Finding the Light in Sea Pines

Visiting Hilton Head Island is always a treat and I am amazed at how varied the colors and lighting are during the different times of year. I have been painting en plein air and have found many motifs and familiar locations for inspiration. The challenge of painting outdoors allows close observation of nature’s light and colors, yet requires speed and memory to capture fleeting conditions. I especially enjoy walking to the beach for almost every sunrise. Sometimes I have been taking photos, walking my dog and quietly absorbing the atmosphere and the beauty of God’s creation. And other times I carried my easel and paints to try to capture the early awakening along with my feelings and emotions. Each day we are greeted with a new beginning, a varied sunrise with a new mixture of colors, scent and feelings. Within moments, something changes but it is always A Lasting Impression.

“Light is the most important person in the picture.”

Claude Monet
Saturday Sunrise (11×14) oil on board
Wednesday Sunrise (11×14) oil on canvas
Sunday Sunrise (11×14) oil on board

Tuesday Sunset (8×10) oil on board
Afternoon Waves with Sanderlings (8×10) oil on board
Monday Sunrise (8×10) oil on board

I love to ride my bike around Sea Pines with the miles of nicely paved trails. You are able to visit Harbor Town, South Beach, Lawton Stables, the Forest Preserve and the beach while enjoying plenty of fresh air and sunshine. I recently discover the Legacy Oaks Program of Sea Pines. The purpose of this program is to celebrate, protect and preserve these special Live Oak trees, individually and collectively so that those who live and visit here will have a better appreciation and understanding of their importance. These oaks have massive spreading branches reaching as much as 130’ in diameter. Unlike other trees, the branch spread exceeds the height. They are 45 to 90 feet high, with trunks from 28 to 80 inches in diameter and range in age from 100 to 360 years old.

While biking or walking in Sea Pines you will also notice many inland lagoons. They are home to a variety of birds, turtles and alligators. It is very common to see and enjoy this habitat at a safe distance. By my home location, there is one lagoon that runs along the back separating our yard from the 18th green of a golf course. There is also a lagoon on my short walk to the beach which we cross with a foot bridge. I was inspired to paint both of these locations as they are very familiar to me and part of ones daily routine while staying here.

Afternoon Light (14×18) oil on canvas
Morning Light (14×18) oil on canvas

A visit in Sea Pines also includes a visit to the iconic Harbor Town Light House. Built in 1970, this red and white candy striped structure rises 93 feet above the Calibogue Sound and frames the 18th hole of the Harbor Town Golf Links. The marina was designed from inspirations of over a dozen small, enclosed harbors in southern France and Italy. Then taking the best features of them all, Charles Fraiser (the developer), created a Southern version of Portofino, Italy. Also part of his development vision was maintaining the largest of the old oak trees. The great oak known as “Liberty Oak”, was preserved and juts into the almost circular marina. I spent time one morning figuring out a good spot to try my hand at a painting which includes the morning light, the light house and the Liberty Oak.

Harbor Town Morning (14×18) oil on canvas

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