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Sandra Baker-Hinton Art Studio
26 S. 5th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-557-1195 cell
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com

News; "This and That"
For instance, I have moved my Studio!

(photo story as always, follows!)

So much has changed since I started this story.  It seems it must have been a life time ago.  At the point of this story I had rented one room of my gallery to help me be able to make the overhead.  Annie Hall was a great gal, wonderful artist, but I seldom saw her but she worked one day a week which was welcome to me as it meant 3 days at home a week.  Annie was a fun person to have help with the Second Saturday Art Walks.  I had made up my mind to try to survive until the new restaurant next door and the 23 planned townhouses behind me were finished with a ready market for the things we have to sell on our corner.  I still believe that it is an up and coming corner in town, but every possible penny I could earn and more went into keeping the doors open.
 
I happened to be in an Art Walk meeting when I struck up a conversation with Eva Marie, one of the gals in the meeting, who along with another artist, Serey, were opening up a new gallery called the Fern and Dina Art Center.  It was just two blocks up the street.  I asked how it was progressing toward their August timetable of getting the door opened by August.  She said it was going well and they only had one more studio to lease.  On impulse I blurted out, "can I look at it?"  We set up an appointment.  The rent was a 1/4 of what I was now paying.  It included utilities and also a place to show my work on a continuing basis and a wonderful bright studio in which to work.  I went home, talked it over with Bruce and my Sister, Susan, who both thought it was a no-brainer.  So next morning I fired off an email to Eva Marie and said "I want it." I set about trying to figure out how to close down Amelia SanJon Gallery.

Things fell into place to the point that I felt it was meant to be.  I had by chance run into Diane the week before who had moved her Centre Street shop to a place away from Downtown and it had been a disaster for her.  She wanted back in the Historic District.  She had closed her business and was moving out on that Friday.
I got her number from a mutual friend, and gave her a call.  She was over joyed with the prospects of being back in the downtown area.  She wanted in immediately.  This was the middle of June.  By July 1 we were pretty much moved out and she was moving in, taping walls for painting them, while we finished up taking load after load home.  It was a breath-taking endeavor and went great except for the stress fracture I got in my left leg as I moved those last loads of stuff out of the old gallery.  

A few weeks beforehand a friend I met here 7 years ago, came through town relocating from N. Carolina where she had lived in an elderly ladies home for 3 years.  With the lady now entering a nursing home, she had no where to live, and wanted to return to her home state.  I offered her a place to stay for a few nights.  That stay extended until this week when she found a space to move.  It has been difficult with another person in the house, but she also helped me make that move out of the old gallery in such a short time possible.

I had hurt my leg on the third of July and on July 5 a visit to the Urgent Care I was told they believed it was just a sprained ankle.  I was put in a small brace and told to check with a doctor in a week.  An appointment the following Thursday with the Foot and ankle doctor I was put in one of the big black boots with a diagnosis of a stress fracture in my leg bone just above the inside ankle on my left foot.  I have been in the boot a total of 7 weeks now, two and a half of which I was waiting on an appointment with the therapist to get me weaned out of it.  The insurance company had other ideas with a two weeks lead to get approval on any kind of therapy.  Guess they feel like in two weeks you will either be totally bad or well and they are gambling on the wellness aspect.  In the meantime the ankle itself which was not a problem in the beginning has gotten worse and worse.

The good news is that I love my new studio and the environment with teaching and pleasant conversations going on around me.  Problem is people don't know what has happened to me.  That is the rush on getting this out...don't laugh with all going on around me it is a rush.  In the middle of all that this last week Susan and I put on a bang up wedding for the guys who take care of my mom and Aunt Helen, the "Golden Girls".  We are so thankful to have them in our lives that we can never do enough for them to repay them, especially Billy, for the tender care and love they dote on the girls.  It is the only reason they can still live at home.  Praying for the sales to come because I have been painting like crazy with so much extra time.  Being on duty each day took a lot of time and just interruptions which I loved because I loved the interaction with customers was great.  But the time it took in interrupting the thought processes in creating a piece took a huge toll.  It seems now I am just trying to get the backlog of things done that I have been putting off for so long.  The Turtle Trot piece is finished and the sale of it would be wonderful for me as the move was very expensive in paying all the back rent, artists checks, utilities from the old place, then two months first and last rent at the new place that it took all the reserves. Even with good sales it has left me bottomed out.

