“Beach & 10th Street”

“Beach & 10th Street”, by Robert Leedy, watercolor on Arches 300 lb. Cold Press paper, 19″ x 28.25″

“Beach & 10th Street” is the latest watercolor from my series, “Beach Access”.

Located in Atlantic Beach, Florida, the 10th Street access is a very recognizable street. It was once the location of the Atlantic Beach pier. Though remnants of the pier still remain (slowly destroyed by hurricanes and storms) and the spot is still good when the surf is up, the AB Pier was one of the better surf breaks when the pier was intact. I remember when the waves were really big, we used to jump off the end of the pier with our boards instead of the arduous paddle out otherwise. 10th Street is one of the few locations in Atlantic Beach where you can see the surf from your car and you will frequently see someone illegally parked doing just that.

On one of my dawn photo patrols, I walked down Beach Avenue and turned to look down 10th Street towards the ocean. The sun was already up and blasting the Bikini Apartments with beautiful morning light. I took photos and completed this painting in the studio. I began with a variegated wash for the sky. Next, I masked the area where the sun hit the Bikini Apartments and threw in a mix of yellows, oranges and a bit of Alizarin Crimson – all in a wet-in-wet application. I then applied a blue wash of medium value over most of the composition – careful to keep shapes interesting while I often injected local color into the wet blue which creates a mix of color on the paper – not in the palette. As the scene is mostly in silhouette, the blue acts as a major unifying factor in the painting. From this point, I added more color and pushed and pulled value changes to create more depth, detail  and interest in the painting.

In keeping with the other paintings from this series, stop signs, telephone poles, no parking signs, electrical boxes, manhole covers, street signs, and one way signs are not edited out. In fact, they’re rather celebrated…

I hope this creates a smile for anyone who loves the early morning and the glorious light shows we are given!


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