Evening Light, Edisto

Evening Light, Edisto

“Evening Light, Edisto”, oil, 12 x 16”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Evening Light, Edisto”, oil, 12 x 16”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

The SC Sea Islands are magical!

Just imagine broad wide open marshes flickering with reflected light from a myriad of tiny creeks running through them. Skies so wide open you can watch storms roll in from miles away.

And then there are the hundreds of live oak and moss covered back roads looping around those marshes, opening out to fields full of rich produce.

I’m heading out next week to paint plein air on one of the most beautiful of the Sea Islands, Edisto, just south of Charleston. This paradise has changed very little over the last 50 years, escaping much of the over-development of other coastal areas.

I grew up spending my summers on “The Island” and really look forward to sharing one of my favorite places on earth with other painters.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of next week’s paintings with y’all too!

You can find more paintings of Edisto Island here.

Below the Corn

Below the Corn

“Below the Corn”, oil, 4 x 6″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Below the Corn”, oil, 4 x 6″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

It’s an odd feeling to drive a narrow road between two cornfields with the sea of green stalks rising up over you. Almost overnight the corn in the fields is taller than the car, almost taller than me.

The line of trees in the distance rises up out of the corn, but looks like it’s lifting itself up to clear the stalks.

$235 (unframed) + $10 shipping and handling in the Continental US

Backroad in Sun and Shadow

Backroad in Sun and Shadow

"Backroad in Sun and Shadow", oil, 6 x 4", © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Backroad in Sun and Shadow”, oil, 6 x 4″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

There’s something magical about summer, whether it’s the longer days, rich greens, trips to the beach, or the smell after a thunderstorm.

The lightning bugs have been plentiful this year, whizzing around the yard at dusk, dancing little lights.

One of my favorite detours this time of year is a narrow little country backroad in Lower Richland. Right now it’s  a deep green tunnel full of intervals of light and shadow.

And then, just before the bend in the road, at the section where trees have been cut over on the right, there’s a sudden flood of light across the road and a small vista opens up.

I hope you’re having plenty of time this summer to enjoy the lightning bugs, or fireflies as they’re called elsewhere!

 

Heathwood, Spring Morning

Heathwood, Spring Morning

“Heathwood, Spring Morning”, oil, 8 x 10”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Heathwood, Spring Morning”, oil, 8 x 10”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Early morning spring light looking out over the fields surrounding Heathwood Hall.

Thoreau said, “One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have leisure and opportunity to see the spring come in.”

One of the joys of painting outside from observation is seeing the seasons change, and in this case, seeing it explode before our eyes as the week went on.

Soft greens in the trees show the new leaf buds getting ready to pop. There was a slight haze as the sun was still pretty low on the horizon and we were facing almost east. It softened the distant woods but left the nearer grasses and fence line more vibrant and crisp.

 

 

$750 (unframed) + $20 shipping and handling

Heathwood Fields, Early Morning

Heathwood Fields, Early Morning

“Heathwood Fields, Early Morning”, oil, 6 x 8”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Heathwood Fields, Early Morning”, oil, 6 x 8”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

I’ve spent the week painting with a group of Heathwood Hall high school students this week, pure pleasure!

We focused on painting the landscape outside with a painting in the morning, turn the easel at lunch, and a painting in the afternoon.

It was wonderful working with fellow artists Scotty Peek, Brian Rego, and Dylan Critchfield-Sales. But I loved seeing the students explore their campus in a new way.

Heathwood sits just outside the city in the midst of huge fields edge by pine woods running down to the Congaree River. So picturesque views abound, but we also painted the quirky corners of the campus.

When you paint the world around you, you get to know it in a new and intimate way.

Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Painting definitely gives “new eyes”.

Fall, Afternoon Light

Fall, Afternoon Light

"Fall, Afternoon Light", oil, 9 x 12", © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Fall, Afternoon Light”, oil, 9 x 12″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

 

I painted this standing in the field back in November when the fall color on the leaves was at it’s peak.

It’s as if the natural world goes into color overdrive in preparation for the winter’s rest. It was a warm day with lots of changes in the cloud patterns and light.

A late afternoon shower blew in and brought the plein air part of the process to a quick close, so I had to finish up in the studio.

We’re in late winter (for South Carolina) now and there are starting to be subtle hints of spring. These transitional seasons appeal to me so much more than the more extreme – winter and summer.

Watching the patterns of light and color of a place as the seasons and weather change and shift is fascinates me. It’s like seeing a slow motion film or painting over time

I’m curious… is there a season or time of year that’s more beautiful to you, that seems to speak to your soul more? How would you describe that?