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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)

Anyone want to take a wonderful 3 day workshop starting Sunday right here on the island???  Give me a call and I will work you a great, special last minute deal!! The seasonal varibles have left us with many open slots, and we are going to offer some super "incentive" pricing, where all of you students, and your instructor can be in on a win-win situation!

Watercolor like you want it, learn something new from the excellent and popular Ken Austin, NWS, FWS; see his work at  He lets you work in your own style and teaches you some new techniques, some fun approaches, and you work on whatever subject or non subject you want to work on...your choice, I'm very close to scrounging up enough for tuition to take it myself.  Give Bruce a call at the gallery and he will sign you up.  
Notice; Turtle T-shirt orders need to be in by the end of this week.  E-mail for the automated order form if you don't have one.
September High Spots

Strong winds which blew for 3 days straight with Fall high tides and very high rough seas have put the final end to our turtle season for the year, washing away all the last nests.  The last one on the island was to have hatched this week and it is unlikely it survived either.  So our season ends on a whimper rather then a happy note.  One little miracle left from Irene was that 3 eggs someone found laying on the beach were left laying beside the stakes for one of the nests.  Len who watches that area of beach carefully took them and reburied them high at the base of a dune.  Even though the odds were next to nil that they would hatch, small miracles do happen and all three hatched together and all got to the water.   

