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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)
 

Jane Angelhart will be coming June 6th to do a five day Watercolor Portrait Painting Workshop.  There is still room for you to come do that workshop if you would like some constructive time on Amelia Island.  Go to http://www.ameliaislandartistsworkshop.com to register.
 

Here comes the much anticipated time, to show you my "family vacation reunion" slides episode. 
Also update on the beautiful beetle.  It seems he is a "Harlequin Flower Beetle" a very poetic name for a beautiful beetle, and since he is harmless to humans, a native of Louisiana, I decide he would be OK to release it in my garden.  He loves nectar and will eat the flowers some too but since I raise a different kind of flower garden encouraging things like butterflies to come and eat my plants that is not a huge concern.  I always loved June Bugs as a kid and this one is a beautiful version of that fellow, a member of the Scarab family.  They fly with the familiar buzz of the June Bugs we all loved to fly on the end of a string as kids.
My annual get-to-gather with the Jones clan began on a Tuesday.  My sister found an ocean front condo for all to use.  Except me; as I was invited to relive our growing up days by sharing a bedroom with her in her condo.  Not a bad sunrise to wake up to from the 12th floor.  The fire haze was still hanging in the sky.
 
It seems a homeless person was sitting up, enjoying the same view from beach level.
 
The newest member of the clan from Minnesota is 15 months old Oliver, who was putting in a first appearance for us all, and getting his first taste of a southern ocean beach.  In this first encounter, he and the sand were as one.  When taken to a fancy playground, he chose the sandbox over all the elaborate swing and slide sets.
 
It was a time of bonding for us with this young one.  He was getting to know his Granddad, and especially loved Granddad's belly button.  Mike had not seen him since he began walking.   
 
Our reunions are always unplanned, just getting together is all that is required.  This year it was limitations on walking by mom, and with both baby and Great Grandmother naps to be considered everything just happened when it could.    As Niece Julie says when describing us to her friends, she compares us to others who are more formal, and others who are very reserved; she says we are just "crazy" and we accept that as an OK way to be.
 
We shared one of my Starbucks addicted brother's favorite times of the day.  He and his family (Son Brian, daughter-in-law Renee, and wife Denise always walked the couple of miles to Starbucks each day.  This was not one of those trips. 
 
As with most babies, whether human, feathered, fuzzy, or scaly, Oliver always took center stage with my camera.
 
Two sets of cousins and the only of our grand's are united for the first time with first cousin Brian (dad of Oliver and son of Mike). 
 
My elusive and ever beautiful niece Nicki graced us with her presence out of her busy "school marm" schedule.  Sure didn't make them like that when I was in school.  Guys notice that left ring finger is empty.
 
We do a lot of physical interaction as cousins, aunts, and uncles get to know each other.
 
We got to witness a first as Oliver learned to drink out of an open water bottle unassisted.
 
On Monday morning I run back to Amelia Island for Turtle Patrol, and am inspired by news of finding of the first nests on the island further on down the beach from the park.  Pretty patterns were sculpted in the sand.  My Sister-in-law, Denise, got up at the crack of dawn to accompany me.  She thinks it not a bad start to the day.
 
We watched the space shuttle launch from the pier but there was not much to photograph; but we can say we saw it.  For a brief second we saw the light hit the shuttle then nothing but a faint smoke trail.
 
Back to the beach and the hard work and rigors of vacationing.  Watching kites fly was the activity of the day as we lured Mom and Aunt Helen to the beach to sit a while and enjoy the family.
 
I waited a while for the light to hit his face just right to get some good material for this potential painting.  It has it all the play of light across the face down the shirt, complimentary colors of the shovel and the shirt to play with.  Blue in the sky reflections and calming neutrals in the sand.
 
As for me I don't sit still too long, especially since I realized we were at dead low tide with even a negative tide from the full moon the night before.  A beautiful starfish was moved to Oliver's tidal pool to recover from being left on the sand high and dry.  I set out rescuing all the "Olive Shellfish", my favorite shell to find empty.  These were alive and were busy trying to bury themselves in the sand before I could photograph them.  I dug them up to put them further out in the water because they are so beautiful and shiny, people (and gulls) were digging them up to keep.  I dug up about 50 and put them into the waters edge rather then several feet up on the beach.  One very large section had already been dug up by someone.
 
A sudden breeze and the ripples made an interesting pattern across my subjects.  This would be our last full day, and getting ready to leave then became our priority.  The visit was way too short even though it was one of our longest.  Good to get to meet little Oliver and also to bond with my closer (Jacksonville) Great Niece Reagan who had fun boogie boarding with aunt Sandy whose knee will hopefully recover in a few weeks.
 
Since Mom, Helen, and Julie were leaving a day later Sister Susan and I took them to Orlando to say our good-byes to my Bro Mike and Denise.  We had time the day of their flight to take the girls to Universal to see the Harry Potter Theme Park.
 
I am always in awe of the artisans who create this place and all the theme parks.  Some amazing paint jobs to make it look real, as well as some king sized sculpture techniques.
 
My son Eric, who worked on the Harry Potter project met us for a brief tour of the place and lunch.  Fun to be with someone who could give you the inside skinny on some of the things there.  As how they make the live paintings look that way.  Here's the secret: Flat Screen TV's with the actors appearing via video underneath a screen surface that has been painted with a clear gel with visible brush strokes in it giving the illusion that a painting is actually talking and moving.
 
The snow on the roofs did not make the heat of the day feel much cooler.  The idea is that you are transported to England when you go through the gates of the park.
 
We had a great authentic English lunch and beer in a very realistic looking "mead hall".  Food was great and pretty reasonably priced.
 
A little surprise for the executives of the Universal when they unveiled the finished product that all those working on the project had their initials engraved in the (concrete) lintel stone mantel of the fireplace.  The top left one is EB (Eric Baker).  They had managed to keep it covered until after it was installed in the fireplace--too late then.
 
My thanks to our tour guide.  He made it very special for his Grandmother, Aunt Helen. cousin Julie, Aunt Susan and Mom.  All that was left now was a drive to the airport and final goodbyes to the last of the clan.  Life will return to normal with lots of catch up but great memories to treasure.
 
The big painting (4' x 5') is finished and on its way to Anacortes, Washington State, its new home.
 
A new commission is taking place on my easel this week.  Will keep you abreast of its changes as I go.

(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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