Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040, 904-557-1195 cell
Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)
biggest event of the year at Amelia SanJon Gallery is always the same
weekend as the Concours d' Elegance Car Show. This year I
invited one of Jacksonville's finest artists, Leigh Murphy, American
Watercolor Society Signature member, to show a mix of her
subjects and media. Below is an example, a watercolor, -nearly unbelievable in the detailed reflections and convincing "chrome" highlights, you just have to see for yourself!
She is equally at home painting classic cars and
as well as motorcycles, which she is often found repairing the
on her own ride. Having studied marine biology and being an avid
gardener her other favorite subjects are sea shells and plants.
Saturday, March 10, is a special night, Artrageous Art Walk and our artist reception all rolled into one. We hope to see
you all there, starting at 5:30 and lasting until around 8:30.
continues to burst forth in full swing. The squirrels were
quite a romp in my Jasmine vines, playing like little
children in a fast moving game of tag.
butterflies have also created quite a drama here. I was
I was nearing the end of them, when I went by the History Museum to
few sprigs of Butterfly Weed. To my shock I found one of the
volunteers, deciding to tidy up the yard, had pruned all
butterfly weed cutting it back to the ground. I was
I collected all the clippings which had been cut the day
to try to revive it enough to feed my remaining caterpillars.
also found several caterpillars on the cut plants still alive along
with several which had been crushed with the "bush whacking".
These I rescued and added to my already full house.
With Caterpillars stacked two to a leaf I was getting
desperate for "good weed", butterfly weed that is. A few days
later I picked up my friend Anne for some girl time telling her we
were going on a mission of mercy, a caterpillar rescue. As I
drove away I looked down and one of the caterpillars
the museum's cuttings was crawling across my console.
This made it
more vital to find caterpillar food fast. We headed to Ace
Hardware the only possible source of plants left locally. Karen
the gardening specialist and former worker with a butterfly
garden, knew what I was after when she saw the caterpillar
crawling up my arm. She had four plants left, she had tucked back
which were pretty frost bitten from a cold front we had a few days
earlier, but they would give me some relief.
Seeing the damage to her plants I became fearful for the
remaining caterpillars at the History Museum. We were in full
caterpillar mode at this point with our own weed collection safely
tucked in the back of the van. Reaching the Museum my worst fears
had been realized. There were no edible leaves left,
the caterpillars resorting to eating stems. We began
gathering them up and placing them on the plants in our Mobile "Cat"
Rescue Clinic so they could start eating. It was our first
It became a challenge trying to locate enough Weed to feed
the now burgeoning caterpillar collection. Over-crowding led to
several causalities back in the terrarium. Jockeying for position
led to caterpillars being dislodged from feeding and worse still
knocked down, caterpillars in the very delicate "J" pre-chrysalis
stage, or new Chrysalis. That is the story on this fellow which
we laying on the
bottom of the terrarium. Although it seemed to be OK one side was
slightly flat. We managed with a pair of hemostats to attach
hang it in the proper position to finish developing. This was
day we would find out if it was going to be alright.
Not long now as we wait for the wings to unfurl
and straighten out.
Everything seemed to be OK except the front edge
of one wing was curled around in an unnatural way.
hoped it would straighten but it did not. After enough time
we took him outside. At the end of the day he had not flown
so he was brought back inside. We brought some blooming
flowers inside so he could eat. Next day we had several
we put them all outside but it had turned cold and none of them flew
away. They were all brought back inside to the
dining room holding area with blooming flower
pots. A friend had, in the mean time, brought me a spiral
butterfly tent for
butterflies. I decided to put all four of them inside the tent to
prevent them from hurting themselves by flying into a wall. The
next morning with warmer temperatures I returned them to the outdoors.
As I was replacing the weed for the caterpillars now in the tent,
I found one butterfly lying still on the bottom
of the tent. I thought it was dead. When I got it
realized that it was the one with the bent wing. He has since
been named Crinkle Wing. I quickly mixed up some sugar water
got the syringe out and managed to get him to drink some. In
about 10 minutes he revived. He had just run out of gas
not eaten anything for a couple of days.
hunting weed, feeding our now adoptee, Crinkle, I barely made getting
entries into the Tennessee Watercolor Society for their 2012 show.
are the two I entered. This one I had painted after working
the sea turtle for the Turtle Trot painting and wanted to do something
a bit looser.
second entry was the one which had recently won the Silver Medal at the
Jacksonville Watercolor Society. So we will see how it all
down. They only have a show every other year and last show I
not get my entry accepted. Being a past President of the society I just hate to not be represented in the show.
week my knee had acted up after I let my prescription lapse on my
anti-inflammatory. Wow, that stuff must really work. In
days it was back in bad shape and since I was 3 months past time that I
could get another cortisone shot I decided to go see Dr. Shirley again.
I apologized for forgetting to shave my leg for him and he
apologized for not shaving his face for me. He is a fun guy.
