Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meadowlands - Saw Mill Creek

Today I'm back in my native New Jersey. New Jersey has so many gorgeous spots. It's a shame not to capture some of them also. This is done from a photo I took last March while on an organized birdwalk at the Richard DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, NJ, with the Bergen County Audubon Society.

What is great about going on the organized walks is that you get to see places not open to the general public on a day-to-day basis. On this particular walk we went out onto the Saw Mill Creek Trail, which is normally kept locked out. As you can see from the official report of the trip we had a big crowd, and saw a lot of wonderful birds, including a horned grebe, which was a life bird for me. It's amazing I managed to get some photos with no people in them, LOL.

Photo of horned grebe.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grassy Waters

Back in May I went on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I'd been visiting my son and his family in Jacksonville, and drove down from there to catch the cruise. Well one of my hobbies, in addition to painting, is bird watching. Being in southern Florida might well give me the chance to see birds I'd be unlikely to see in my more northerly climes, so I googled for spots to look for birds that were along my route. I found a newspaper article that detailed several good places for bird watching in south Florida. I knew I could not visit all of them, or even most of them, and many were way out of my way. But I decided to make a visit to Grassy Waters Preserve as it was on my direct route and appeared to be pretty close to I-95.

Perhaps the other spots are just as lovely, but Grassy Waters was an absolute gem. I don't see how I could have picked a better spot. Just a mile or two inland from glossy West Palm Beach is this marvelous habitat like a mini Everglades. I spent over an hour there walking the trails, taking photos, watching the birds. It was so marvelous that I stopped there for another hour on my way home from the cruise also.

It just seemed like a natural to paint a picture of the place, maybe more than one! So I did this painting last night, my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum, of the pond at entrance to the preserve. There are signs there warning of alligators, but though I looked hard for them on both trips I didn't see a single one.

But I did see several life birds there, including a pair of *snail kites* - a locally endangered species in south Florida, with only about 400 breeding pairs in the state, according to Wikipedia. I'm unlikely to travel to South America where it's more numerous, so getting to see one in Florida was a big thrill for me. A real coup for my life list. :-)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I enjoy still lifes though I have not done them lately. But I didn't know what I wanted to do in art class last night. And it turned out Christina had had a workshop on florals at her studio over the weekend, and still had a bunch of floral still lifes set up around the studio. One of them was this vase of lovely big sunflowers, so I decided I'd try to paint them. Most of us in the class work from our own photos in the studio, but last night three of us decided to do floral still lifes. One of the other women did the sunflowers too. It will be interesting to see how hers turns out. Mine was done on my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum Colourfix paper.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Carolina Coast

This is just a quickie I worked on last night for the fun of it - a beach scene from Fort Macon, North Carolina. It's not exactly a polished painting by any means, but just a way to do something during the last 40 minutes of art class. It's actually a small piece, done on 6x9 inch scrap of sanded paper.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Carolina Moon

Last winter I stopped to visit my sister in North Carolina for a few days on my way to Florida for Christmas with my son and his family. My sister and I took a ride one day and went across the Neuse River on the Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferry. The sun was just setting and moon rising as we caught the ferry to head back home again and I couldn't help but try to get some photos of the beautiful colors of that hour of the day - and decided to try to use one for a reference.

The ferry ride was free then, which made it a fun outing. But I understand they are now going to start charging a stiff fee for the ferry ride, alas. :-(

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Floridian Winter

My life has been so hectic lately between my art commitments, and trying to get ready to move to Florida. Yesterday I helped hang 50 paintings, including 10 of my own, for a group show, tomorrow I have to be there for the take-down of our PSNJ Member Show, then Saturday it's receiving and hanging for another PSNJ show. Not to mention I'm still trying to get a judge lined up for our juried show in November. Sheesh, hardly time for my own art.

But I got thinking about how I'll be moving to Florida in the near future, and yet I have not done one single Florida painting. I've plenty of New Jersey, some of North Carolina, some of Maine, a whole show's worth of the Canadian maritimes. But nothing from my upcoming new home, so I decided to remedy that last night.

So I did this painting, which is from a reference photo I took last year at Christmas time when I was visiting my son and his family. This was taken just about the apartment complex were my son and his family are living in Jacksonville Beach. On my usual 9x12 Art Spectrum.