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“Are You An Artist?”

March 31, 2013

I’ve heard of it, and always thought it was an artist’s joke.  But it finally happened to me this past week.

I was painting on the beach at Port Aransas, Texas.  Two adult ladies walked up behind me, and one of them asked, “Are you an artist?”


I had a friend named Wayne Smith, who always, without fail, had an instant response to any question that came at him, no matter how suddenly.  I don’t have the gift of the quick-witted rejoinder.  As I was trying to find an answer to the lady’s question, she continued, “I mean, are you an artist, or are you just playing?”

That made it a little easier, because I was  indeed playing… trying to see if I could capture the waves out in the surf.  I finally admitted that, yes, I was an artist, and after a brief chat, the two ladies wandered on down the beach.


We had driven from Rockport to Port Aransas to spend a few days with my brother and sister-in-law.  They have a timeshare at Mustang Towers, and it was an opportunity for Nell to spend some time taking it easy with a 14th floor view of the Gulf of Mexico.  My brother has become a full-fledged surf fisherman, so while he was standing in the surf in waders, holding a fishing rod, I was standing in front of an easel, holding a paintbrush, and having a really good time.


I painted a half dozen little 5×7 plein air studies, and started an 8×10 Saturday afternoon, which will have to be finished “in the studio.  The two above were some of the better pieces, about an hour’s work on each, I think.  The waves were an interesting subject.  They wouldn’t be still.


A fun part of this was when a young lady asked if she could look, then asked if I sold my paintings.  When I said “Absolutely.”, she asked how much, then said she had to talk to her husband.  He family was a short distance down the beach, and she came back with her husband, who liked the painting, and thought it was pretty cool to buy something that had been painted right there where they had been sitting.  They were staying at Mustang Towers, so she sent her little girls up to their room to get cash while I signed the painting.

As I was unclipping the little piece from the easel, the wind caught it and it ended up facedown on the sand.  Gouache dries very quickly, but in the humidity at the beach that day, a couple of spots were still tacky.  I brushed the sand off as best I could, then touched up with a little paint.  The lady said it was perfectly fine with her.  After all, a few grains of sand just added to the authenticity of the reminder of their visit to Port Aransas that day.

So, We spent some time with family, Nell got to spend a few days by the water, and I got to paint a lot.

It was good.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2013 2:24 am

    Great story!

  2. William R Moore permalink
    April 1, 2013 10:23 am

    Enjoyed the stories. Appears everyone got to enjoy doing their thing while on the family visit in Port Aransas.

  3. April 1, 2013 12:09 pm

    Wonderful story Ralph, and of course your work is great, not wonder you had a sale. Congrats. Glad to see Nell is feeling better.

  4. April 7, 2013 1:55 pm

    I loved this story about folks on the beach! It is one of my favorite places in all the world. In fact, one of the first inspirations I ever had to draw, color, paint came when watching a sunrise at Myrtle Beach SC. That was 7 or 8 years ago. Last year my husband and I went to Carolina Beach NC and while we were there I sat and did a free hand painting of the beach in front of me. By freehand I mean that I drew nothing except the two lines to separate the sky and sand from the water.. I LOVED IT! Thanks for sharing!

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