fish and shellfish thrive. For decades dozens of shrimp boats lined both sides of the harbor. Now only a few shrimp boats continue to work and dock creekside.  

The maritime painter in me loves to see the shrimp boats lining the docks. They represent a big part of the Lowcountry culture, and the remaining shrimpers are holding onto a tradition that is in danger of disappearing. What a shame that would be!

I’ve wanted to paint Shem Creek since the first day I saw it. I haven’t painted a maritime painting in quite awhile, so I thought my first one back should be of Shem Creek. The Jamie Lynn boat’s rigging was recently painted a fresh coat of red for the annual Blessing of the Fleet Parade this spring. 

In my painting, entitled The Many Colors of Shem Creek, the Jamie Lynn is hit by strong sunlight, casting a strong reflection in the water. The bright red rigging stands out against the darkening blue sky.  Geechie Girl is the green shrimp boat in the distance, along with Winds of Fortune of which you can only spot its orange-ish rigging rising up from behind the Jamie Lynn.  Several colorful sailboats line the docks to the right.  

Some of the background buildings also add color to the overall composition. A big part of Shem Creek are the businesses that line the docks. A number of them are restaurants, serving fresh local seafood. Geechie Seafood sells fresh shrimp right off the dock, as does Mount Pleasant Seafood. Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented from Coastal Expeditions. The dockside bars are very popular, providing the best views in town, attracting people from all around.  

In my painting, I worked to put in as much detail as I could, in order to record everything I saw that day. I didn’t want to leave anything out. 

What you don’t see in this painting are the Brown Pelicans flying by, the dolphins swimming back and forth, the kayakers paddling, or the motorboats continually arriving and departing. It is a happening place. 

Shem Creek is also one of the best birding locations around. I love to photograph the Brown Pelicans that follow the shrimp boats and the chartered fishing boats back to the dock with their catch. There are Kingfishers, Great White Egrets, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Snowy Egrets, White Ibis and other birds that frequent the marshlands around the boardwalk and docks.  

As you can tell, I love Shem Creek. I hope it shows through in my painting. I plan on painting many more scenes of Shem Creek over the years. Even though this 11” by 14” painting was time consuming I enjoyed every minute of it.  

Thank you as always for reading my journal and for your interest in my art! Please check back soon to read about 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

Lowcountry Heron ~ feeling at home with the Spanish-moss!

I was tracking the Great Blue Heron with my camera as it flew overhead, when it turned and decided to land in a huge tree adorned with Spanish-moss. It looked so at home standing on the branch surrounded by the, oddly enough, similar shaped and colored moss. This image always stuck with me and I finally decided to capture the moment on canvas. I call the finished painting Lowcountry Heron. 

Lowcountry Heron    by William R. Beebe, 11 x 14, Oil on canvas, $1800

Lowcountry Heron by William R. Beebe, 11 x 14, Oil on canvas, $1800

Spanish-moss is associated with the deep south, and now that we live in Charleston I’m sure it will become a more frequent subject in my paintings.  It is a flowering plant that grows in tropical and subtropical climates. Blue Herons often tend to rest in areas where they feel safe and somewhat camouflaged. So even though it was the first time I had sighted a Blue Heron surrounded by Spanish-moss, it was an obvious resting location for this beautiful bird.  

I hope this painting gives you a sense of place and solitude, which I felt while observing one of my favorite birds, the Great Blue Heron.  

As an aside, we had some fun when coming up with a title. Branch Manager, Spanish-moss division was a close second.  ☺  Out on a Limb, Spanish Heron, Blending In, and Cammo Bird were other ones that didn’t make the cut!  ☺

Thank you as always for reading my journal and for your interest in my art. Something Charleston is 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