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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034  904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com
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Workshop Report: 
 Cabrera workshop was a huge success.  In spite of the weather turning cold on what was meant
to be a Plein Air Workshop everyone worked hard and learned a lot.  Armand loved the island and has already booked
another workshop next year only a month later with the aim of warmer weather.
 
Kevin Beck's Oil and Pastel Plien Air workshop for March 18-20 is booking now.  Some of Kevin's art work is in
the gallery  if you would like to stop by and see some of his work and sign up for the class.
Kevin will be the featured artist in the gallery with a gallery opening on March 13th.
 
Lana's Grow's 5 day workshop in experimental and exciting use of Acrylic Paint will be the March 28-April 2.  Make
reservations  for that now also. 
 
Coming up in April will be Dee Beard Dean doing Plein Air with oils or your favorite medium.
 
Link to the workshop website for further information http://www.ameliaislandartistsworkshop.com
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As Captain Kevin motors us on upriver our view is constantly changing.  It becomes a panorama
of glimpses of places which are familiar but always different depending on the season, the harshness
of the winter, the rains, tides, the storms and wildlife we are privileged to see there.

The beautiful reflections of the big red "Duncan Island" ship are quickly left behind as we moved on
up river.
 
We pass the tug with its interesting round repeated bumper patterns, which guides the big ships
into port.
 
The paper mill becomes a geometric design not in conflict with the world of nature here but just
a statement that the two worlds can and do co-exist.  It is up to us to decide how peaceful that
relationship is.  The Cormorants are drying their wings from a day of fishing as the wood chips are
being processed in the background.
 
Onward past the Captains House where the Harbor Masters of old could see the ships coming into
harbor from the third story "crow's nest" and then race out to guide them safely into port.
 
We round the north end of the island with more shrimp boats and the old Pogie Plant basking
in the late afternoon sun.  Although the Pogie's used for making fertilizer were fished out, the building
is still used as a site for making all kinds of nets, including shrimp nets but also nets used in sports.
The nets smell much better than the Pogie's which really stunk up the air for which I can personally
vouch from the experience of having camped just behind this area in Fort Clinch State Park in the 1960's.
 
The array of nets and floats and rigging on the shrimp boats is a challenge for any artist.  This view
gives you a glimpse of a part of the net which is of great importance to me, the "Turtle Extruder",
a device designed to allow Sea Turtles the ability to escape entrapmentIt is the dark green piece with
the ice cream cone shape hanging down underneath the big orange float.  This trapdoor allows escape 
once the sea turtle is inside the net.  The design has been modified over time to make it better,
especially enlarging the opening to accommodate some of the larger turtles. 
 
Rounding the north end of our island we pass the Fort at the State Park and make our turn
Northward.
 
Crossing the Cumberland Sound and the Georgia State Line which is midstream we find the most
sought out sight on the South end of Cumberland Island, a herd of horses which live in the area.
They are to the left nestled in the edge of the dunes in case you don't see them.
 
As we round the end of Cumberland we head up the back side of the island toward Beach Creek.
Kevin really likes to take a short trip up the creek if there is time.  Cecelia, Kevin's wife and native
Amelia Island gal says "this is supposed to be a one hour trip but it never is because Kevin loves
the trip so much", even though he does it almost daily it is something he doesn't ever tire of doing.
Now that is what a job should be about.
 
One of my favorite trees on this island is this massive oak with it spreading branches.  You see it
as you round the point and enter the mouth of the creek.  It would only be accessible by boat I believe
or a very long hike on Cumberland. 
 
Along the creek, brown with tannic acid, are beds of Oysters reaching upward waiting until the next
high tide to bring them another meal.
 
The creek is so calm that it becomes a mirror for this beautiful stand of maritime forest.
Bathed with the glow of the sinking sun it is an especially warm hue.
 
It looks like a really beautiful place to explore or a horrible place to fight ticks and bugs, depending
on your own perspective and possibly the time of year.
 
As we make the swing around to head back to try to make the river before sunset you can see what is either
"The Grange" or the
ruins of Dungeness, the old Carnegie mansion, across the marsh.
 
Overhead it is an especially good time to see lots of birds as they are searching for their roost for the
night.  This Woodstork, America's only stork, shows off his beautiful flight with his massive wingspread.
It more than makes up for that ugly, wrinkly, bald head.
 
As the sun appears to set the forest ablaze it becomes a race as the sun is not willing to wait for us to
gawk at the many wonders along the creek. 
 
As we approach the river the sun almost reaches the horizon.
 
In the other direction the moon is already up in the sky telling us night is coming on that side
of the earth.
 
Kevin usually likes to make it in front of Tiger Island but this time the sun wins the race as we don't
quite make it but a great long distance horizon view as Mr. Sun sinks quickly out of sight.
 
Only a glow is left, which in a few moments time fades into the softer colors of dusk.
 
Sometimes this afterglow gives you a second blast of brilliant color if the clouds are just right,
but with few clouds we are left with a quiet mood of pastel colors as some lucky boater has found
the seclusion of this quiet secret cove to spend the night.
 
Other boaters like the moorings more accessible to town and its amenities.  It is
a quiet place to stroll and toward the weekend even catch a tune at the local pubs.  Never
a huge party town for visitors except for Shrimp Festival weekend when its at least 1 am before
we roll up the sidewalks.  What looks like big city lights are in reality the lights of the paper mill
as it prepares to work on through the night.
 
Leaving the boat I catch the last of our reflections.  I recommend this boat ride for all who visit our
island.  You will get a visual treat as well as a great lesson in the history of the island.  Cecilia's
relatives were lighthouse keepers from both her grandmother's and her grandfather's side of the
family.  And although one was lighthouse keeper on Cumberland Island and the other on Amelia
Island they both were keepers of the "same" lighthouse.  You will have to take the cruise to
figure that one out.
 
 
P. S.  Shelly's trees were spared and she came yesterday for a visit in our yard.  She tried to
come again yesterday afternoon but was chased away by our yard bullies.
I will try again today as soon as it warms up. 
 
I am trying to determine if she might possibly still be
nursing but its difficult to tell with a squirrel which doesn't stay still long enough for your eyes to even
focus.  It is not very evident if she is.  With other mother squirrels I have seen you could tell even from a distance.
Oh well, time will tell but she is certainly more relaxed than she has been in the past couple of months.
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Please - Do not release balloons into the environment...a request from me,
other Sea Turtle and Whale Watch workers!!!
 From the whale watch folks:
It's been about 2 weeks since Valentine's Day was observed throughout the U.S. and many other countries. All day long,
love and affection among family, friends, and especially significant others was celebrated. However, this wonderful celebration
can also have harmful effects on marine animals. During the last few days, NEAq observers have frequently witnessed evidence
of Valentine's Day in the form of pink and red balloons scattered throughout the Central EWS survey area.
 (Off Amelia Island and Jacksonville) 

Balloons are detrimental to marine mammals, sea turtles, and birds because they can oftentimes be mistaken for jellyfish or other
prey (plastic bags pose the same problem). Marine animals ingest this non-biodegradable material (typically rubber or Mylar) and
then can't digest it. This causes intestinal blockage, which ultimately leads to starvation. Not only can balloons and other marine
debris be ingested, but it can entangle marine animals as well.

From me:
Do not take part in or promote "balloon releases" no matter how noble the cause because I have personally seen the
detrimental effects even just
the strings have on entangling birds and know also from seeing photos of the damage what they can do when ingested by Sea Turtles.

 
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