Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Small North Florida Waterscape Painting--Matanzas River Scene

     This small painting of a view across the Matanzas River from a public beach near St. Augustine, Florida, is not quite finished. However, I decided to show you the present (nearly completed) version today. Life has been full lately, and it's hard to say just when there will be time to make the remaining adjustments I have in mind.

     The acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas piece is 12" wide and just 6" tall, in a kind of panoramic format. One of my reference photos appears in a post from more than two years ago when my husband and I enjoyed an outing to this area and nearby Crescent Beach. You can see photos from that day and read an account of it here. The Matanzas River is tidal, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean near this beach through the Matanzas Inlet (out of sight to your left as you view the scene).
     When ready, the painting will be a gift for a friend who once lived on a boat in this area. I wanted to get her perspective on how well I have captured the feel of the sand, water, vegetation, etc., so showed it to her recently. It was gratifying to get her stamp of approval on my interpretation of this lovely spot. She mentioned the distinctive, slightly pinkish sand and other aspects of the scene she knows so well and felt that this little painting captured the right tones and feel. That was a good feeling, especially since it is for her :>) .

     At first, this piece was intended as both a stand-alone work and a possible preliminary study for a larger painting, but for now, I'm happy with this version and do not expect to paint another. It's time to move on (whenever I manage to reserve painting time again) and to begin a different coastal North Florida landscape.

Question of the day: When you see--or create--a painting of a familiar scene, do you prefer to see it fairly realistically portrayed, or do you enjoy visual interpretations that "bend" what's there for an artistic purpose?


  1. The painting is indeed beautiful and I am sure your friend will so love and appreciate this gift. I always wanted to live on a boat but never have been able to swing it (of course). Not sure what all that surrounding water would do to the things that do matter to me, such as photos, books, and art.

    If you had asked me this question 4 or 5 years ago, I know I would have said "realistically portrayed." Now? Maybe not so much. As long as a painting isn't bent into an abstract work, I do love seeing how a place or even still life can come alive in the artist's hands. It lends an insight into their personality which I adore seeing.

  2. Thank you, Sherry. I think you are correct in thinking that living on a boat might not be compatible with (at least) large numbers of books, photos, and art pieces--unless you can swing a royal yacht ! LOL.

    I enjoyed hearing your thoughtful reflections on alternatives to absolute realism. In my work, I "alter" and "adjust" the look of a place as needed to reflect the feelings it awakens in me. The result often looks like realism, but is changed in ways small and larger, from lighting to light/dark contrast, to eliminating or adding elements such as bushes or trees to enhance a composition. On the other hand, it doesn't usually work for me to "make it up" as well as to begin with an actual natural place that interests or moves me in some way. Thank you much, as always, for sharing your thoughts and insights.