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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
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

(For those who've not yet read this request, I ask that you take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)

Stop the presses! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your contributions which help me to keep on sending these stories which I call my diaries, out each week.  It also gives me a great lift to know that people really do appreciate the effort that I put into them.  It also challenges me to put extra effort into keeping them always fun and informative without being boring.  I hope that I have also challenged you during these years of writing my little adventures to try to see things in a different perspective than maybe you had looked at the world before.  -Sandra Baker-Hinton, Artist

You can still sign up for Soon Y. Warren Painting Glass with Workshop for August 5-8th.  Hurry, you have homework to prepare before the class.
Also for the following:  (Early Pay Discounts still available)
*Jane Angelhart Watercolor Portrait from Photograph Workshop Sept 13-15 (Back by popular demand-5 days much more time to learn)
*Leah Lopez, Traditional Still Life in Oil Workshop Sept 24-25th (Extremely reasonably priced class for this fine artist)
*Elizabeth St. Hillaire, Painting with Paper October 8-10 (Last years class loved her)
*Alyson Stanfield No Excuses Art Marketing Workshop October 16-17 (All professional artists no matter your medium should take this course)
*Judy Carducci Portrait Painting in Pastel October 20-24 (Amazing talent from which to study)

If you wish to receive notifications for the Sea Turtle Nest Excavations, just email me here,, and tell me to add you to the list to receive notifications via my regular email rather than the main service I use for these photo-stories.
Also bookmark this site, to check the schedule of Nest Excavations, so you can get updated and go watch in case I miss one. 
(Finally! The story:) 
Hatchlings in the water
My first Manatee sighting this year.  But I was only able to get the telltale rings that form from the motion of their tail.  I was unable to get photos when it surfaced that were good enough to share.  Take my word for it, it's a Manatee.

