Saturday, May 22, 2010

Beauty at the Beach-Venice, Florida, 9x12, oil on Raymar panel

"Beauty at the Beach- Venice, Florida, 9x12, oil on Raymar panel

This painting was done with both brush and palette knife and the colors are much more vibrant in person than the photo depicts. I've painted this scene before , en plein air, but even if I hadn't, I'd be able to paint it with ease, since I know it almost as well as I know my own name.

I have really come to look at our Florida beaches in a whole new light since this tragic oil spill occurred last month. Sadly, I confess that I have taken my beach for granted. I have even complained about the harsh intensity of the light and heat and humidity, and I feel guilty about that now. I have had the pleasure to visit many gorgeous beaches throughout my life, including the lush and tranquil beaches with aquamarine waters off the beautiful Caribbean islands , to fragile coral lined beaches in western Mexico with rugged mountains as a backdrop. The never-ending drama of California beaches never ceases to amaze and inspire me, from beautiful Coronado Beach in southern San Diego, through fashionable La Jolla with its tranquil coves, to artsy Laguna with its jaw-dropping cliffs, and north through the central coast through heart-wrenchingly beautiful Big Sur and up and up and up. Yet, somehow I always find my heart returning to my own little piece of paradise, right here in unassuming Venice, Florida, where beaches are never crowded and simple folks who could care less about designer sunglasses and fancy T-shirts happily sift for shark's teeth in the company of graceful egrets and great blue herons. The birds in southwest Florida are gorgeous- from the roseate spoonbills with their unabashedly pink feathers to the tall, red-headed sandhill cranes who mate for life and roam the streets right along with golf carts and disoriented turtles. Our Southwest Florida beaches are also a very special place for sea turtles. It is here that many species of sea turtles migrate every 20 to 30 years to come back to their birthplace and lay their fragile eggs. Only one egg in a thousand ever makes it to adulthood anymore. A few weeks ago I was out with my family fishing on the Gulf and a loggerhead turtle the size of my dining room table swam by, followed by a friendly dolphin who stuck his head up right next to the boat, hoping we would be one of those folks who would break the rules and throw him some snacks. We weren't, but we waved at him anyway. My heart breaks as I think about what this calamity will do not just to our beautiful beaches, but to all these incredible creatures of the sea and air. The feeling of helplessness just grows, as does this horrendous tragedy to our eco-system. People think that if they don't live in the Gulf, it won't affect them. I've got news for those people. Our seas are all inter-connected and the hideous effects of this catastrophe won't just stop in the Gulf.

So, in the meantime, I can only continue to paint my lovely little beach near Sharky's pier, and hope and pray that God will save our fragile eco-system from the mess that is spewing from the floor of the Gulf.

If you've read all this, thanks for allowing me to vent.

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