“Morning Sentry at 11th Street” (from the “Beach Access” series)

“Morning Sentry at 11th Street”, by Robert Leedy, watercolor on Aquabord panel, 11″ x 14″.

I love this house. I’ve painted it before and am always drawn to it. For me, it exemplifies old Atlantic Beach – that lifestyle before McMansions and high property values arrived. Back when most houses’ interiors were unpainted pine paneling which took on a special aroma after years of baking in the North Florida sun. It’s a part of Atlantic Beach that is slowly disappearing.

I hate to admit that I do not know how this house is referred as (maybe someone can help me out here) but it is just one house south of [what used to be called] The Bull House – near the end of 11th Street. I’ve actually been in this house years ago – a friend in the wine business rented it one summer. And, yes, it smelled wonderful with that old paneling and you knew the house surely had many stories to tell.

Another favorite structure in Atlantic Beach is the lifeguard chair. I’ve always wanted to paint one and will most likely approach them again – only on a more straight forward context with perhaps an abstract slant. They are interesting objects deserving of an isolated look. Lord knows how old they are or  how many coats of red paint they are wearing…but then, they could very well be brand new. I may be wrong but I seem to recall that the lifeguard chairs were once dark green – back when Atlantic Beach had 10 foot concrete bulkheads and large granite boulders separating the ocean from the houses. I also remember seeing large wharf rats scurrying around the rocks at sunset.

The house actually has light brown shingles on the roof but I left it white to give the effect of bright sunshine. The dormers are a distinctive feature and I love how the morning sun kisses the shadows and announces the new day…

I could probably put a dozen more glazes of red on the chair to match the richness of its same meeting with that morning sun and I just might do that on the next painting. That’s one of the things that really strikes me about the chair – the depth of inviting color –  that bright red that makes it so iconic.

One day this house will be gone and I’m sure lifeguards will no longer use chairs – or they will be replaced by beach droids…

And I was once there – way back when – not too far after the bulkheads and granite boulders – painting them.


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