Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Hushed" Oil Painting from the John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center

Hushed
Mark Nesmith
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
2014

Click here to purchase this painting.

I'm a sucker for the wetlands.  My whole life I've loved the look of the reeds and tall grasses swaying against the calm, shallow waters of a marsh.  From the salt marshes near the coast to the bogs in the Big Thicket or Caddo Lake, there's something about the rhythm of the grasses and trees against the calm reflections that entrances me every time.

The John Bunker Sands Wetlands Center near Crandall, TX uses aquatic plants to filter and purify water to be used in North Texas. They've built a wonderful set of boardwalks to let visitors walk out over the water, and it's become a haven for birds and other wildlife making it a popular spot for local birdwatchers.

When I lived in Seagoville I'd often go to the center and take photos and sketch.  There's a wonderful view of it from Hwy 175 as well.  I'd often sit and soak up the sunset there.  I think everyone loves the brilliant colors of a beautiful sunrise or sunset, and I certainly find myself painting those intense displays of fiery reds and yellows often, but one of my favorite times is twilight.

John Henry Twachtman, one of my favorite late nineteenth century American painters, was a master of the poetic, lyrical light found at dusk.  Here I've focused on the soft, subtle light found after the sun has dipped below the horizon.  The last rays of the day illuminate the still, shallow water of the wetlands bathing the world in soft pink, blue, and lavender tones.  The short, staccato rhythms of the grasses and their slight red and orange accents provide movement and contrast.

I actually started this 16" x 20" oil painting several years ago, but this past year I uncovered it in some of my boxes after moving back to Southeast Texas following my divorce.  It was a time when I needed some calm in my days and finishing this painting gave me some much needed relief from the stress I was feeling.  I hope it does the same for viewers today.

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