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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)

Hope you are all caught up in the spirit of the season and are not too stressed with over-activity.
It is certainly quiet here on the home front... too quiet.  Tomorrow is the annual Christmas Parade along with the Second Saturday Artrageous Art Walk, our 'open galleries' night.  So come on down and enjoy what is to be a warmer day and evening before the next onslaught of wind and cold and help liven up the town.  Remember, one of the nicest gifts for an artist is the gift of a Workshop with a nationally renowned artist.  Some of the fun things that the Gallery has to offer:  Special pricing on Jack Nelson's Sea Star sculptures.
As I still check our turtle nest every couple of days, I am finding the winter's storehouse of beach treasures a fun adventure to explore.  It seems there has been an abundance of feathers lately.  Maybe the birds are just so busy diving for fish to eat in this cold weather that they are  hitting the water with more exuberance and losing them.
Many are very delicate and along with some nearby shells and sand patterns become beautiful painting subjects.  I would love to do a photo show with the just the feathers I find.
A lovely composition very naturally formed without any assistance from man is captured for all times from its fleeting existence.  I think that is the enchantment with photography.  The catching of a moment and being able to hold it and recall that time just by revisiting it.
Or sharing that moment with a friend who can also appreciate the beauty you saw in it.
From watching the Pelicans and the Osprey's as they hit the water with such force I can certainly understand why there would be such an abundance of them. 
Not all is pretty feathers, but almost feather like in their movements in the water are the Jellys.  This one is a very small one.  There are lots of them on the beach now.  I guess the winter-like winds and currents make a difference when you are dependent on it for your direction in life.
I'm not sure of this fellows direction as he was on the river side of the jetty.  I think he was just enjoying watching the world around him.
The iridescence of the inside layer of the Pen Shell is a rainbow in a shell.
This was a fine day for treasure hunting.  It was very cold and I really had no intention of staying any longer than required to walk down check the nest and get back to the gallery.  The wind had picked up from the Northwest.  It was really blowing hard, so much so that it was affecting the tide.  The water level was extremely low...a negative tide.  It left things above water that we don't normally find.  This sponge was a good example.  I have never seen one with this kind of color.  It had already been torn loose from its moorings so I took it to the gallery.  A great treasure.  When it dried it lost some of its brilliance but is still a great gift from the sea.
A wide low beach was very pretty to see.  What I thought was a tree washed in front of me turned out to be a flock of birds in an unusual formation almost in a line across the beach.
I had to use my camera to actually see what was there.  I did not disturb them and turned the other way.  With so much treasure why not explore the north end instead.
A new beach friend, Sarah, was out for her daily jog.  She has only recently moved here and you will be sure to notice her as she is very beautiful with amazing dreadlocks.  I did mention that it was very cold that day.  I showed her our turtle nest.
Another original one of a kind feather composition with a sea oat seed feature created by mother nature.
Surf and sunshine combine to dance reflections on and through the sides of this very fragile Pen Shell.  The patterns in the sides of the shell are so perfectly and yet randomly placed.
There have been a large number of Horseshoe Crab shells on the beach.  A lot of people have been concerned because it looks like we have had a Crab catastrophe of some kind but instead it is their molting season and what happens when one has outgrown last year's clothes.  They shed the old and the new one is underneath.  I have collected several and they sit on my front porch looking like greeters for my gallery.  When they are just the shed shells, you can collect them without the smells that accompany a dead one.
And "Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow with Silver Bells and Cockle Shells and pretty maids all in a row?"  This Cockle does not adorn a garden although lots of them adorn my flower beds.  I collect them for that purpose especially the large ones.  They are one of my more favorite shells that are native to our area.  The light and shadow of this one makes a dramatic statement with just a hint of glitter thrown in from ole Mr. Sun.
 With the extremely low tide brought on by the moons pull and the strong westward blowing wind revealing a lot of living sea critters not to be taken but to be left or returned to the water.  With the water still going out I picked up a number of living Sand Dollars and tossed them back into the water to protect them from being nabbed by unthinking humans.
Another variety of young Jelly has found its way on shore.  There is no way to get them back where they are not going to just wash back on shore.  The other day a friend had a bag of fresh ones collected from his fishing trip.  He was taking them to a neighbor who thinks they are good to eat.  He says he thinks they are pretty tasteless.
Another pretty Pen Shell with the light playing through it making some very rich colors.
Probably my favorite shell to find on the beach here is the Olive.  This is the first time I have seen one that is still alive.  Their shells look like they are laquered when they are fresh.  In my dad's collection of Native American Artifacts (legally aquired) necklaces would include shells from the coastal areas especially these and the Cockles.  Can you imagine how long these men were gone on their trading expeditions in order to acquire ocean shells to use in their jewelry in the mountains of East Tennessee.
I saw these strange trenches in the sand.  The sand at this level had been patterned by the wind blowing the receding water and is rough and hard on bare feet.  I couldn't figure out what was making these funny curved trenches.  It looked as if someone had taken their finger and dug the trench.  I dug into the end and found out it was my favorite shell fish, the Olive Scribe trying to figure out how his world had suddenly become so waterless.  I left them alone thinking they would not be noticed by others less inquistive than me, besides there was no one out except Sarah and me to see them.
Another Sand Dollar had almost managed to hide itself with its thousands of tiny hair like feet underneath, actually tube feet.  A variation of those tube feet function like gills and are arranged in a star-like pattern on top.
A last delicate feather as I leave the cold windy beach for the warmth of the gallery.  A good time was had by all.  Exploring the edges of the sea at a depth I don't usually get to see was too much fun to leave without an extended stay.
The Monarch Report:
Our Chrysalis is still in its beautiful lime green form.  I will try to get photos, but mine fastened itself very near the side of the lid of it's 'home'.  I will probably just use my friend Sandy's photos as she has a beautiful set of one doing its transformation and if you've seen one Monarch you've seen them all.  I do know that when the Monarch gets close to emerging it will be evident because you will start seeing the colors of the wings through the walls of the Chrysalis.  Cross your fingers that it waits until the weather warms.  We have another very cold front coming in on Sunday afternoon.  Oh well, it is winter I guess.

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature, and life on the Island. 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.)

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