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.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Stingaree" A Painting in Progress



Stingaree
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"
2014


This is my first ever painting of a boat. I spent a lot of time out at Crystal Beach this past weekend. I played an acoustic show at the Down Under Bar Friday evening, lucked into a beach cabin for the night, then went back to the restaurant on Sunday to help out. I've done lots of paintings of the beach over the years, but never of the marina area. This sailboat belongs to the owner of the Stingaree Restaurant and is docked out back. I didn't really think about how complicated this little painting would be. It was quite a challenge but I had a lot of fun painting it! I'm planning to do a few more paintings of the boats and marina area there.

I took a few pictures of my progress while painting "Stingaree." I started with a pretty accurate pencil sketch then laid in the darker areas of the boat and foreground water before painting the background and sky.  I worked through the different light tints for the boat and the lettering on the back, then added the sails and rigging.  I finished with some brighter, warm highlights on the top and edges of the boat. 

All in all I'm pretty pleased with this little boat.  I think I managed to convey a sense of the atmosphere and feeling of the marina, and have a pretty good mix of details and looser brush work that belies the small size of the canvas.













Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "The Old and Lost"

The Old and Lost
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
12" x 16"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.


I commute about 50 miles to the school where I teach art in Baytown. The drive would be a best if it weren't for the incredible sunrises and beautiful scenery. One of my favorite stretches is the long bridge that crosses The Old and Lost River. It's essentially an old branch of the Trinity River that's now a swamp like slough.

I've always loved the rhythms of the tall reeds and aquatic plants that border the side of the bridge and blanket the small islands that dot the waterway. On this particular morning a front was moving in. The sky was filled with a blanket of blue and purple hued clouds with the sun casting it's radiant glow just above the horizon.

I started this painting late Thursday afternoon, then managed a few minutes working on it during lunch on Friday. I had most of the sky laid in when I had to leave to make it to my music gig Friday after school. I didn't get back to it until today. I favored a flat bristle brush on this painting and tried to minimize unnecessary detail in favor of a lively surface and brushwork to capture the incredible movement and energy I felt that morning.