Morning at Elizabeth City
Most of the time, when I worked on this painting, it had another title - "Morning After." I still like that name but it probably would cause a little confusion to whoever views the piece. The day before I took the reference photo for this painting, though, made that particular morning firmly fixed in my mind.
My wife, Daneille, and I made a trip through the marshes and costal waterway of South and North Carolina. We made reservations for where we would stay each evening so that we had relatively short drives from motel to motel. This allowed us to search the nearby marshes and beaches. We knew, though, that we would have to leave more time to get to Elizabeth City, NC. It was the northern point on the trip and the one place which required the most driving from where we spent the previous day.
The weather had been beautiful during the trip. And, while it was a longer drive to get to Elizabeth City, we expected the same clear sunny sky. Wow, were we wrong!
We were within 30 miles of being at the motel when out of nowhere, one of the wildest rain storms we'd ever encountered almost blew us off the road. Faster than I could turn on the windshield wipers, visibility was reduced to about 10'. It was literally a 'white out.' The wind was whipping the heavy rain to a froth so that it felt like we were in a massive cloud. To make it even worse, that portion of the highway had no shoulders where we could pull over. The stress of driving increased when I realized that I couldn't see any side roads, service stations or convenience stores so we couldn't take shelter there. And to add to the drama, I knew that there were a significant number of other cars and semi's on the road with us. So, just stopping on the highway was not an option. For the next hour, we drove at 10 to 20 mph, with the emergency flashers going. I drove by following the lane markers on my side (of which I could see about 5') while Daneille helped by telling me where the white line was located on her side.
But as wild and crazy as that storm was (it continued for most of the evening), the next morning was completely opposite. As we left Elizabeth City and headed toward the Outer Banks, we passed a small inlet. The absolute calm caused me to stop and take several photos (one of which was the reference for this painting) because of the absolute calm.
This is the original painting of “Morning at Elizabeth City.” It is a watercolor on 15” x 22” 140# cold press paper and is copyrighted by the artist, Gerry Grimes. The artist retains all rights regarding copies and/or reproductions regardless of the ownership of the original by others. No prints, reproductions or copies may be made of the original or other authorized copies without the explicit consent of the artist or his heirs.