He is attempting to grow a beard. On the way back I
by one of the parks on the way home on Little Talbot Island. I
have put off trying to access a big sand flat which is always full of
birds because the tidal creek between it is too wide to cross with high
Today the tide was low and the large number of birds didn't
seem too far away. I wasn't by myself. This group of
gals were heading out to do some fishing as they had a seine net and a
bucket. Maybe collecting minnows from the tidal creek.
However they were not first timers like I was and knew the long
route was the best one.
the bridge these birds had looked quite close, but as I walked across
the sand I found the flat perspective was very distorted with the
distance about three times further than I figured and much more
soft sand which sank down like a new snow. It didn't take long to
could not make it to the birds and settle for this distant shot.
Then I headed back to make my way across the
hoping I had done my knee no further harm.
Underneath the bridge you can see the navy ships
across the river at Mayport.
Wing has continued to live his life developing his own personality as
much as a butterfly can do. He has to be fed thusly
twice a day. To feed a butterfly they have to be willing to
They must uncurl their proboscis which is like
having your very on soda straw with which to sip the sweet sugar water
nectar prepared for him. I
have perfected feeding him with one hand while I do other things with
the other like put my make up on, eat my toast, sip a glass of wine and
any number of other things one can do one handed.
The curl of his wing has left him
this close up you can clearly see his proboscis down in the sugar water.
He uses it with the flexibility you would have using your
pointer finger to feel around and find the best spot. In the
beginning he just takes a very long drink, then once he has satisfied
his hunger he starts playing with his food. He will start
around very fast in the liquid. But he does continue to eat
because I can see the liquid go down, as I carefully try not to give the both of us a sugar bath as I keep the tip full.
so many responsibilities at home, I have missed many gorgeous sunsets.
When I saw this glowing easterly cloud before me as it caught the
glow from the western setting sun, I
had to at least run by the beach and get an uninterrupted view
minus the power lines. The light seemed to radiate
inside the big billowing cloud.
By going this route home I was able to check on the progress of a
new house that is going up on this beach front property, which belongs to one of my favorite
authors. I love a good complicated detective story.
the guest house or maybe a writing studio. A swimming pool
be positioned to the right of this in the open space.
main house is to the right of that area. A nice place built
two ocean front lots. Lets hope they will want local art to
decorate their house.
A new piece of art work I just finished is this one. I like to do something
loose and fun after I finish the tighter commission pieces.
Crink has developed his own idyocyncricies.
He has decided
he wants to fly a while before he will eat. With his wing he
fly in a downward spiral. I hold him up and he launches
can somewhat control his flight, sometimes almost straight, as long as it is downward.
on the kitchen floor he does his whirling dervish exercises to work up
his appetite. A couple of times and he is ready to settle
and spend about 30 minutes sipping his meal. Crink is now
20 days old which means he has reached a fairly old age, with a live expectancy of 2 to 6 weeks.
commission piece for me is starting.
This is day 1. This painting is 3 ft by
ft and will be a view from the surface of the water where you see above
and below the surface. A sunrise will be coming up above, while
below the surface sea creatures will be swimming around. To get
myself started I used paint I had left from another painting I was
working to put some color on the surface. There is
nothing scarier than a white canvas staring you in the face.
After some searching through my photos I choose some of my
sunrise photos as a starting point for this sunrise and with that part
firmly in mind along with how I want to show the divide between
sea and sky I begin the painting. I am just not sure what all
included in the under sea part but I know that I want it to look wet
and watery. To get starting on that feeling I take the colors
left at the end of the day and brush them on the middle portion of the
canvas and spray it with water from a spray bottle letting it run
downward. Just getting the canvas covered with color is a
good leg up. The rest will come. I know a sea turtle will
be one critter of course, but
knowing that Atlantic fish are not quite as colorful as the Pacific
Ocean ones it will be a bit more challenging to make it interesting.
A close up cropped version of the sunrise, which will change, I'm sure, but it is a good start in the direction I want to head.
butterfly season coming to a halt, not for the butterflies but for me,
will put my efforts (after I get past preparing my taxes and Art Walk)
toward planting all the cuttings I have been rooting and seeds
have started with the goal of having the best
butterfly friendly garden around. No more searching the highways
by-ways for weed.
On a sad not the end of caterpillar
herding has come abruptly
for me on Sunday as I found all my approximately 10 caterpillars laying
dead underneath the two beautiful plants I had just bought for them the
day before. Evidently the new plants had been
sprayed with some sort of insecticide, a big no-no for plants that
attract butterflies. I still have 14 more Chrysalis waiting to
emerge, and of course I still have Crink to
feed until his life span is complete. Then I will focus on
providing a good outdoor habitat and not try to save them all inside.
I have found that many things can go wrong inside in
protected environment also.
has it that a baby squirrel is on the way to be dropped off on the
gallery doorstep sometime today. Just when I thought I could see
a break ahead... I see another wild ride into the animal world
shaping up. I remember finding the paper with instructions for
raising a young squirrel in my office just last night. Was that
prophetic or not???
(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
make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it
would be greatly appreciated.)