July is World Watercolor Month, an art challenge started by Doodlewash to raise awareness of watercolor as an art medium. Unlike most art challenges, this one is a bit more realistic in that all you need to do is something. You don't have to complete a finished piece of art to post. Works in progress and even showing up to paint counts. Just make an effort to create art with watercolor and post with #worldwatercolormonth to participate. With that in mind, I started July with the goal of plein air painting on the beach at sunrise at least once a week in July.
Since July 1st was a Monday this year, sunrise found me still in the bed sleeping. Being out at dawn requires you to get up before the sun rises and get out of the house to be there in the darkness. The parks do not open until sunrise happens, so my sleepy self revised the goal to sunrise-ish and got the extra hour of sleep I needed.
15-20 minutes after first light is still an ok time to arrive to paint as I was out there before all the crowds arrive. Having the beach almost to myself helps me to take more risks painting than I usually would when people are around to glance at me.
There was a steady 15 - 20 mph wind coming off the Chesapeake Bay that never let up once. So, I set up my easel close to the ground with the legs partially submerged into the sand for stability. My bag was propped up in the opposite direction of the wind for added security. This setup worked quite well to keep everything stable. A bonus was being able to bury my water container into the sand.
I knelt on the sand while painting which, at first, seemed like a good idea until I stood up and realized that the wet sand stuck to me. I ended up looking like this on the way to the outdoor wash station.
I'm happy with the painting overall. I'm still figuring out the mystery of how to capture the sand dunes with watercolor in a way that matches the rest of my painting. Today, I'm going out to just practice sketching the sand dunes in my sketchbook with watercolor paints. The gray blobs on the side are my attempt at painting people in the distance as they walked on the beach.
Once I got home and put it in a frame, it looked much better. Everything always looks better gussied up with a frame.