Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Color IS an Island Shore?

Grey. It looks like a simple grey. But wait. If you look closely, you'll see the dampness of sky blue. And some gentle brown of dry. And here and there is the color of a shore bird's cry and more, the sound of the rolling surf.

Those bits of shell have traveled far to land upon this sand. That driftwood could have come from Cuba. We'll need some hints of that. And that day, that day there was a breeze. Hm. What color is a breeze?

As Samuel Beckett said, "Nothing is more real than nothing."
Tactile exploration. Fragments reduced to silt. Space that seems unoccupied. Color where it looks like there may be none. Give me some time with this, and I'll find the heartbeat. What I choose from this small bit of shore is where you and I will meet. Me, with my response to a very specific time and place. You with what you've lived and what you see in paint. That's where the real will be.

I have an island to paint. So I am looking at it's shore.
Bits of broken shells and exotic fragments of wood captured in the sand. If I narrow my focus, limit myself, creativity expands. Today. Today, I am looking at the sand.


Words For Hire said...

Janice, I will never look at the shore in quite the same way again. Thank you.

wendikelly said...

Dang, I am going to have to jump over your bodygard to tell you how cool that was. Especially since I'm leaving for the shore on Saturday and am now going to be very tempted to do some abstract thing of beach sand.
Thanks....great post. Tell the Pen men to hurry so I can comment more often!

Janice C. Cartier said...

Karen-You are more than welcome.

Wendi-I cannot wait for the bodyguard to go. Thank you for making the effort. I am so glad you got something from this post. Sumptuous color in a constrained range that's what I am after here. It's like looking for the colors in a whisper.

Anonymous said...

Gray can be ANYTHING. Blues, reds, greens, purples, browns, yellows mixed up. It's such a versatile color to paint.

I might be going to the beach this weekend myself (but on Georgian Bay, on Lake Huron).

We don't have so much sand there...mostly pink/grey bedrock.

Makes for intersting rocky beaches, ranging from solid slabs of rock, huge boulders down to small pebbles, not quite sand grains.

It's still a novelty for me to swim in salt water. I"m so used to the Great Lakes.

- Friar

Janice C. Cartier said...

Friar- You and bear HAVE to take some photos if you go. I would love to see those textures. The sand in Bermuda is pink, at least in Horsehoe Bay. And the Sand of the Pacific Northwest is practically onyx from the glaciers when it is wet and the sky is cloudy. In Louisiana you are extremely hard pressed to find rocks. Rocks are a novelty. And they are usually river smooth, worn from so much time in the Mississippi River, Or the Pearl River ( named for the Pearls they used to find there) or the Achafalaya.. mostly you find shells or remnants of them and limestone.
brrr, I have only dipped a toe in the Great Lakes. Iwonder if they are as cold as the Roaring Fork in Aspen...

Anonymous said...


Not having any rock in Louisiana? Wow! That's so different.

We have solid granite bedrock EVERYWHERE in North Eastern Ontario. The Canadian Shield is everywhere.

As for the Great Lakes. Lake Erie is shallow and warm. And if you find a shallow bay in Lake Huron or Lake Superior after July, it's quite pleasant.

But generally, it's quite cool and warm swimming spots are more the exception and not the rule.

I was in Cape Hatteras in early May once with a buddy. The water was cool, but not that bad. No worse than what we swim in Ontario lakes in July. We swam for a good 45 minutes.

The beaches were deserted though. The few people we saw didn't go in the water, and said to us:

"Y'all must be from Canada, huh?"

- Friar

Janice C. Cartier said...

Not many rocks at all in the southern part. it's sediment and shells mostly, dirt too. I had to buy black stones for my garden ( very zen) . My grandfather probably rolled over in his grave about that one.
I just planned my wedding over at your blog.. sheehs you.

No, no, for any one else, not really happening...the Friar has a way of making everyone so comfortable at his place, that before you know it the party gets going and you just jump in.