Wood Ibis at Dawn

Watercolor on paper
Support size: 16 3/8 x 21 5/8 inches
Circa 1925–1935

As published in: Alice: Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Charleston Renaissance Artist

Influenced by the recommendation of a visitor to her studio, Smith bought a large meat platter to serve as her palette; this allowed for greater fluency and liquidity. Her technique was described by a friend: “When she painted she wet the entire surface of the board first—very wet—and literally rolled the board around with her hands as she added colors of the sky, water, etc. When she had the colors where she wanted them, she would ‘stop’ the remaining water with one of her large, blunt or pointed Japanese brushes. . . . You will note that a relatively small part of any painting is conventionally painted with a wet brush—only grass, birds, etc. in the foregrounds.”