Soileau Sojourns

24x30 oil on linen
Summer at the Beach by Hodges Soileau
As we exit winter here in Charleston all of us long for easy days at the beach, fishing from open skiffs sun kissing our noses. I love this delicately painted work of Hodges, the chaos of the working boats, storage shed, fishing gear. As I stare at painting the reveal plays out in a slow dance: I notice images through the windows, a glimpse of sky, moss siding between buildings…evidence of humidity gone viral. The cascade of buildings and trees and scrub into the background of the painting is typical of Soileau’s work: thinly painted just giving enough information for your mind’s eye to do the rest, yet so expertly crafted there is never a mis-stroke of brush or drawing, values right on, temperature carrying the day. Hodge’s boat scenes are often started from life, finished in studio. Choices carefully made, eliminating clutter, introducing figures, motion, mystery. The work of painting great paintings often lies in what is removed from the scene to allow what remains to do its job, carry the viewer to the moment in time when the world stands still, the sea air permeates the nose, the skin and the harbor horn blasts its welcome. I can taste the lobster roll, hear the Maine twang as I crunch on the sea shell drive in my boat shoes soaked in sea water. Hodges grew up in Cajun Louisiana, was stationed in the air force at Bangor where he met his dear wife, a Maine native, Marilyn. I suspect some where long back in Arcadian history they share DNA, their marriage seems so perfect, their appearances after many long years together becoming one.  Marilyn accompanies Hodges on his painting sojourns, provides valuable critique and support. She often is like the subtle images that surround the objects in Hodges work…leading your eye where it needs to go, providing just the right amount of information yet never hindering the process, allowing you to think it was all your idea in the first place. This work and an entire show of 30 magnificent paintings adorn the walls of M Gallery of Fine Art SE 11 Broad Street Charleston SC for the month of March and of course on the web at

About mgalleryoffineart

Owner of M Gallery of Fine Art in historic Charleston, SC
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