Even though my house looks like one of the hoarders has moved in here it will eventually get straightened out and life will return to normal...well that would not be normal for us though, but I would like to see that for once. My framing studio is here now and my living room with soon be turned into that space.  Old Man is well and causing me some delays in getting this story done as he keeps running across the keys and then climbing up on me to feel my face.  He is so thankful to have me home today.  Little Boy is outside and although his had his butt whipped so much by the bigger older squirrels that he has lost his tameness he still comes and looks though the storm door and window waiting for a handout of pecans without running screaming away like the others do when we open the door to deliver.  Three tiny little squirrels have taken refuge here right how after big wind storms over the last several weeks. Life is good and can only get better.



Sea Turtle Season 2017 Arrived (and Almost Gone Now)

The beginning of a new year and time to take down the Christmas Decorations.  The boys have enjoyed having them to play in and around.  Little Boy had managed to pull all the red berries off one of the Christmas table top decorations.


At the grocery store I find a whole container of red berries which looked just like the ones made out of plaster, he seemed so intent to plucking off.  He was excited to see them but one taste and the nice pleasant but tangy like fruit flavor was not to his liking.


The Butterfly Painting done in oils and which was started in September was finally finished on New Year's Eve.  I was just not going to let it go over into another year for completion.


Although I took prettier photos of this spider web composition wise this one showed up the intricacies of the web so much better I decide to post it.  It is an understatement to express my admiration and astonishment that one spider can do this much construction.  How can they even hold enough web material to make this happen.  This is quite a small spider who created this masterpiece.


Our marina so damaged in the Hurricane is still not in operation except on a small scale.  The ramp in the foreground which now looks like an arrow pointing to the damage when you include its reflection.  When it will be redone, we don't know as our City Commissioners can take their own sweet time in getting any decision made.  Sometimes if they wait long enough things just resolve themselves, and they don't have to go on record as having had to take a position on anything.  This decision is costing the city a lot of money in the meantime.  As of today August 30 it is still not in operation.


My sweet Little Danny Boy was always the entertainment of the day.  His passion for hiding nuts led to noting that "he was the only squirrel out there who was going to die from anorexia because he was so obsessed with hiding nuts that he never takes time to eat".  He was a joy and I kept him inside far longer than I should have, but he would eventually adjust to life in the wild.  He had many adventures and misadventures before that.time.  Two jail breaks via the dryer vent was two of the misadventures and led to the final decision it was time to go outside, especially the time he included Old Man in his jail break and the destruction of a "new" dryer vent.


Winter was a wonderful one with lots of mild beautiful days and only a few cold blustery ones that you would even call winter.  The mildness left my Angels Trumpet to bloom several times during the season, trying to outdo itself each time..


Old Man and Little Danny Boy were such good friends that I really was unsure how Old Man would react once he was by himself.


Anytime you would get the camera to photograph either of them they would not do what you wanted them to continue doing, but would become fascinated with the camera and the picture taking itself.


My days at home, when I let the boys roam pretty freely around the house, was usually punctuated by the sounds of things crashing.  In this case I think you can all see where this is heading.


Sure enough, it wasn't but a matter of seconds until things started to tumble, but this time I was luckily able to keep anything from crashing to the floor.


The boys would often sleep together...sometimes in the hammock and sometimes in the various other bags I had hanging around the room for them.  Squirrels like to change sleeping places, trying not to be too predictable to predators.


I was usually too tired by the end of the day to go to the waterfront and catch sunsets but once in a while I would stop by the waterfront on my way home for a glimpse of one I hoped would be good.


They would romp until they were both exhausted and then off to siesta time.


What a happy day when friend Michelle brought an almost full basket of pecans.  Little Boy would pick out the fattest of the nuts and off he went to hide them.  I got so I would try to beat him to the big ones which I stored in a closed Charlies Potato Chip canister.  The big ones are easier to crack out for Old Man who with only two bottom teeth could not do for himself..


They both loved their pecans.


