• Rob Reep

Painting Sand and Surf at Dauphin Island

I’m typing tonight’s post from my deck just 150 yards from the Gulf of Mexico’s waves crashing against the beach. It’s a beautiful evening here on the Island.

I finished three paintings yesterday, the last of which I honestly think may be my best yet of this trip. Everything I had done so far was balanced between land and water, so I went all in on an ocean scene. The colors turned out to be spot on. Right as I was finishing the piece, several pelicans decided to swoop down within my view, so I added them in. The above photo doesn’t do it justice. I’ll post another once I have it framed.

Today I took things a bit easier. I only finished one sketch late this afternoon. I did attempt to get out and do one this morning, but the vibe just wasn’t there. Sometimes that’s the way it is for me. Either my creative mood is off, although I can overcome that through force, or my vision just isn’t working a painting out from what I’m seeing at the time, a much more difficult problem for me to fight against.

In times like that I’ve found it best not to push it. I usually just need to take a step back and be patient. Otherwise I can become frustrated with myself and the lack of progress. That same frustration can boil over if I force a scene that I have no faith in whatsoever. Therefore it’s best to relax and attempt another painting at another time.

Last night I watched a movie I’ve seen at least four times, “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Without going into much detail and playing the spoiler role for those of you behind the times, it’s a golf story set in 1913. One line in it sticks out to me in times like this morning, when I’ve either failed at a painting or am having trouble finding a solid subject. In the film, Harry Vardon, arguably one of England’s greatest golf legends in history, writes in his book, “There are only two types of players. Those who keep their nerves in control and win championships, and those who do not.” I think painting is almost the exact same. Frustration, for me at least, leads to nothing but more frustration. I have to stay relaxed about the task at hand. Today that paid off.

I lugged my gear back down to the beach this afternoon with no clue as to what I would paint. Out of nowhere an idea of painting one of the dunes comes to my mind. The end result was a small 5x7 sketch that I’m very pleased with at the moment.

I have two more days amongst the sand and surf. Here’s to more ideas and sketches on the horizon.

Till next time,



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Warren, Arkansas 71671


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