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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)

A couple of new paintings and a new visitor from the sea by way of Minnesota.
A new painting on which I have been working for the past couple of weeks.  If you go to my Facebook Page you can find photos of the work in progress.  I painted it to replace a piece which sold in another location.  If you are at the Ritz Carlton you can find it in the Cafe there.  It is pretty large 30 x 40. and is obviously a vertical in shape.

"Island Girl" a painting of one of our local Shrimp Boats.

A new Shell painting which is already spoken for.

Spinner doing his thing.  He looks like he has been caught in mid jump

Jack Nelson has just finished this beauty whose name is Spinner.  It is the only one of its kind at this point.  Wouldn't it be great to own the first in an edition.

It is almost Christmas so this story will bring you up to the present.  Not much has been happening in town unfortunately.  It is quiet--too quiet for the Christmas shopping time.  The first half of this week we had a negative $260 and that is not that easy to do.  So...if you have any last minute things to pick up we are open all the way up until Christmas Eve.
Well, I am finally to the catch up point with my stories. November was abuzz with stuff going on in my life.  I had a wedding, a trip to Tennessee, and the beginning of Christmas here on Amelia Island.

The wedding was a friend from Kentucky who loves the island and at 50+ years and a first time wedding she wanted it to be special and here on our beautiful island.  The weather was perfect.  She had chartered the Amelia River Cruise so that she could introduce her whole family, which had traveled from different parts of Kentucky and California to share this special event with a very special lady.  A Pelican wished us bon voyage as we pulled out of port.

It would be a rush with the time change to get to Cumberland Island in time for her guests to see the horses on the beach.  The sun was already getting low as we headed North.

I was able to catch some of the brilliant red reflections in the water from the giant red cranes which wait ever patiently to load or unload the next ship which docks in our port.

The colors which the camera catches and the intricate patterns in the reflections suddenly caught in mid motion are unlike anything you could ever visualize with the naked eye.

A cormorant sails off into the sunset and seems to be accompanying us as we made the deadline of catching the horses before they headed into the trees for the night.

It was an unbelievably long colored sunset which lasted until we finally pulled back into the marina to finish our trip. It was a fitting evening to begin a magical weekend for a very special couple.  Debra and Mike began their journey toward becoming life partners a few years back.  Debra had been friends with Mike and his wife with an in common shared love of Bassett Hounds.  In time Mike's wife died with cancer and Debra had been their friend through that ordeal.  She had helped host a Memorial party for Mike's wife after her death.  

Friendships often make the best basis for a romance and it was not too long until Mike was calling Debra often and at first she just thought it was someone who needed a friend.  When he asked her out for dinner on Valentines she realized his intentions were of a different nature.  Even though she said no to that evening thinking that it was too much of a jump into a relationship she left the door open and as they enjoyed a day out with their Bassett Hounds a the Bassett Hound Waddle the next day the path was set on its course.  The Cormorants preparing for the night were part of the dramatic sunset for the perfect wedding weekend.

The sunset continued to beguile all those on board.  There are no two kinder, soft hearted people than Mike and Debra. I met Debra in the gallery when she came in with her Mom once upon a time.  She fell in love with one of my paintings and even shared with me where she would like to put it.  She did not buy it.  The fort looked very majestic in the evening light.

The sunset in the Marina was still beautiful as the time on the water was reaching an end.  It was almost a miracle that this could be.  Sunsets usually last only a few minutes.  But miracles are part of this ladies life.  She re-entered my life about a year later.  She walked back in the gallery and asked about the painting she had liked but was no longer hanging on the wall.  I said, "I just moved it, and if you turn around you will see it setting it the floor in the back room".  I also said, "you came in with your mother and you were going to put it over your bed".  She said, "how did you remember that" and I said, "darned if I know".  I can barely remember my own mother's name.

In the midst of the wedding day we managed to have our Veteran's Day Parade.  A very patriotic event that we always have on Saturday instead of the actual day, who knows why.

This is a float that I always look for because I always see my Dad sitting on it.  Each year the group seems to be getting smaller.

It was a good parade.  I was happy to see lots of people participating.  I don't like to think that we would ever get complacent and forget this day of remembrance.

Mrs. Bean was our Lady Liberty again even though she had to use her walker.  You have met this happy lady often in our parades and she is just as perky in person as you see her on my pages.  A recent hip replacement has made this local dancing lady have to engage the use of the walker.  She still runs her dance studio though.  That will be me in a few more years still running my art gallery.

The wedding day arrived for a late afternoon wedding with continued perfect weather.  The sun was low and the wedding had been backed up 30 minutes, because there was the fear there would be no time to get photos with a 5pm wedding.  With small weddings you can do that.

A trio of local string musicians provided beautiful music for a close group of friends and family.  I love weddings which are simple with the emphasis on making it a happy day and not a show for hundreds of people.

The tables at the Ocean Club at the Plantation were lovingly done by close friends who only had about 30+ minutes to get all  the decorating done between closing the dining room and the start of the wedding.  I had borrowed shells from another friend who had used them in her wedding, and using Debra's colors I stuffed them with flowers.  Others brought sand and shells collected from the beach that morning and a simple flower of hydrangea made it a beautiful setting.  Swags of fabric, Spanish moss, and white light draped overhead.

And then Boomer, their favorite horse on the island, showed up to take them back to their honeymoon condo located nearby in a beautiful white carriage.  It was a grand wedding.

