The View from Here

Painting in a Warm Wilderness
February 11, 2011, 12:38 pm
Filed under: Adventures, Art News, Artist in Residence

I’ve completed my second stint as Artist in Residence, this time in Everglades National Park. What a great place to be in January, especially if you’re from the north. The locals were complaining about how chilly it was down there… but 68° felt pretty nice to me. It was 5° in Cincinnati when I was packing the car for the trip to Florida.
So, three weeks with nothing more serious than, “Where am I going to paint today?” This is a wonderful situation for an artist who normally works in a studio or at home and is constantly interrupted by the daily requirments of business or family. And, in a tropical “paradise” no less.
Now, some folks might not consider the largest swamp in the country to be paradise, with it’s requisite mosquitos, alligators and snakes, but it is for me (except for the mosquitos). I happen to love alligators and snakes, and if you’re familiar with my art you already know that. The Everglades are a unique subtropical habitat, full of life and offering some sublime landscapes to paint and admire.

Painting in the sawgrass

Because this was the dry and cool season, mosquitos were almost absent, and the temperatures were pleasant (especially compared to home). This would not be the situation in the summer months, when it would be impossible to do plein aire painting in the Glades without some sort of air-conditioned space suit. The mosquitos become so thick in the summer that a person can literally choke on them… this is no exaggeration… and the temperature and humidity hover in the range of 90°/90%. The only place comparable would be the arctic tundra, where the mosquitos get almost as bad in the summer (but not as hot).
However, I was there in the pleasant season. I spent many blissful hours sitting at my easel in very delightful wilderness settings. I finished ten plein aire paintings, and took nearly 3,500 photos. I’ll post some of my better plein aires here, and also check my Facebook page and website. All the plein aire paintings are for sale, in the $350-450 range. I’ll be producing some studio paintings (more expensive) from this trip in the coming year or two. I will be exhibiting both studio and plein aire works at the Earnest Coe Visitor Center at Everglades National Park in 2013.

"Panther Tracks" 11" x 14" acrylic on masonite. Painted on location, north of the main park road near the Pinelands area. There were panther tracks on the road where I painted... I kept looking over my shoulder as I worked.

"Florid Bay #1" 11 x 14 acrylic on Masonite. This scene changed dramatically while I worked, going from foggy and high tide to sunny and low tide over the three hours I painted. In the summer months, the mosquitos would have carried me off from there.

Painting from my inflatable kayak. It's a bit cramped, but I can rest the easel on my lap and a paddle and be reasonably comfortable for a couple of hours. In this spot, however, I was shadowed by a large American crocodile that I dislodged from its basking spot. It surfaced behind me while I was painting. I heard it take a breath, which caused me to turn around quickly, which made the croc take off with a splash that rocked my boat! .

"Nine Mile Mangrove" 9" x 12" acrylic on masonite. This is the painting I did from the kayak.


1 Comment so far
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That was really great I really enjoyed it,very very good artwork
keep up with I know you will you have a great passion for your work it really shows

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