We are going to fast forward through September because there is just too much going on to ever catch up in detail.  I was able to get a few fun reflections in the Marina while we waited to head out on a speedy trip across the sound on one of the Amelia River Cruise outings.  There were several, with some of the three Workshop groups we had in the month.
Their newest boat captain is not quite into the pace of things here on the island, and hasn't quite got the hang of what "Island Time" is all about.  Being former military, he is still caught up in punctuality and feels he had to leave precisely on time and get back on time.  An hour cruise is just that with him.  I guess we were spoiled with Capt. P. J. Dave and Kevin who just go with the flow and what seems like a good schedule at the time taking advantage of the tides and a little sense of adventure always eager to explore what's just around the bend.
We did get to see the birds in hot pursuit of the Shrimpboat scarfing up the by-catch that is thrown overboard by the Shrimpers.
The Marsh grasses are a very beautiful green right now with their peak production of seeds topping off the plants to make every thing look to be the bright Spring or early summer colors you would normally see in new tree leaf growth. In reality, the marsh plants are nearing the end of their cycle.  Very soon, these seeds will ripen into a beautiful gold color, giving our islands their name, The Golden Isles.  Sometime you should read the poem "The Marshes of Glynn", written about the marshes just north of us up in Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia. 
Heading up the familiar route to Beach Creek on the South End of Cumberland Island in search of horses, we didn't get a very good view of the horses on the way, but did get to see some birds.  This Osprey seems to be saying his evening Prayers as it is becoming time when the birds will all be finding that perfect roost for the night.
Two of our most well-behaved sailing friends on this trip were these two regular visitors to the island.  They hardly moved the entire trip.
For a few days earlier in the month of September the fires reignited up in the Okefenokee Swamp surprising us with a couple of mornings of the heavy smell of smoke.  Then torrential rains soaked us with more than 3 inches in the rain gauges inside the park in one period of couple of hours. 
Another few days we had an old fashioned Nor'easter blowing us away at least on the beach.  It did not do much beach damage but was interesting to experience and see this contrast in the usually sunshiny calm ocean side.
The winds on the river washed the sea over our remaining nests once again.  The excavations proved out our worst fears with only 6 surviving out of two nests one in one morning's digs.  Most of us are expecting the worst so haven't even wanted to post them for onlookers to see.  It is very distressful end for what was such an exciting season.
Another bright spot of happiness at my house was the emergence of our one surviving Swallowtail.  It was smaller than the other one which had developed naturally outside and turned into a Chrysalis at the nursery.  I have learned much about caring for these guys this year.  I think that it is better to leave the plants outside where they receive good healthy sunlight in which to grow with this type of Caterpillar.  I believe that the health of the plant plays a big part in the healthy and successful development of the Swallowtail caterpillars.  In the future with my new plants growing in my garden I will have some healthy food growing for them to eat by just keeping them supplied with fresh cuttings.  I do know that left outside something eats the caterpillars.  I suspect it is the tiny wasps which I found swarming my caterpillar denuded Passion Flower when all of the dozens of them disappeared overnight outside.
I had one amazing morning with clouds that just made you want to become a bird so you could freely explore the illusive mountains the overhead moisture had created.
The glow from behind the rain cloud was amazing and photographs just cannot do justice to such a panoramic display.
A flock of Great White Egrets soared in front of them with their tucked-back necks, unlike the Woodstorks and Roseate Spoonbills who seem to stretch out their necks as far as they can reach.
A very hated kind of flying device lays burst into shreds by the high altitude it had obtained before falling to the water below, hence becoming beach trash, which gulls will start to eat, but choke and can't expel.  Worse yet, they can be an appetizing bite full of death for some sea turtle who mistakes this tentacled balloon remnant for a Jelly, one of their favorite foods, or wrapping its ribbons around some swimming sea bird. 
The reflections on the low tide shoreline mirrored the already overwhelming beauty.
I stop, as I tear myself away from the beauty and head back, for one last glimpse from the river side and catch the sun almost peeking out, giving me some great light column rays before it rises above the clouds to become just another partly sunny day. 
In September one thing that we fishermen look for is the great schools of Mullet which form in the river's waters as part of their mating ritual.  The Cormorant was much closer to shore and as with the larger fish may have been drawn toward the ripples the Mullet make as they move in-sinc near the surface and which means fish for dinner.  Some people won't eat Mullet except smoked, which is considered a delicacy, but some say there are ways to cook them that make them very tasty.  Smoked Mullet I like but have not had them any other way.  When they are like this you catch them with a casting net and the small ones are for bait, but have seen some quite large ones caught that way also.
The welcome moisture of the recent rains from the night before, and the still-high humidity give more sun rays to enjoy on the road back to the equipment barn.  It is rare that this happens but when it does it is nice to have your camera handy.  There is just something heavenly about is, you almost expect to hear an angel choir humming in the background.
The beach has been filled with birds.  Lots that we don't see up on our end of the beach very much in the summertime.  There was a flock of small birds which may be a species of Plovers migrating through, and lots of the Black Skimmers.
Here are a bunch of smaller birds who seemed to be catching up on their zzzz's.  These could be a different species or an immature version.
The Skimmers have such interesting beaks with their splash of vivid red orange across the massive beak.  The smaller birds mixed in here seem to be different from the others and look more like the Plovers with the dark necklace.  I am not a true birder, knowing all the varieties of birds that are not the more common ones.
I do know what this fellow is though but I am not so sure he does.  Methinks he may have decided he is a Sea Turtle for today.  Maybe this is a bit of 'devolution', returning to the sea and trying to find those flippers.  For this one, though, he will be stuck with his claws.  He strolled along the escarpment until he found an easy access to the water.
Then he headed straight for the surf.
Quite the eager little boy to try to get to it.  Once there, it seemed to lay down and let the water come up around and looked like possibly drank some.  It had rained very hard the night before so it was not thirst which drove him to the water.  I had experienced this once before on the ocean side and had waded in and rescued the Tortoise for fear it would drown.  This time I just wanted to observe because with the river waves I could easily intervene if it became necessary.
The waves kept coming in and leaving but the turtle wadded even deeper.
At this point it was just kind of doggie-paddling and yet holding its head above the water's surface.
After being washed around a bit it got its footing once again and headed back toward the dunes.  Very interesting behavior which has the experts scratching their heads and saying we didn't think they did this.  I guess when you live right next door to the sea it is just impossible to resist its call even if you are supposed to live in the desert like dunes.  Possibly this one may have had some pests under the shell, he needed to clean them out.
Another of the many beautiful sunrise mornings, which have been a mix of some great and some mediocre gray.
This is the beginning of a large 6 foot by 2 foot commission piece.  The drawing is almost complete and I am adding a heavy layer of a Masking agent, kind of like Rubber Cement, to the plants, Lily Pads, and Koi fish before painting in the watery background.  The reason is that the darker colors I will be using for the water will be hard to cover for the white areas and lighter areas of the foreground.  Also I want the water to be very wet looking and I will spray the paint with water to make it run and drip to convey the water.  That way I don't have to figure out later and draw on top of the paint, since will have already decided where, for the most part, things will be.
I leave you with one more of the really nice sunrises.  The Black Skimmers are much more skittish than the regulars who have gotten used to me cruising by in my quite noisy buggy.  They fly up, giving another dimension with their black silhouettes against the pastel colors of the background.  Just the reverse of my painting with the foreground parts being the light places.  Different moods different views.
Keep me in your thoughts and help Bruce keep the gallery running smoothly (but don't let him touch the painting) while I travel to my mom's for her 90th birthday.  You see I have my reasons for trying to hurry ahead.  The Fall colors will be waiting to find their way back to you.  We'll see if my "ESP" endowed mom will really be surprised by all that is in store for her this week.  This is the best kept secret our family has ever pulled off with Niece Julie directing the whole thing.  She commanded a year ago that everyone in the family had to be there and I think that will be the case.
(Please 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.)

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