Sullivan's Summer

Posted by Michelle Owenby on

Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina made me astutely aware of nature + the beauty of all Creation. I have now lived on the coast almost as long as I lived there + I would be hard-pressed to choose between the two!! Luckily, I am still able to spend time in both these beautiful + majestic landscapes! Both places, among many others, speak directly into the inspiration for my work which brings us to my most recent release of the Sullivan’s Summer Collection.

I’m partial of course, but the Carolinas (both North + South) have some pretty amazing scenery to choose from for inspiration + exploration. Now, living on a tiny barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, I’m as enthralled by the Lowcountry as I am by the mountains. Although I love the beach front, the lush green marsh + high tides as evening approaches are my MOST favorite + inspirational scenes. The way everything seems to recognize that nightfall is approaching + slows its heartbeat to match the pace of the sunset. When all the animals seem to be taking one final relaxing glance around just to bask in the beauty of their home. And the breeze gently pushes the last breath of warm air against every living thing. THAT is the moment that melts me; so much serenity + harmony in those few short moments that it always overwhelms me! Everything seems so perfectly timed + simple + carefree.

Moments like those remind me of riding NC country roads with my Dad on Saturday mornings, his arm hung out the window, my feet on the dash + hair flapping in the wind, having just made a stop at the Ice Service Store for a Peppermint Pattie + hearing the radio stations signature tune, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the Morning!” As a kid, this was a ritual of pleasure + simplicity in a meager lifestyle that felt like an indulgence; much like viewing the marsh at sunset. It makes me wonder if it’s the scenery + landscape that brings the inspiration or if it’s the memories we associate to those moments that elicits it. Either way, I never tire of those fleeting moments when all seems perfectly right in the world!

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hands is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

These are the things that brought forth Sullivan’s Summer. An attempt to capture those feelings + moments of a summer spent simply seeking the beauty of the Lowcountry coast.

Oh, by the way, the stunning image above of our island town taken by fellow artist Jason Ogden of Station 28.5 Photography, captured all the colors that make that moment so special. From there, I tweaked the colors for my palette to my liking. You can see part of my process below + more of Jason’s imagery here.

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