I have certainly not seen the herds of them I saw year before last.
My favorite dune flower is blooming beside the boardwalk over to the ocean from within the park.  Such a gorgeous color of red.  This is truly Cadmium Red.
The deer are easy to spot about dusk or early morning near the pier parking lot and just before you go into the Ocean Campground.  It takes a little patience, luck and better camera settings than I had to get the dusk light to produce a good image.  I promise I will read the instruction book soon, grasshopper.  A fishing trip to the beach gave me the opportunity to catch little Bambi as I was headed out away from the pier parking lot.
With my husband out of town I took Lisa and J. up on an invite to dine with them after a little fishing outing at the beach.  Lisa lives in her camper in Volunteer Village with her 3 Scotties, Carly her Chameleon, and sometimes J. her husband who flits back and forth between here and Georgia.  Someone has to bring home the bacon.  Lisa is looking for a teaching job.  With downsizing everywhere this very talented and knowledgeable kindergarten teacher is out of work.  Got a position? I got a fantastic caring teacher, would relocate to Florida, has camper will travel.  Carly loves to climb on your head all the while holding onto your finger with his tail.  He seemed to like me and changed into a mellow yellow color which Lisa says means he is happy when I held him, even though I was holding him so that Lisa could force some meds down his throat.
Deer tracks on the beach are plentiful in the mornings but the deer are usually nowhere to be seen.
I took a walkabout downtown this week because I didn't have any regular photos of downtown without a parade, sunset, or some event.  I needed some photos of the town for our artists and workshop attendees.  I decided to pass them on to you so you can enjoy seeing it during normal circumstances, as a quiet, laid back, Old Florida, "island time" kind of place.
While walking I took a side trip down to the docks to see a ship I wanted to see up close and also to photograph the shells which grow on the dock pilings which allow the dock to move up and down with the tides.  I have been seeing them and thinking they would make great photos with their color, shapes, and variety of kinds from barnacle to oyster shells.  I loved the lavender colors mixed in with the burnt sienna, umbers, and many shades in-between that I see in them.
This is the ship, the White Holly, built in 1944 to serve as a freighter in World War II.  It is now docked at the Marina until another job comes along.  Captain Backen and his crew have been working mapping the sea floor for the Navy.  They will happily give you a free tour of this historic vessel, one of a very few of these fellows still in working operation.  The tall pilings on the left are where I got my shell photos.
The colors in the shells were much brighter on the side where the rollers are located which allow the dock to move and had worn most of them away.  These fellows which were hardy enough to survive, flattening themselves to survival level and re-growing, were to me the prettiest.  
One of our Osprey fledglings is having trouble just like one last year did with transitioning to the tough old world outside the nest and continues to beg and plead with Alpha and Little Girl, its parents, to continue to "feed me, feed me", as she endlessly calls to them.  Below is a painting I am working on for the Turtle T-Shirt for the Turtle Trot.  I am going to let you as well as my Facebook Friends follow its progress from start to finish.
Nothing like pressure to succeed.  HERE GOES!!!!
Step 1.  I started this with an idea and a demo that I did for a cruise ship docked at the Marina.  My goal was to show them how salt sprinkled into the wet paint surface of a watercolor would give you an interesting texture.
Step 2. I created the drawings using my photographs as reference
Step 3.  Transferred the drawing to the painting.
Step 4.  Lifted out some of the color where the turtles would go with a wet stiff brush and paper which allowed that to happen.  This is not possible with all watercolor paper.
Step 5.  Added some color to the sky, introduced some of the greens in the Sargassum Sea Grass Bed.  I have wanted for a long time to paint the area where the Sea Turtles hang out that first year about 5 miles off shore. 
Step 6.  I wanted more color in the back ground.  To achieve this I painted a water wash carefully around the outside of the edge of the turtles filling in the area with water.  I then loaded up the brush with lots of color in different shades of blue from aquamarine, to a very some funky Caribbean shades of blue and throwing in a bit of green.
Step 7.  Start building up the colors in the sea turtles to they look like turtles and not ghosts.  Right now the turtles are pretty blue so need to start warming those babies up.
Stay tuned as this painting progresses.
This is where it was left on Saturday.  I already see changes I will make and directions I will head in on Tuesday.  "Needs more color" which is always mine and Patricia Ezzell's cry.
Miss Shelly truly came home night before last if only briefly.  She came to the door after I had called, given up and gone back into the house.  We opened the door and she climbed up Bruce's pants and onto his hand for her treats.  Very chubby little girl right now.  Will keep you posted if she suddenly loses weight.
No, its not a beach wedding, although there were two going on at the same time just on either side of this gathering.  This was one of the first Sea Turtle next excavations for the year.  The nest was located very near the Ritz and had hatched 3 days prior.
First comes the egg...
Then the absolutely total excitement in the crowd as Dottie Heritage pulls the first live hatchling from the sand.  I can tell you there was a lot of moisture built up in my old eyes when this happened, seeing my first turtle baby of the year was truly special. 
He was full of vim and vigor, ready to greet the world. 
Four in all were found alive, one was not.  The bucket was ready for the trip to the water.
Dottie made sure each person was able to get a close look and a photo...NO FLASH ALLOWED!!! 
Let the turtle races begin!!!!  Whoops, one false start.  Too many people too close in, can't see the light, can't see the ocean.

I helped shoo people back who were so excited that they were crowding in too closely.  I told them the turtles "have to see the water".  The turtles are already on the defensive and will turn away if someone steps in front of them.  I thought it was interesting to see the reflections of the turtle watchers mixed and mingled with the sea turtles on their way into the great big ocean.  Let us hope that the efforts of people helping the sea turtles will continue to see their numbers increase.
Gulf Turtle Update:  The first of the Gulf Sea Turtle hatchlings, some Kemps Ridleys, a very endangered turtle, transported from the Gulf as eggs to Cape Kennedy for hatching by some very careful volunteer FedEx drivers and their specially equipped truck are now swimming in the Atlantic.  We do not know the eventual outcome of this experiment with nature, whether the turtles will return to their release place or their nest site.  This may be one of the unanswered questions of the century. 

It would be very difficult to tag a turtle this small except with a living tag which is where a piece of the bottom shell (plastron) is transplanted into the top part (Carapace) of the shell and vice versa leaving permanently a contrasting color on each.  This would be very time consuming to do with 70,000 eggs and possibly still hard to decipher since it takes about 25 years for them to be egg laying size.  Only a small portion of these will actually survive that long and part of those will be males who will not come on shore for egg laying.  It would be very chancy at best to find one of those turtles again.  It could happen but would it be worth the investment in time when right now the main goal is to not lose a year of turtle nestings in the Gulf?  If this can be done it would be a great educational tool but I am not sure it would be possible.

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