Sea of Grass

Day 10 & 11:  Art Every Day Month

I was struck by this view several years ago on Pawley’s Island. The contrast of the tall pines reaching upwards and the lateral movement of the swaying grass caught me whether I looked up or side to side.  I knew I wanted to paint it and also knew it would be a challenge.  With so much going on, it was too easy to look all over the place rather than focus on any one thing.


I began by preparing a large piece of mat board with several coats of gesso to give it some tooth.  Then to keep from building up the layers too quickly, I laid down the underpainting with a pastel wash, a small amount of pigment sprayed with water and pushed around.  Then I put all the pieces in their place; the trees, the water, the buildings, the clouds, and of course, the grass.  And as I had feared, it was a vague sea of grass with a little something going on in the background.


For the past two days, I’ve re-worked nearly every part of the painting.  I added more contrast to the main billow of cloud and deepened the color of the trees, adding more moss to them.  I brightened my horizon line, the buildings and boat, to give the viewer something to look at beyond the grass.  And most importantly, I tried to give the grass a purpose in the painting; to point their “grassy” fingers toward the docks, the trees, and the clouds overhead.

Sea of Grass

“Sea of Grass”

Pastel on Gessoed Mat Board – 32″x25″