“The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters.” Conrad Anker, Team Leader, North Face climbing team
From the boardwalk, I spotted the painter applying her media before a background of black piano-key pilings.
But even from these wooden boards, so far away, I could feel her passion, as she bent over her palette, as she applied her strokes…in the late August sun.
I’ve seen many painters on the beach but this one caught my attention from the start.
She was facing the “wrong way”…to me.
She was amidst the beach reconstruction, the disorder, the excavation, the pilings, the plastic orange fencing.
The sun was setting parallel to the shore which at this time of year begins to offer its own wet reflective palette of surf and sand. Waves crashed over the newly rebuilt jetties. Gulls dove. Surfers slid over the sea. Children still tossed about in the surf before the lifeguards went off duty.
That’s where I would paint, that’s the perspective I would take, as other painters have, again and again, and again. And that’s why I thought this painter was…artfully unique.
With all the wonder of waves and sky sea and sand right down at the water’s edge, this painter chose to see the seascape through the rude picket fence of pilings so recently pounded into our Long Beach sand.
So I walked down to the sand to chat with her.
Siobahn Joyce is one of a team of twins who paint together, who paint on one piece. Siobahn ( pronounced, Shivan with a soft “i” sound) was at the easel. Her sister, Eileen, soon joined her. The twins live in Levittown and were visiting Long Beach. They took advantage of the visit to go down to the sea and create plein air paintings. “Plein air”, Siobahn told me, is the art of “landscape paintings on location in the air/environment.”
The sisters take turns team painting on the canvas. They enjoy sharing and joining their artistic skills.
In the past, the sisters did a “couple of team/collaborative competitions” which they won. And they discovered that they loved working together. “Love working together”, what wonderful words indeed.
Siobahn explained, “So the idea was born to do paintings together to set our art apart. Working together keeps us both on our toes and open to new ideas and techniques.” She said, “We are getting ready to go cross country exploring this beautiful country.”
As to the subject of pilings amidst the gentler seascapes, Siobahn said that the beach reconstruction was symbolic in that it captures where they are in their careers. The beach preparation for the future corresponds to their own preparation for the future.
The pair said they are big fans of the state and national parks and would love to see all of them. They “will be stopping to hike and create plein air paintings starting with the continental United States of America. Experiencing the diversity and similarities in its people, culture, and landscapes as ‘starving artists’ trying our hand at the American Dream.”
Just speaking to these young ladies for a short time, just watching them work in tandem, passing the brush from hand to hand, as a baton in a relay, I could feel their love for each other, feel their joy.
These gifted lasses, these young fresh eyes, were climbing life’s face. They had a vision of the peak, the American Dream.
But there really are two peaks, one is the realization of the importance of the presence, the climb, the journey. A peak many who reach the summit often miss out on, the realization that it’s…”the climb itself that matters.”
The twins though, realized they loved working together, they were enjoying each other, they were enjoying life. They already had conquered one peak. They are simply setting out together…to conquer the other.
And I’m thinking they will…they most certainly will.
Remember these twins, remember their names. Remember when you were introduced to them, at their start…at their base camp, at the City by the Sea.
Visit Siobahn and Eileen Joyce, the Gemini twins, at their site: https://www.geminiartists.com