After the wedding it was nose back to the grindstone.  A shelf of glass in its raw form is readied for the firing as I try to get the another kiln load done for my gallery before Christmas.  I had sold all the Sea Turtles in my previous load.  The glass I use is scraps left over from breakage from glass blowers.  The pieces are not flat but pieces of a goblet, a bowl, or some other object which because of some misfortune in the process, ended up breaking.   Because the pieces are rounded and odd shapes adds to the adventure of creating a piece of recognizable art.  This shelf is ready to be loaded into the kiln.

After the firing, and a day of cooling, the kiln is opened and it is time to see if it turned out.  Sometimes it does and sometimes it isn't quite so successful.  It looks like this one has turned out pretty OK.  I will just add eyes and some gold paint pen  enhancement, a bright ribbon and they will be ready.  Of course there is also the unglamorous job of making any rough edges are smoothed with my very high tech equipment, a whetstone I bought from the hardware store.

Then it was a whirlwind trip to East Tennessee and Thanksgiving with my mom and Aunt Helen.  The family all pitched in to see that it all came together as Mom at 91 and Helen at 87 are about to the end of preparing a dinner for 15 people without totally wearing out.  Julie carves the turkey while my brother, Gary's, girlfriend supervises.  The dishes are starting to move into serving places.  My mom's kitchen is tiny with only a small table in one end to accomodate food, no real dining table.  I thought it odd one time when someone I knew said they could not invite anyone else for Thanksgiving because there was no more room at the table.  I had never even thought of that as a criteria, because as you can see, once my mom gets all the dishes she makes on the table, there is no room for the 15 people who were there.

Beautiful school marm niece, Nicki, stirs up the ingredients for a recipe, while Aunt Helen has a rather frantic look on her face. Helen lives with my mom but is my dad's sister.  She never had children of her own, but we all look upon her as our second mom.

Nephew, Jeremy and his wife Donna wait for the dinner bell.  Actually we don't really have a dinner bell. But the aroma of burning rolls emitting from the kitchen announced it was time.  It seems that mom had tried to hurry their baking with the new stove she got last year for her birthday, and since she has not quite learned how it works, had burned the bottoms but the tops were still delicious.

Cousin Raymond and wife Betty make their usual Thanksgiving appearance.  Raymond is my dad's brother's only son.  With both parents dead he is our steady man on the scene with his daily calls to check on the girls, Mom and Helen.

Brother Gary, who works construction, jobs specializing in nuclear power plants, is home from a job and although he sometimes has a special "glow" about him he is a lot of fun.  I chided his expanding waistline by telling him it looked like he had been eating a few too many meals with mom.  He usually comes by for lunch each day when he is home.

Sister Susan tried to find a place for another bowl of food, since girlfriend Patsy had the idea that people should actually have a place to sit at a table, had insisted on setting plates for people to actually "sit" at the table, making food room scare real estate.  But Susan being a supper duper real estate agent can figure out that kind of logistics.  We actually have our own way of doing things and what is traditional for us is to fill a plate in the kitchen from the table and stove, then take our food to the living room and front porch and sitting wherever you can find a spot, laughing and talking together.  It is probably a pretty hickey way of doing things but the fellowship and the food are more important then the formality of a television Thanksgiving dinner.

It was almost ready with the addition of a few more dishes.  Of all the people I did not get a picture of it was Mom.  Think that brings us down to two places for someone to sit.

Jeremy serenades Helen with a song he wrote especially for her.  Helen is probably a full fledged hoarder.  She will not turn loose or throw away anything, especially if it is something someone gave her.  She is also a terrible clothes hound who just can't afford to pass up a bargain (you just can't afford to not buy this...its such a bargain).  The song had to do with her having "too much stuff" and the course of the song went something like this.  Helen has got too much stuff (except it was a different word) a fire...Helen's got too much s...  Helen thought it was funny, she knows she has too much stuff.  She just says we can figure out what to do with it when she is gone, so we hope she lives forever.

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving sunset over Chimney Top, the mountain I had grown up watching sunsets over for most of my early years, at least from 4th grade on.

The drive back across the beautiful Tennessee/North Carolina Mountains remind me of how very gray they are in winter time.  I almost forget that after living where it never really looses its green color.

I got back to Fernandina just in time to catch the Christmas Tree lighting downtown in the Historic District.  Mr. and Mrs. Claus had arrived earlier in the day to greet children and pose for photos, taking time out from their pre-Christmas vacation on our island.

A flock of birds, probably Pelicans fly into the sunset over the Marina while we wait for the entertainment which will precede the tree lighting.

As always pirates are in attendance...

...and youngsters provide part of the Christmas program.

Jeannie and Joey, some of our local talent, regale us with Christmas Songs.  They have done a great, very professional, video of Gospel Music that you should catch on UTube.  "I grew up on gospel" can be seen and heard by following this link

Our tree, the flag, and a full moon on a warm Thanksgiving back home in my town.

Bruce happened to catch this gorgeous sunset on his way from the gallery on the last Monday in the month of November.  It was a definite 10.  I could see from my backyard, as I worked setting out some new Butterfly Weed, that it was going to be a winner, but I was too busy to chase it down.  I'm glad that Bruce took the time to head down to the waterfront for some great shots as it happened.  A winner for sure.  

And finally I have caught up after the loss of part of the summer with back pain that pain almost put me out of commission for a while.  It is better now although not gone.  It is manageable.  With some adjustments it seems it is something I will just live with.  I have found that Thoracic disc problems are not an easy fix.  Surgery there is out of the question.  Major surgery and cracking my chest was not an option I or any doctor would tackle.  So making the best of it and working closely with the pain clinic to keep it as good as it can be.  Man, getting old is not for the faint of heart, as my friend Steve's birthday card said "Getting older is like frying bacon in the nude.  You know its going to hurt you just don't know where"  I might revise that to say, "you don't know where its going to hurt next."

(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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