From the Emerald Coast

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Pictured above is Governor Crist with his wife (left) and me at the “Hands Across the Sand” event on Pensacola Beach 6/26/2010.

Over 700 people joined hands on Pensacola Beach that day.

As the oil reaches our shores here in the Gulf South, our hearts are heavy. The Panhandle’s white sand is quickly cleaned up in the areas that have been effected, yet the reports say that the water though it appears clean, often is not. I had the opportunity to organize the second “Hands Across the Sand” event which took place last Sat., June 26, 2010. The first event took place in Feb. and was held only in the state of Florida. The event was instrumental in halting the drilling for oil off the Florida Coast. The 2nd event included over 600 cities across all 50 states, as well as over 30 countries with a total of over 900 cities! We are promoting the use of clean energy and we oppose drilling for oil off our coasts. The risks are too high. It is time we take seriously the exploration, development and use of clean energy and slowly yet sharply, reduce our dependance on oil.

I will be starting a new series entitled “The Emerald Coast” to help people visualize the incredible beauty we have here on Florida’s Panhandle.  It is a national treasure in my opinion…and must be preserved for the wildlife, ourselves and future generations. Once the sugar- white sand here is contaminated…which is happening more and more with each day the Deepwater Horizon continues to leak….it will be gone forever. There is no replacing it. The sand beneath the Gulf is of a different texture and color and the Island is small.

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Standing in waist deep water near Fort Pickens Pass, Pensacola Florida, Mid June 2010.

Happy 4th! Be safe and all the best to you and your loved ones,

Margaret

A Wednesday Afternoon

rocks, shell, water piece, mirror Mid week and all is well though it is hard to stay put in the studio when there is much to do to help save our Gulf from future disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon explosion. I joined the Emerald Coastkeepers not long before. This organization works to keep our area waters clean. I am so grateful to Chasidy Fisher Hobbs, Elizabeth McWilliams and Mike Papantonio for all they  do. I am on board and doing my best as well. The art I donated brought in close to $1000 for ECK and I am now in charge of organizing the Hands Across the Sand event to be held on Sat., June 26th. We will gather at the Pensacola Beach Pier at 11:00 and join hands for 15 minutes at 12 Noon. This is not a protest. It is about preserving our Gulf, our beaches and the estuaries where so much of the Gulf’s seafood is spawned. It is about preserving a way of life for millions of people. Please join us here on Pensacola Beach or in a city near you. We started as a statewide event in Florida back in Feb. and have now grown to include 16 other states! Please help us in our efforts to promote clean energy and ban offshore drilling. Our nation can do anything once we put our minds to it! Let us be a leader in preserving our beautiful planet. We can all help in our own small way. Ride bikes more, carpool, use less plastic, recycle, wear sweaters indoors in the winter and turn down the heat…use the AC less and good old fashioned fans more. Let’s simplify and help to preserve our planet for our children and future generations. Please visit these sites, www.emeraldcoastkeeper.org and www.handsacrossthesand.com. Join us in a  Hands Across the Sand event near you. If there is not one yet organized in your city, please consider organizing one yourself. It is not hard as the founder David Rauschkolb of Grayton Beach, FL has made it very easy. The time is now.

Pictured above are portions of two paintings I am currently working on. In the left foreground is the beginning of another in the “Schoolhouse Beach” series. It is a 48×24″ painting. The rocks of this painting take up approximately 70% of the piece. The lake will be in view beyond. The unfinished rocks towards the top are laid out in acrylic after an initial sketch. I then start what I most enjoy, the many layers of oil color that make the rocks come alive. I was lying down when I took the photo which is the inspiration for this particular piece. Most of the others in this series are drawn from vertical photographs I took standing with my toes just slightly out of view. The piece entitled “Rocky Shore” was also painted from this point of view. However I did change one color for “Rocky Shore”. I normally use the same six or seven colors, which is one of the reasons my work has a clear style though my subject matter varies. (within the realm of beach magic, of course) The palette includes a sap green (similar to a forest green) in five out of the six Schoolhouse Beach pieces, with the exception being “Rocky Shore”. In this painting I substituted the Sap Green for a Turquoise Green. My, how the entire palette changed! I find it fascinating how the substitution of one color can change a painting so very much. “Rocky Shore” can be viewed in the Print Section of my site.

In the background is a 48×60″ piece I have started of the surface of the Bay on a calm day. It will be similar in feel to “Water’s Calm” which sold last summer before I even had it displayed at the Pensacola Museum of Art Show. Additionally the collector bought it sight unseen… other than the photo on my site. It takes a lot out of me to compose these pieces. Funny I should say “compose”. Yet that is exactly what I am doing. My photograph is simply a starting point. Even at this early stage it would be hard for most to see which photo this piece is derived from. No matter, I try to paint the calm, the peace, the beauty that can be experienced in as common a gift as the water’s surface. The designs and color are all there. The water is very clean. I just bump up the contrast, add to the color, stylize a little then abstract just a touch and my “voice” is heard. I  listen to classical music when I paint. As I composed this piece I was listening to Handel’s “Water Music”. Fitting, I think and it is one of my favorites. Pachabel’s Canon is another.

On the stand to the right is a broken shell I found many years ago, stuck in some clay. I find broken shells to be just fascinating. The shape, the inside merging with the outside, all the colors that can be found in a white. As I find myself in middle age, I also think of them as analogies to the beauty that is a part of aging. I wonder what this shell once looked like in all her glory? She is faded now, and broken. Yet, she is wiser too. Experience will do that to a person, if that person chooses to learn. So far I love growing older. I am so happy now. I will paint this “Faded Beauty” on a 24×48″ canvas. She is a free spirit. As I often like to do, I will paint her to hang both vertically and horizontally.

For some reason I want to close with a poem I wrote about a month ago. My son says it is sad. I don’t think so. It is just an explanation of how I have learned to live.

My Heart Bleeds

My heart bleeds.
I push away the pain.
Like ghosts lurking,
I live with the darkness.
I force myself to focus on light,
Yet my heart still bleeds.

I pull my mind back to the present.
I hear the birds sing.
I smell the scents of spring.
Yet my heart remains heavy.

Memories creep in of long ago,
the more recent past.
Loneliness and despair,
So little love,
And so my heart still bleeds.

I pull my mind back to the present.
Will it always be so?
A back and forth, I slowly grow.
I pull my mind back to the only reality.

I hear the birds sing.
I smell the scents of spring.
I will walk to the water today
and give my love away.
I will talk to the One.
With patience I will run.

And I will surely grow.

5/2010

Copyright 2010 Margaret Elizabeth Biggs

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