Then came the time I almost killed Little D. Boy.  I went into their room in the dark as it often was by the time I would get home in winter.  The room was dark and I was used to them being on the counter and waiting when I opened the door.  But this time when I made the step down into the room I felt something very soft take the weight of my foot. It was not a sock but a little boy under my foot.  He was badly injured and could not sit up to eat for a while.  He got lots of loving and extra treats during this time.  He did finally recover to the point where he does not show any signs of the injury, but it was really hard to keep Old Man from hurting him when he was injured because he still wanted to romp and run just like always.



Spring came and with it lots of beautiful strawberries by way of my farming friends at King's Produce at the Farmer's Market.


Little Boy was eventually back up to his old tricks hiding nuts and exploring every nick and cranny in the house.  We had to nail a board onto the bottom of our bedroom and office doors to keep him out of the rooms as he would just skinny underneath.  In this case one night I kept hearing this pecking sound.  I came from the kitchen to see what it was.  I noticed the candle moving around the mouth of the pottery jar it was in.  A poltergeist? Oh, it was just Little Boy down inside probably hiding a nut.


Any squirrel loves to have his under-arm rubbed and scratched and will hold his front arm up for you to be able to get to it.  Old Man was almost ready to take a nap it was feeling so good to him.


The sunshine brought out the Anoles as if a magnet pulling them out to warm in its warm rays.


A beautiful Amaryllis which was different from the ones you will see in the florists or at Lowe's.  These were beautiful surprises and remembrances from the flowers I inherited after the passing of my next door neighbor.  She and her husband died within 6 months of each other and the son just wanted rid of all her plants.


After 16 years I finally got my first Blue Bird nesting pair and not just one, I had another in a special Bluebird house I had brought from N. Georgia made by an old fellow who made them and sold them all over the area just trying to make a good habitat for Bluebirds, was also a blue bird nest this year.  However what you wish for may turn on you and in this case the squirrels.  The Bluebirds and the wren nesting just outside the back door all declared war on the squirrels.  There was not anywhere they could hide, even on the other side of the tree, which could not be found by the birds who were sitting in wait for them each morning when I called them in to eat.


I have been making jewelry this Spring since I had boxes of beads & bead making supplies and when I was at my Turtle Training I ran into a lady selling turtle beads and I bought up all she had.  It is exciting for me to find someone who will buy a necklace from me which I made, because I don't consider myself a really gifted bead maker.


The Concours de'Ellegance Car Show came in April.  One of the best times for sales in my gallery is for a month before and the month of the show.  The rest of the year it is very sucky and this year especially bad with the worst sales year any of us have ever had.  One of the judges for the car show turned up in the gallery one day during that time and we had a really fun conversation, sharing stories (mostly from him) about the show.  We both reminisced about the year it rained.  He was from England where you always have a rain backup plan.  He said he asked what the rain plan was and they responded "there is none" as it never rains.  He once again asked "what is the rain plan?" with the same answer.  It rained that year and it was a mess, cars were in the ballroom, garages, hastily put up tents and many which could not even get out of the storage places.  Now they have a rain plan in action and this year they had to use it.  The predictions were for rain the day of the car show so two days before they quickly switched the traditional Sunday public car show back to Saturday.  They managed to get the word out so all ticket holders and others planning on coming were able to know about the change.  A great part of the show which I attended was the "free" part of the show.  It was plenty of cars for me to see.  Since I no longer work the gallery on Saturday, with the gal who shares the space with us working instead, it was the first time we had been able to go see any of it together.


A drive through the park on a very, very windy day was so pretty as the low sun hitting the Spanish Moss made it almost glow.  It really was pretty swaying in the wind.  Sorry I can't show you that part, but take my word for it.


The boys were patiently waiting for me with their paws crossed across their chests, I just couldn't get the camera in time to catch them both in that pose.


More turtle things for me to show and sell out of the gallery.


I was asked to start Turtle Patrol early this year since one of the groups we report to require April monitoring of the beach also.  It is fun to find evidence of things which people put a lot of time into while they are visiting.  Good therapy.


