Friday, April 11, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Spoons"

Spoons
Mark Nesmith
Oil on oil primed linen panel
5" x 7"
2014
Click here to purchase this painting.

I'm not a really a bird watcher, but if you spend enough time around the coast you can't help but notice the abundance and variety of winged creatures hanging around.  These two Roseate Spoonbills recently caught my eye near the Bolivar Lighthouse just before the ferry to Galveston.


There are several wildlife preserves and bird sanctuaries on or near the Bolivar Peninsula, so each year thousands of birds stop off at the beach.  Spoonbills wade in the shallow coastal waters and tidal pools, swinging their bills side to side and sifting through the mud to feast on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and small fish.  Their vivid colors are a result of their diet and can range from pale pinks to bright reds and magentas and makes for great contrast against the green weeds and salt grass. 


This small oil painting started as a pencil sketch.  I then laid in the darker values on the birds and the background.  The reflections and ripples in the water proved to be lots of fun to paint and I saved some of the juiciest brush strokes the foreground.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Yellow Feet"

Yellow Feet
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

People often associate the beach with sunshine and surf, but it's also a fantastic place to get a little closer with nature.  The Bolivar Peninsula is home to many bird sanctuaries including my often cited favorite beach, Bolivar Flats, but just about any stretch of the coast along the Gulf of Mexico can be a great place for watching our winged friends.

From the mundane seagull to spoonbills, pelicans, and egrets, there are thousands upon thousands of birds that make an annual stop off along the Texas coast. 

Here a white egret enjoys wading in one of the many tidal pools that crop up every day with the tide.  The curvaceous neck gives most egrets a graceful appearance akin to swans, but it was the vibrant yellow highlights along this bird's feet and eyes that caught my attention.  On an otherwise overcast day, those flashes of yellow just seemed to pop out of nowhere.

It can be a challenge to keep interest in the white areas of a painting.  Here I alternating tints of light blue on the left side of the bird with warmer, yellow and greenish tints on the right.  Placing the bird against the muted earth tones of the background created a strong contrast that really helped the whites pop.



Saturday, April 5, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Dusk on the Dunes"

Dusk on the Dunes
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

It's been a hectic week in the classroom with STAAR testing going on, so I needed a little vacation.  No days off left to use so I had to settle for the next best thing...I painted myself a day at the beach.

Growing up in Beaumont, TX the beach was just a short drive away.  My family and I often visited Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Penninsula and crossed the ferry to Galveston. Over the fifteen years or so that I lived in or near Dallas, trips to the coast became less and less frequent.  Since moving back to SE Texas after my divorce I've made it a point to visit the coast as often as I can.

I've posted many paintings of Bolivar Flats, one of my favorite stretches of beach.  It's a birding area and less frequented by the tourist trade.  It sits just a short distance before the ferry landing to Galveston so lots of people miss it in their rush to make it to the island. 

Bolivar Flats is a beautiful, open stretch of beach with lots of dunes and vegetation. Turn to your right and you can see Galveston in the distance.  Turn to the left and you can get a glimpse of some of the homes along Crystal Beach, but look towards the Gulf and it's easy to imagine yourself completely alone in a remote, un-spoiled part of the world. 

Here I've painted the beach late in the day when the last rays of light start to slip away at dusk.  During my week of standardized testing, this serene scene helped me keep my sanity!

Friday, April 4, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Push and Shove"




Push and Shove
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting


One of my current favorite spots is the deck at the Down Under Restaurant at Crystal Beach.  It sits on the canal side giving an up close view of the steady stream of tugs pushing barges along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.  It's always interesting to see these mighty little ships pushing barges the length of a football field.

This is usually a common sight, although lately it was more like a parking lot while they were cleaning up the oil spill after the recent collision that left a barge partially submerged.  Hopefully they contained and cleaned up the spill quick enough and there won't be any major long term damage.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New daily oil painting "Bolivar Afternoon"

Bolivar Afternoon
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.



I've been spending a lot of time at Crystal Beach. My girlfriend started managing a restaurant there and I've played a few acoustic shows there too. The coast has always called to me, and getting to spend more time there has been very inspirational to me.

In the past few weeks I've completed and sold several small paintings of the marina area, and just finished a 12" x 24" painting of some of the beach houses nearby.

News has been spreading of the barge accident this past weekend that spilled oil into the bay and has shut down part of the ship Chanel and even the ferry service to Galveston. One of the biggest concerns is the nearby habitats frequented by tens of thousands of migratory birds. This is the time of year when they usually start flocking here. Crews have been working non-stop trying to contain and clean up the spill. Hopefully there won't be too much long term damage to the area, although I'm sure local fisherman and the shipping industry are already feeling a few pains about the situation.

This 8" x 10" painting is of  a stretch of beach called Bolivar Flats. It's just before the ferry landing on Hwy 87. It's one of my favorite local beaches. It's a birding area and less frequented by people so it's expansive beach front is usually less cluttered. I often paint the view along the beach looking towards Galveston, but today I favored the simple straight on view if the Gulf.

There's something that stirs inside me when I look out over the water towards the distant horizon. It's like standing at the edge if the world. I can imagine how sailors all those years ago might have thought the world was flat and comes to an abrupt end out there in the distance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Daily Painting "Against the Tide"




Against the Tide
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
5" x 7"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

The weather hasn't exactly felt like Spring around here lately, but that hasn't kept me away from the beach.  The Texas Gulf Coast is only about 45 minutes away, and just a bit farther down the highway is one of my favorite beaches, Bolivar Flats.


Bolivar Flats is right before the ferry landing to Galveston.  It's a favorite of bird watchers, but being so close to Galveston and farther down from Crystal, most of the tourists don't frequent the flats.  I like that because there's often hardly anyone else around.


Here's a row of pylons heading out in the ocean.  I've always loved the look of these posts being reclaimed by the ocean.  It's the beach equivalent of my favorite pine trees.  I've drawn and painted similar scenes quite often.  Eventually I'll settle on a composition and make a larger painting.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Waiting for Lunch"



Waiting for Lunch
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Oil Primed Linen Panel
7" x 5"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.


Sunday I was out at a Crystal Beach helping out a bit at the Down Under Bar. It was a chilly and overcast day, but regardless of the weather I always enjoy spending the day at the coast. When I wasn't working I passed my time walking around the marina and enjoying the sights and sounds.

I had just walked outside and was planning to take a few pictures of a nearby fishing boat when these two Pelicans came flying in. It's amazing how graceful these big, awkward looking birds can be as they glide just inches above the water looking for their next meal.

After making a pass and coming up with empty mouths they flapped their wings and perched on the posts right in front of me. There were several people who quickly whipped out their phones to snap a few pictures. The birds seemed happy to oblige and sat there long enough for me to take a dozen pictures from different vantage points. 

This 5" x 7" oil painting is a combination of a couple of the better photos, and I edited out the cars parked in the background. I believe I could happily paint the gulf coast beaches and marinas everyday and never grow tired of the endless variety.