Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040, 904-557-1195 cell
The ocean's endless
waves are always an interesting start or finish to any day.
Sometimes calming, and other times crashing your consciousness
realizing just how small and insignificant you are in the
of time and the universe.
Whether with the power of a storm, or a calmer wind from the west that
turns it into
only lake-like lapping waves, but always they are there, never
ending, one wave after another..
In my insignificance I still keep creating things
remain for a time even after I am gone as a testament to my existence
on this little blue planet. This time it is creating a new
of art for the Amelia Island Runner's annual Turtle Trot Road Race.
It is always a challenge to come up with a new concept,
babies scrambling to the water, their temporary home in the
Sargasso Sea, or adults turtles of different species. This year I have
decided on a whole different challenge, a technique a friend and I came
up with...a "modified" batik done with watercolors instead of dyes, and using
brushes instead of dipping the colors in a dye bath. Above are
some of the steps I have taken in the process. First of all it is done on
(a cotton and polyester blend is what I use) instead of canvas or paper. In
traditional watercolor as well as in batik the lightest colors are
placed in first. Beginning with the white of the fabric I cover what I want left white with the hot wax
melted in a soup can, using an electric skillet with about
inch of water to keep the wax from catching on fire (not a good thing).
Each color I add after drying is then covered with the
wax. A complicated process requiring a lot of thought to keep in mind
what colors will work over another color. It is a brave
try this because at any step the whole project can be ruined.
to one of my sculptors, Jack Nelson, for the sale of his
beautiful acrylic sailboat sculpture now safely in its new home in Savannah.
I think of summer as Sea Turtle season to be followed by Monarch
Butterfly season in the Fall. This year has been a real change
Monarchs continuing to lay and hatch all winter and now into the
summer. I had heard that not all Monarchs leave Florida and
the proof that it seems to be true. It was particularly true
the History Museum's Butterfly Garden. I stopped by one day
took some of their leaves which had eggs attached. I hatched
inside, and kept them in my terrarium long enough to be safe from
the nasty small
wasps I have which patrol my plants eating all new hatchlings.
Then I put them outside and let them fend for themselves. I
have enough butterflies now to lay eggs on my own plants, which they
are doing with gusto.
had our first named storm of the season, Andrea, which thankfully remained a
tropical storm and did not turn into a hurricane. It was
and had some rain with it but nothing damaging. The morning
the worst of it was a turtle day for me. The air was clear
just some remnants of clouds hanging around as I headed into the back of
the park for the beach.
The water was still pretty rough and I am sure
this guy walking out on the rigging of the bouncing shrimpboat had left home that morning assuring his
wife he "would be careful" when he left for his day of shrimping.
gull hung around for a couple of days and I had thoughts of maybe
catching it if it couldn't fly but when I approached it got up and
walked away. Maybe it was worn out after all the storminess
the previous few days.
was glad to see that the sea still had some of the excitement from
the day before hanging around so I could see it. It is always
exciting to see a touch of the powerful force that surrounds us.
Sunlight on the water made it glisten as it
churned its way onshore.
toward me was this particularly high and rough set of waves a good way
from where they normally build up. I believe there is a sand
out there that creates surf like conditions out in the water.
would think this would be a good spot for surfers because they could
ride the wave but then be quickly back in deeper water, rather than ride
it all the way into shallow water.
the rough water had not deterred this mother from attempting to come on
shore to lay eggs, but something caused her to leave without reaching
her goal. I'm sure she will come back in a day or so.
nest numbers have gotten a bit mixed up in my mind. I think this one is number 2
but I am just happy that they are coming in to lay even though there are fewer this year.
The wind was blowing and was slowly filling in all evidence
the mother's tracks.
baby Wilson's Plover chicks are growing up. They have the long
look of a teenager now as their feathers start to form. Now
they just need to grow into those long lanky legs, big eyes, and rather large beak.
Tango anyone?? These two seem to be
practicing for one of the TV talent shows.
new addition to the gallery is this necklace that Carolyn Dyer just
created. Her husband Bill made all the glass beads and she
and shaped the pendant out of wax, made a mold, then cast it in silver.
made me think of what I might see on the beach after a storm, starfish
and laying mother turtles.
sometimes see the Little Snowy Egrets on the river area but not often.
This morning a pair of them was working their way up the
line in front of me. Very pretty are these "Golden Slipper"
poor Horseshoe Crab had just about exhausted herself trying to find
the water after coming in to nest. I walked her all the way
the water because she was so tired.
3 & 4 had been found over the weekend by one of our young and
enthusiastic rangers, Brandon. But as luck would have it I
one, #5, on my day. It was in a very odd place and the turtle
a very difficult time finding her way back to the water. She
must have been exhausted as well as frightened after that experience.
