GREETINGS FROM FLORIDA
Three weeks painting in Florida — the first time I have painted away from home other than the Cape Cod dunes (where I have spent many productive hours).
It was glorious. I divided my time between Melbourne and Titusville with two excellent traveling companions who were curious, supportive, encouraging, and inspirational. I painted every morning, leisurely, by myself or visiting over coffee, the newspaper, and breakfast.
There was just a single day of rain the entire three weeks, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s. We ate lots of seafood, things I had never tried before like pompano and tilefish, rock shrimp and grouper, and we made trips to the ocean, an orange grove, and a river alive with manatees. Everywhere there were birds: tern and plover, painted bunting and yellow-bellied sapsucker, osprey, pelican, duck, seagull, mockingbird, killdeer, scrub jay, and two kinds of vulture.
We visited wildlife refuges, some several times, including the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary, Little Big Econ State Forest, and — most spectacularly — the Black Point Wildlife Drive.
Black Point is a meandering seven-mile trip through bird heaven, with every conceivable kind of water fowl, from coot to eagle, white pelican and roseate spoonbill, ibis, anhinga, many types of egret and heron, plus alligator, wild pig, butterflies, anole, mangrove trees, a wide variety of palm and foreign conifers, cacti, thistle, blanket flower, and numerous flora both strange and familiar.
We visited the Kennedy Space Center, a surprisingly inspirational exploration of a different kind of flight. The coordination, collaboration, and complexity needed to pull off the moon landing and related space missions was staggering, unprecedented, the best of human aspiration and imagination.
I used fast-drying acrylic rather than oil paint, and I had to re-learn its unique properties since I normally paint with oils. I painted canvases in my lap or sitting down at a table rather than at my usual easel.
Here are the paintings, in the approximate order in which they were completed.
12 Replies to “Greetings from Florida”
Gee, golly, whiz, Russell, acrylic’s fine with me! Though seeing the paintings while standing in front of them I would probably see some sort of difference between these and those you’ve done in oil. But your shapes, and compositions, and colors are as interesting as ever and invite second and third looks aside from the first very long look. They are absorbing and take me away from my immediate surroundings, which all good paintings do. Did you feel affected by the light of Florida as opposed to the light of New England?
Thank you Damaris! The acrylics were a revelation, and while I am transitioning back to oils now that I am back in my studio, acrylics will remain part of the mix. You are right, their appearance is similar to oils, but they foster greater spontaneity and flexibility because they dry relatively fast. The days were longer in Florida, and warmer, naturally, but I think it was the unfamiliar and colorful landscape–and the stimuli from being in a new place–that most influenced these paintings.
Heart FL 8–looks like algae. (I do not like Florida.)
Thanks. I see the algae connection. I would not want to live in Florida, but found the flora and fauna fascinating, and while I am enjoying winter, the warmth was nice. Hope you are well, and to talk soon!
FL19 puts me in a room at MOMA, love it
Thank you Leslie! I appreciate it.
Hi Russell! So glad to have a look. Interesting to see. You are using your textures and motifs in Florida! I esp am drawn to Fla 20. This speaks to a new direction and the colors are brighter and warmer. Am reading lots into this story. Keep going…you are on to something…miss you and looking forward to your return soon.
Thank you for the kind words, Jan. Much appreciated. It was great fun (so was meeting your brother-in-law and sister!). Back in the studio, slowly transitioning back to oils, but the acrylics were interesting, and I may stay with them some. Let’s get together post-storm!
Hey Russ. What a journey, such variety seen and experienced in a place with maximum elevation 60′ above sea level! I love seeing the chains of new, and reconstituted, semi-geometric forms, the molecules of the painting. Pods are back for a brief cameo, too. The architecture of 19 inspiring, the door adrift in a cathedral of color, the chapel, threes of it maybe. 20, 18, 16 do this.
The moon pictures – my name – risk a wide open and deep space, 11 and 13. 14 is stunning, the wealth of color the form, warmth, heat, coolness, briskness, languor.
I like the apertures, strangely inviting and unornamented, in 17
The quickness of acrylics offers you something new in terms of being able to return to the work more quickly.
All splendid and wonderful to see in this “show.”
Thank you for such detailed comments. The trip, and the painting, were revelations. I learned a lot, enjoyed acrylics, and come back full of energy and inspiration as I transition back to oils. Hope you are enjoying the warmth where you are!
Russ, as I said at the time you finished it, I think FL-6 was REALLY Florida.
Thanks. I feel the same way–makes me think of the view in the back yard at Melbourne.