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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
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and I hope you enjoy the little Christmas miracle,
(see the last several photos), a gift to us all.
 
I have had fishing on my mind but it has been too cold or I haven't had the time when the weather broke.  I hear they are biting.  I often see fishermen far out on the jetty beyond the end of the pier on the jetty rocks. 
You would have to really be up on your tide charts for times of incoming tide and degree of height to risk it and I don't think I will ever be brave enough.  I have seen the waves crashing over these very rocks too many times.
 
I have started another turtle painting which will be similar to the other one I did.  It is a commission job for a turtle friend who had wanted the other one, but waited too long before asking and it had already sold.  He is another Turtle Patrol comrade so I agreed to do another, similar but different one, just for him.  I don't ever do two things alike.  I used some of my drawings from the first one but reversed them and changed their positions and also added two more turtles.
 
In the first one I painted the background first but in this one I am using a different paper and it would not let me do that because I can't lift off the paint from the turtles.  What I have done instead is to cover the turtles and the leaves from the sea grasses with a material very much like rubber cement but that is water soluble when wet.  It dries in a way that protects the surface underneath.
 
With the protective covering I can be free to flow in the background colors in a very wet and loose way.  I have it tilted up in this photograph so that the water flows downward.  I didn't like the way it was puddling on the upper part so I added some plastic wrap stretched across it and allowed it to stay until it dried.
 
As I predicted our Fall Color has arrived just in time for Christmas.  Sunday morning with the traffic light I stood in the middle of the street in front of my church to get this shot.
 
I turned around to see the Wise Men heading around the church in search of something.
 
Oh yes, this is the object of their search, a young child in a manger hanging out with his folks and some local yokels who look to be sheep herders.
 
As I left the corner and walked back toward my car I stopped to take a picture of a beautiful arrangement of Christmas trees and wreaths in the window of the Eight Flags Antique Shop.  When I did, I looked through the lens and as cameras often do, it allowed me to see things you don't see with your regular vision.  What I saw more strongly than the Christmas decorations was the church behind me.  And what is more mysterious is that I don't see my reflection at all and I was standing right in front of the window.
 
It was cold on Monday as I check the nest.  I notice that the wind and time has almost stripped the Sea Oats bare of their seed heads.
 
Besides the birds my only encounter with any of the park's critters is the Armadillo which ignored me, probably because his eyesight is not very good, as he rooted his way up the road side looking for tasty grub morsels.  Yum, yum...
 
At 3am, the wee hours of the morning of the 22nd, Bruce and I are out with me in my coat and Jammies trying to get a good view of the eclipse.  We were searching for a place without street lights and free of trees to see the moon over the water but were unable to find a place totally free of Street lights.  I am not sure the fascination with light at night.  Nature meant to turn them out but man insists on keeping it light all 24 hours.  Why; security I suppose.  I have always hated them so my dislike for them goes way beyond the time when I knew how bad they were for Sea Turtles.  I like to be able to walk outside and look up and actually see all the stars at night.
 
Adding more blues and greens to the background.  Added yellow to the top of the sky area letting it wash lightly over the orange to the bottom of the sky.
 
Next step is peeling all the rubbery coating off.  Next it will be adding color to the white areas and make them become part of the whole composition.
 
Wednesday was our warmest day and a great day for walking on the beach.  The cedar tree beside the walkover to the beach is really decked out in tiny blue Christmas balls just in time for Christmas Day.
 
I thought the birds had left really interesting patterns in the wet sand since the tide was quite low, and I felt I was almost able to decipher this message.
 
More of our Christmas/Fall Color as I show my house guest, Bruce's mom, around the park after our walk on the beach and nest check.
After close to a month of incubation and daily checking, our other houseguest is ready to perform some Christmas magic.  We noticed that the Chrysalis was starting to darken the day before.  So that morning I held the lid of the cage open in such a way that I could get a photograph of the beautiful form.  What had been a pretty lime green with iridescent spots was now becoming dark but with the patterns of butterfly wings starting to show through.
 
Another view shows the shiny spots in a different position.  Notice the beautiful line of them around the top part.  Is that not a miracle of nature to see such a transformation taking place right before your eyes?
 
By Friday morning, the changes were even more dramatic.  Bruce put a grey paper behind it so that it would show up better.  I left Bruce, and Sheila, his mom, here keeping watch while I went to the gallery.  Calls back and forth kept me up to date.  In the afternoon he was going to bring his mom to visit me at the gallery for a while, and bring the "Almost-a-butterfly", not yet emerged so I could see it.
 
On the way to the gallery the butterfly emerged and this is what I saw when they walked in.  A new, not quite wrinkle-free butterfly.
 
He hung upside down letting his wings unfurl as he pumped them full of liquid so that they reached their full potential.
 
In a short time this was the new butterfly as he was hanging out letting those wings stiffen up.
 
We are once again, after a few warm days, back in the midst of a cold spell.  All our flowers are gone, frozen by the early freeze of last week.  A quick trip to Lowe's after failing at Wal-Mart to find any decent flowers in stock, and I turned my dining table into a miniature flower garden for our newest friend.  We had found him a small vine to perch on in the cage.  We have just left him in the dining room with his flower garden for tonight until we see how he is going to do.  It would have just been cruel to turn him out with nothing to eat just yet.
 
So while "Charles", the visiting royalty is wandering around the flowers finding his first blossom to taste, we finished our dinner prep.
 
We set the table and ate, enjoying our new and probably the most interesting Christmas Center Piece in town.
 
Now what better Christmas miracle can one have then this to show the magic of life?
 
Good night Charles.  If I find out tomorrow that you are a Charlsie we will have to have a talk.  From the look of the outside of the wings I thought it was a girl but then when I saw the inside of them I decided it was a male.  Tomorrow I will check my reference photographs again.  The Females have a much wider black markings on the wings whereas the males are more like pencil lines.  On the outside they look wider but on the inside they look very thin.  Tomorrow, we will see how life with a butterfly is.  I have to go to Orlando on Tuesday to take Bruce's mom to catch her plane.  I will see if we can keep this beautiful creature alive until then and possibly I can release it down there in a warmer environment than here.


(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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