I got involved this Spring also with the Home Extension Agency in the area which seems to be extending its area of outreach in nature to more than master gardening classes.  I was contacted by their Horseshoe Crab/turtle person, Lili.  She had scheduled several 2 day Surveys of the beaches in search of Horseshoe Crab Nesting area,s which could be proven as areas of nesting activity.  Surveys were at high tide in the morning.  We walked the edge of the water watching and documenting Horseshoe Crabs observed in mating and nesting activities.  Usually there will be several of the little males with frustrated looks on their faces following the larger female around waiting for a chance to be chosen as "the one" to fertilize her eggs when she puts them into the depression in the sand in the edge of the water.


I like to recycle things and brooches from yesteryear is one of those things I find fun to create a necklace around.  This one I was unsure of since jewelry is outside my realm of expertise.  I know the mechanics of it just not so sure I can determine what someone will want hanging around their neck.  I posted this one just to ask advice from others as to whether it worked or not.  I got varying opinions from "leave it alone like it is" to "loose the pearls".  I went to a very wonderful beading person and friend and asked her opinion.  She also said don't do anything else to it.  She, as I did, liked the idea that the pearls were from the sea, as was the shell on her back of the sea turtle, to the shells scattered around the necklace.  So I left it and sold it before I got it put out in the jewelry case.  Sometimes you just gotta go with your instincts which is, maybe, the most important part of being an artist.


The Horseshoe Crab activity on the beach with hundreds of nests like this all over the nesting areas there and having maybe 50 a morning to rescue which had gotten stuck in the sand or flipped upside down by the waves.


Lots of times these little pink crabs are hitch hiking on the backs of the HS Crabs.  They are very small about the size of a thumbnail but very beautiful.


Nice to get a glimpse of the morning sunrise or at least almost one.  You can still see the pier at this point but it is all gone now.


Our new beach buggy is such a nice thing.


A new painting which was almost finished at this point.  I need to take one more photo of it then the final glaze.


Shrimp Festival came on cue a bit later than last year, but alway I have turtle patrol on that Sunday.  I was not able to go to see the Blessing of the Fleet this year as I got stuck on gallery duty.  The parade was a really good one.


Shrimps were everywhere as usual.



Amy called me in for a consult on the first Sea Turtle nest on the 5th of the month.  It was her first day to be a real Turtle Lady and luck would have it her first nest.


Her tracks came in right by the pier.  Lucky for a first timer.  Of course she has ridden shotgun with me for a couple of years and had lots of experience.


Had a visitor to my back yard window feeding station.  I had never seen a Grosbeak down here before...not to say we don't have them.


Holes like this are very bad things to leave on the beach.  Sea Turtles can only go forward and going head first into a hole like this can be fatal.  We filled this one in but it could have already done its damage if it had been found by a turtle during the night.  It is also very dangerous for people walking on the beach.


Every day we pick up a bag, a balloon and a bottle all plastic and all dangerous to the marine life.  A lot of it left my people using the beach but more which is Marine Debris put in the water by boaters, fishermen and cruise ships tossing garbage overboard.


I was a sad day for us as Amy & I were on hand for the first bits of disassembly of our beloved pier.  First the top sections were removed a section at a time, then the concrete pillars were cut off at water level, then divers came in and cut the sections off at sea bed level.  I believe some were driven into the sand by big hydrollic hammer action.


A tiny new fawn was just had a few hours earlier beside the fort wall.  There were a couple of these.  It must make the mother feel protected to have them up against the wall.


It's first steps as it goes toward the mother who is in the edge of the trees calling to it.


And then there is Mr. Gopher Tortoise out for his morning constitution on the road to the parking lot on the East side of the Fort.


I helped with the Parks Kids Fishing Clinic.  I got to work the critter tank this year.  We had a bunch of sea critters to pick up and show to the kids.  The summer came and was hot.  We have had a good year with the sea turtles.  We have not lost any nests thus far and we have not guess wrong on any of the marked nests...they were all nests.  We did have one which we found after it hatched by following the tracks back to the nest which we had not marked making it 40 nests total this year.  Not a record but a good year by being our third best yet.

The new gallery is at 26 S. 5th Street, behind the News Leader building and diagonally across from The Patio Place.  Please come to see me.  I am getting lots of new work done.  

(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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