Friday, April 11, 2014

New Daily Oil Painting "Spoons"

Mark Nesmith
Oil on oil primed linen panel
5" x 7"
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"

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"

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"

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.