Red Cedar, Dunes

Red Cedar, Dunes

“Red Cedar, Dunes” oil on panel, 6 x 6”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Red Cedar, Dunes” oil on panel, 6 x 6”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Red cedars standing strong deep in the dunes.

Cedars are one of the few trees/shrubs that thrive directly on the beach.

And one of the things that lets them thrive is their resilience.

They bend and shape themselves to the flow of the wind, each becoming a unique sculpture.

A standing sentinel on the beach.

St. Helena Sound, Storm Clouds

St. Helena Sound, Storm Clouds

“ St. Helena Sound, Storm Clouds”, oil, 5 x 5”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“ St. Helena Sound, Storm Clouds”, oil, 5 x 5”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

Even a cloudy day is interesting over St. Helena Sound. A silvery grey day with scudding clouds and soft light.

Spending a week painting on Edisto Island. Lots of changing light and the occasional early morning visitor.

Rice Fields, Storm Clouds

Rice Fields, Storm Clouds

| Rice Fields, Storm Clouds | oil on panel, 5 x 5”

| Rice Fields, Storm Clouds | oil on panel, 5 x 5”

 

I’ve been preoccupied with all that goes along with splitting my time now between Savannah, GA and Columbia, SC. Not sure why I thought that was going to be easy!

Can you relate?

But I’ve still been doing a lot of plein air work as the summer has moved into fall. Painting is one of the best ways to explore a new space and place.

And have become totally obsessed with the old rice fields of the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. It’s a beautiful, magical, haunted place.

The Savannah Wildlife Refuge. Old rice fields.

The Savannah Wildlife Refuge. Old rice fields.

Long narrow fields separated by trunks that allow the water to flow with the rise and fall of the tides.

Dikes between the fields that become hidden by the lush summer growth.

And the big wide open sky. 

Anyone else get excited about fall skies!?! 

The Savannah Wildlife Refuge. Irrigation trunk..

The Savannah Wildlife Refuge. Irrigation trunk..

Summer Greens

Summer Greens

“Summer Greens”, oil, 6 x 6”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Summer Greens”, oil, 6 x 6”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

We’re deep in the midst of summer greens here in the Lowcountry!

I haven’t been able to paint outside for a month, the longest I’ve gone without it for ages.

But I headed out to paint this week with friends.

It was a gorgeous morning after almost a week of constant rain! (Note: the heavens opened up again almost as soon as I got into the car to leave.)

I definitely felt more myself being back outside working! I’m fascinated by all the scientific data out showing the impact being outside has on our health. Great article here from the Business Insider, of all places. I was really struck by this sentence: “Among office workers, even a view of nature out a window is associated with lower stress and higher job satisfaction.”

“Summer Greens” on the easel

“Summer Greens” on the easel

Certainly all of the greens in the park we were in gave us a chance to forest bathe. Have I convinced you to spend some time outside?

“Summer Greens” is part of the GREENS COLLECTION that will be released July 10th.

Tybee Afternoon Light

Tybee Afternoon Light

| TYBEE AFTERNOON LIGHT |
Oil on panel
5 x 7”

$325.00 (unframed) + $10.00 shipping

The south end of Tybee Island gives wide open views of the ocean in one direction, and a row of barrier islands in the other. I painted here on a beautiful warm spring afternoon, perfect painting weather.

 

The Scent of the Lowcountry

The Scent of the Lowcountry

The Scent of the Lowcountry

6 x 6″

Oil on panel 

I’ve always relaxed and let me breath out a notch when I get back to the Lowcountry and can smell that rich earthy aroma of the mud.

Everybody in my very large and extended family on the island said “puff mud” when I was growing up.

I didn’t hear “pluff” mud, the actual name, until I lived in Charleston in the 70s.

An “L” isn’t the only thing my family has dropped!

So puff mud, really pluff mud, is a very fine grained sediment that’s completely saturated with water.

It’s the mud along the edges of the creeks and rivers here. You can sink up to your hips in it if you don’t know where to step and it smells wonderful (or horrible if you don’t like it), like the memory of everything that’s lived in the marsh.

But if you hold the Lowcountry in your heart, it’s the smell of coming home.

From the Lowcountry Blues Collection

Collection Release Date: April 30th (VIP Preview for My Email List on April 29th)