"Dune Grass"

Charles Mulvey's watercolor painting shows a patch of grass on a sand dune against a cloudy coastline.

About the Artwork

Artist / Title / Date

Charles Mulvey / "Dune Grass" / DATE

About the Piece

The painting was collected by the Renton Municipal Arts Commission in memory of Gwen Marshall, who was Finance Director for the City of Renton from 1972-1981. This watercolor probably depicts the beach in Seaview, Washington, where Mulvey lived and worked. He created soft lines by blending the greys of the sand and sky. The green of the grass punctuates the scene with delicate brush strokes, capturing the subtle movement of the grass in the wind. On the righthand side of the coastline, two tiny people can be seen. The silhouette of a lone seagull floats in a patch of light sky on the lefthand side of the work.

People often retreat to nature as a way of escaping the fast pace of city life and restoring themselves in a different environment. Beaches provide an opportunity to gain perspective against the vastness of the ocean, a sensation called the "Diminutive Effect." Mulvey captures this feeling in the scale of the people depicted on the righthand side of the canvas. Which places make you feel small?

Additional Information

Artist Biography

Trained at the Art Center in Los Angeles and art schools in Portland and Seattle, Charles Mulvey (1918-2001) has earned his reputation as one of the most popular Northwest watercolorists in over 43 years as a full-time painter and art teacher. Working out of his home and studio in Seaview, Washington, he painted and sold thousands of watercolors of the Northwest, He concentrates on representational coastal paintings around his own area in southwest Washington. For the past several years, he has sold most of his paintings from his own gallery, "The Sea Chest."