I seem to have spent most of my sketching time painting around the perimeter of the salt marsh on James Island. When I’m sketching in the city there are no open views like this, so I guess the expanse of it was quite appealing — the great waves of dry marsh grass, scattered boats moving up and down with the tides, and of course the low-flying pelicans and herons.
Backman Seafood Company must have been quite a special spot back when the fresh shrimp was coming in off the boats, but there doesn’t seem to be much going on there these days. Off to the right of what I sketched is a boat belonging to the Backmans that was beached after Hurricane Hugo. The seafood shop is closed up tight and the pier seems abandoned. The only info I could find was an interesting article in the Post & Courier about the death of Thomas Backman Jr. in 2015. I’d love to hear more if anyone knows what happened to this place.
I liked Backman's pier so much that I went back a second time to paint. This time instead of driving right up to the pier I parked a little further back, so I could see the blue truck and the rusty tanks.
I painted twice at Crosby Seafood in South Carolina. The first sketch was in my sketchbook but I went back a second time because I loved all the complexity and calligraphic marks I would have the opportunity to make because of the rigging and nets. That stuff is so much fun to paint. Luckily the second time I painted was during high tide and the boats were higher up in the water.
The marsh grasses in the foreground were a challenge. I wasn’t really sure how to deal with them so I painted a series of washes using lots of lines and texture, and tried to keep it quite simple. It’s a difficult shape to deal with — a big rectangle with not much going on — but I tried to suggest the marsh grass and leave it be.