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.