Low country time....and Girl Scouts

Two weeks ago, I was back in Beaufort, SC for the first time since my 3 month stay there last winter.  It felt good to be back in the Low Country.  We were camping out on Hunting Island - a South Carolina State Park on the coast.  It is a dog friendly park and dogs are welcome on the beach.  Since we travel with two dogs, we really appreciate dog friendly areas.  

Our first morning, the dogs and I were out on the beach at sunrise.  We repeated this each of the 4 mornings we were there.  The tide was low at sunrise and there were long stretches of sand to walk on.  And at sunrise, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. 

Hunting Island Sunrise

Immediately following my beach walk that first morning - and before breakast! - we left our campsite and headed for a marsh scene I spotted the night before.  I had my paints with me.  It's been a really long time since I've painted outside and I was really looking forward to it. Well... best laid plans, as they say.  I got outside of the van with my paints and was immediately swarmed by tiny no-see-ums.  Ugh!! I grabbed my paints and took refuge inside the van.  I didn't let the bugs stop me from painting, though.  I set up in the passenger seat and painted in my lap, looking out through a bug smeared windshield.  The first photo below is of that bug smeared windshield and the second photo is of my painting.  It wasn't nearly as difficult to paint from the passenger seat as I imagined it might be.  The van has a center console that was perfect for holding my water container (I was using water-mixable oils).  My brushes lay nicely on the dashboard.  And my painting box sat in my lap.  About an hour after the bugs chased me inside, my painting was finished and it was finally time for breakfast.  And only 9:15 in the morning! Wonderful way to begin a day.

Bug Smeared Windshield View of the Low Country Marsh

Spring Sunrise on the Marsh
6" x 8" - oil on paper 

Earlier this week - after returning to the mountains - I was “the guest artist” at a Girl Scout meeting.  The Scouts were about to earn their painting badges.  I talked to them about my life as an artist and showed them some of my paintings. I knew the girls were going to be young, but for some reason, I thought they were going to be about 7-10 years old.  To my surprise, the girls were more in the 6-7 year old range. They seemed so young!!  But….they were very attentive and one of them even told me that I am a “good drawer”.  After my talk, the girls painted.  Their leader set up 4 painting stations that the girls rotated through.  One was a mural that they all worked on, another was a still life of a stuffed horse and a ball, another was “paint the color that makes you feel calm” and the last was to paint with things from nature - sticks, leaves, rocks - use them as tools or make prints with them.  The girls had a blast.  We talked about mixing colors as they painted. And the option of not painting the color you see (the brown stuffed horse was an instigator of lots of color conversations since they had no brown to paint with!)  Pretty complicated topic that they had no trouble grasping.

This post is getting rather long.  I have several new paintings waiting to be shared with you, but I'll save them for another post.  Thanks so much for stopping by!



Ducky said…
What a 'treat' to be up so late or more early than late, I guess and find your sweet post Susan. Love the 'low marsh' through your eyes (bugs and all though not a fan either).

How interesting to work with young children. Their perspective on things always thrills and excites me, so pure and untarnished by maturity yes..?

love n hugs
Kelly Melang said…
Great post, it's always to best laid plans falling to the wayside that make the best stories! Looking forward to seeing your paintings!
Susan Garriques said…
Thanks for the kind words. We are on the first night of another road trip. This time heading for Assateague Island. Looking forward to seeing the wild ponies! With luck, I'll come home with lots of reference sketches and photos. And more stories.