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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell

Winter has disappeared and now warmer weather meant that for us, like hibernating bears, it was time to come outside again and taste warmth, and enjoy all the things that are reserved for the rising temperatures.

Time for the Pirates and the Wenches to help make the 'Sounds on Centre' street concerts more fun.  Not all females in the Pirate Club are Wenches; some of them are Pirates as it was in days of yore.  So once you pay your Swabbie and Wench dues you get to be a Pirate too, regardless of gender.

It was a big crowd and good music.

With warm weather the blooms of the Bottle Brush Bush beside the sidewalk were really fresh and bright.  Try as I have for years I can't seem to grow one of these, not enough sun I guess.

The music played and the sun set and I take a different view but still looking West over the water.  If you look closely in the rigging of the large sailing vessel moored at the dock, in the crows nest area, you will see that there are two figures, one on top of each rigging also enjoying the warm spring sunset.  That must have been quite a view.

This very interesting Pelican sits where few ever see it.  It is part of the Hampton Inn but you have to be in a certain angle to see or notice it.  He silently waits for the crowd to disperse and the sun to finish setting and he can continue his quiet watch over the town.

Time for a quick drive on down to the marina to my favorite spot, and I slip in a few shots here.  I still think you can't beat this location.

A Great While is usually hanging around in the area between the docks and the shore.  I don't know if it the same one or not.

On the ocean side are different kinds of birds; in winter and early spring you will see lots of Black Skimmers just loafing or flying with that long lower jaw extended into the surface of the water as they skim it catching fish swimming there.

Overhead, flocks of birds head Northward as things are warming up in their summer homes also.

A Ghost Crab sits in the doorway of his home waiting for an opportunity to find a meal small enough for it to tackle.

We have great hopes for a producing Osprey nest this year as we began to see Ospreys hanging out and doing nest building chores.

The nest is so high that it is hard to get photos of much that is going on there right now.  But positive signs.

I found this very large single wild rose growing along the roadside and wish I knew more about it.  I have taken these cuttings and am rooting them but afraid to plant them as things that vine have a way of getting away from you.  I have them in pots right now but can't decide whether they are a desirable or an invasive plant yet.  If anyone knows, let me know.  The bloom was almost Clematis size so was very pretty, but only blooms one time.

A short walk on the Eagan's Creek Greenway to see the signs of Spring there but it was rather wet so I didn't venture very far.

Lots of interesting plants springing to life.

One of my favorite Spring flowers is the Spiderwort plant, it turns the roadsides a pleasant blue.

A Great White sits on the gate that keeps the salt water out of the creek at the point where it crosses underneath Jasmine Street.  The streets here are named for trees, and are in alphabetical order, but I'm not sure if Jasmine is more than a bushy vine.  My gallery is on Ash Street so that is how far down the alphabet this street is from my gallery but much further to the East.

The water was so calm that if I moved into the right spot I could get a perfect reflection of the bird above without power lines intruding in the photo.  The Great White Egrets are so beautiful and regal looking.

Below the Egret in the watery reflection are lots of turtle heads sticking up but quickly disappearing if you make any kind of movement.

Speaking of turtles back in the gallery the beginnings of this year's Turtle Trot painting is starting to take shape.  I decided to texturize the surface using Gesso and a palette knife to put raised images of turtle tracks and water ripples to actually be three dimensional.

The only drawback is getting the composition down correctly as once it drys it will be forever.

I chose to put 5 turtles in the painting as an odd number is better than even.  Two in the foreground 2 mid ground and one small one in the distance.  Now to pull it off.

I had thought I might try some iridescent copper paint in the area where the water becomes a thin covering over the sand but once I painted it in I didn't really like it.

So I began to cover the copper with watery colors instead.  Just getting the canvas covered with something is the first goal.

Day after day, I work on building up colors working within the boundaries of the shapes already dried into the painting.

Once the colors are settled in, I begin putting in finishing details, starting with the left side of the sandy area to make that rather uninteresting part more interesting by putting in some shells.

I begin to give the flat looking turtle shapes some form.  They are the most important part after all.

One by one they begin to get some form.

Almost there.

The end was in sight, yet still due a few days of refining, but it was finished enough to put my signature on it.  It will sit for a few days with me adding things to areas that still need attention or seem to need refining and then a finishing glaze will go on to seal it in and then it will be hung on the wall and hopefully will find a home soon on someones wall in their home.  This spring I have had some pretty nice sales of my paintings, but with summer it will be the doldrums without much business and the sale of a few paintings can make or break the continued success of the gallery.
For the past several years, I had painted the larger juveniles and adults of the sea turtles, but this year I wanted to go back to the first stages; the run to the water from the nest.  Since the Turtle Trot race is now run on the beach it seems that this theme was best to show off the goals of the race itself.  Every year it is a challenge to give a new view of the Sea Turtle's life.  The past two years have been Green Turtles, which are prettier than the Loggerheads, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we love our Loggerheads which make up about 95 percent of all our nests laid on the island.  Florida is after all the largest Loggerhead Sea Turtle nesting area in the Western hemisphere and possibly the whole world.

Bye for now, stay tuned!

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