She had come in on the back side of the jetty. The
had been higher when she came in so she had made her way over the rock
tops without a lot of difficulty. The tide when out and
she wandered a long way before she could find a space large
to squeeze though the rocks. It will be a hard area for the hatchlings
get to the water without becoming trapped behind the jetty rocks.
Two of our little Plovers are having a sibling
adventure on the beach while Mom and Dad watch from a distance.
My granddog, Bella arrived to stay with me for a week while her
parents were off on location doing a job for The Golf Channel.
Her favorite place
to lay in her bed or stand at the storm door drooling over a chance to
chase my squirrels.. Bella had to have her left front leg
amputated about a month earlier after an accident in which she broke
her leg. The leg would not mend after an extended time of
have missed some really great sunsets but this evening, even though
not great, was this. I had gone to speak to a group on one
the small cruise ships that comes into the marina. Always an
interesting mix of people from all over come to take the cruses.
The turtle batik begins to transform gradually. In the end the
step is to crumple the completely waxed piece and dump it in a pan of
black India Ink. That is a scary thing to do with several week's
worth of work. As I said this process can go awry at any
and all the work could be for naught with no back up plan. Artists often work their best under pressure.
Of course Bella was a great help as she watched
the process take shape.
Osprey's have been the object of some great concern as one of the
ospreys had been missing for weeks with no one seeing but a single one
the two chicks. Normally the female will stay close to the nest
watching over the chicks and the male will hunt and bring home the
"bacon", (fish usually). An Osprey, found near the nest, was reported
have been taken to
a well known rescuer of birds in the area, with a broken wing.
Reports from the santuary said the bird they have will survive
will never be able to hunt again, preventing his release into the wild.
Yesterday two birds were spotted on a snag near the nest
hoped was a sign that the broken winged one was not ours after all.
As time has gone on though with no sighting of another bird on
the nest and the report of the broken winged birds rescue being
pinpointed near the nest, we once again think that it was our bird
after all. We have not yet determined which bird is missing but
we are inclined to think that it may be Alpha, the male. We are
trying to monitor the nest the best we can, to determine which, but so
far we have not been able to do so for sure. Whichever it is, the
remaining parent is now filling both roles by having to both feed and
protect the nest.
Because of this shortage of help, we fear that one of the chicks
is now missing also, probably taken by a larger bird, either owl or
sun radiates through the clouds making for a bright spot on the beach,
illustrating yet one more of all the reasons why I enjoy my early morning rides on our
lightly used beach.
The tidal pools have presented themselves with
some very photogenic sand patterns, the kind I love.
another nest. Bringing the numbers up to 6, but the day was not done.
Things are looking up as Father's Day was a big day for turtle laying, giving us a grand total
the days of massive Horseshoe Crab nesting is drawing to a close this
was not the day. I had so many to rescue that I began to just
load them onto the ATV for transport. I had two or three
males in the basket and two large females turned upside down on the
I would slowly ride them to the water and turn them loose.
I got a call the next evening telling me there had been a tragedy in
the drowning of a young man on a fishing trip with some of
his friends. Since they
were concerned I might be the one to discover the teenager's body, our
park manager took the ATV out before I arrived to pre-screen the
riverfront. A very thoughtful gesture. However, he thought
was a problem with the ATV, so I was sent out in a vehicle whose
clutch, I found out, would not work. I had a huge number of
Horseshoe Crabs to rescue but since the clutch made changing the gears
impossible for me. The old beach buggy would not
completely stop when in either forward or reverse making it a necessity
to change gears several
times (I had to get out and unlock and relock the gate), I
devised a plan
that allowed me to do patrol without changing gears. My plan was
to hold my right foot on the brake until it stopped, put my left
out the door, stretching far enough to reach the
stranded and stuck
crabs, tuck them upside down on the floorboard of the vehicle,
drive them to the water and reverse the foot positions and place them
on the sand at the water's edge out the opposite door. I was sure I
would be muscle sore the next day but all the
therapy must have helped because I had no ill effects.
I thought about the family who had lost their son as I sat looking at
this beautiful flower. His body will probably never be found as
the currents run very strong and deep out to sea. Such is the way
of this world on the edge of the land. The elements of nature are
beautiful but unforgiving. These glorious magnolia trees grow wild on
our island, growing and blooming without help from human hands.
Another of our Skink family was sleeping in he sunshine on my little
oudoor water fountain, underneath which one of its cousins, the
Broadhead Skink lives. This is a Five Line Skink, however it
can be confusing because young ones of the Broad Head species also have
a blue tail and looks a lot like this one. Sometimes it is
hard to distinguish the
difference. Her sides looked as if she were about ready to
lay eggs. The cycle of life on the patio, as with the rest of the
island, and our whole world, goes on and
on, as we circle our Sun, and Milky Way, an island of sorts, through the universe on our little blue planet.
(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.)