August: Landmarks

My watercolor of "Rodrigues-Avero-Sanchez House," a historic building in the Old City of St. Augustine, Florida, was one of the first landmarks I ever painted. It was interesting to depict the five flags which represent phases in the city's 450+ years of European settlement, as well as showing the local coquina-stone masonry first floor construction, reflecting one of the city's Spanish periods, and second story of wood and clapboards, reflecting the English period of rule.

"Morning Has Broken"
"Bayfront St. Augustine"
Many artists document their travels with paintings of famous landmarks and sites. Painting workshops are offered to beautiful destinations all over the world, providing new inspiration, variations in climate, and even different lighting conditions than an artist might experience at home. I've never found any problem being inspired by the wonderful places I've called home, and I've also been blessed to have had great travel opportunities… many of which have resulted in paintings.

While living in St. Augustine, Florida, the nation's oldest continuously settled city, I was surrounded with history as well as tropical oceanside beauty. "Morning Has Broken" is one of several paintings I did of the docks on the San Sebastian River, home to a fleet of shrimp boats. In fact, I used to buy seafood right off the boats at the building on the far right in this painting. As with many "landmarks" I have painted, this scene changed drastically as years went by; the riverfront became more valuable for other real estate uses and the shrimping businesses folded. I was glad that I had preserved part of the past in my artwork.

"Bayfront St. Augustine" is a painting I was commissioned to create to depict the Oldest City's beautiful waterfront. The owner of St. Francis Inn, a wonderful historic B&B in the Old City, wanted me to highlight many aspects of the scene, including the Bridge of Lions, a horse and carriage, palm trees, and the blue Matanzas River. He wanted a painting which his guests might take home as prints and notecards in memory of their visit. I created this painting fairly true to reality, but in a slightly idealized and simplified manner; I eliminated motor vehicles, telephone poles and wires, traffic lights, parking spaces, pedestrians, and other distractions. I included just a few moored boats, viewing the scene so the busy city marina just off to the right wouldn't be depicted. All part of artistic license!

"Citico Church"
A couple of paintings inspired by my travels are also shown here. My husband Rick is a private pilot and we took some terrific trips in our own planes. "Stairway To Heaven" resulted from one of many visits to the Southwest. The building shown is the Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico - a paradise for anyone interested in art. "Hope Town Harbor Light" shows the distinctive lighthouse and harbor on the island of Hope Town in the Abacos Islands of the Bahamas. "Bald River Falls" was one of the first landmarks I visited when I first explored Southeast Tennessee, and I created the autumn painting of the waterfall a few years after moving to the area permanently.

"Citico Church" is a painting I created as a commission for my friend Mitch. To him, it is an important family landmark, as the country church his family attended with a cemetery filled with many of his ancestors. Mitch owns the original painting, but also had me create prints which he shared with many friends and family who likewise have a special place in their hearts for the pretty white church.

I'm posting this on the eve of a historic event which will likely fill social media with images, but one which I won't be commemorating with a painting. A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017, and will be viewable within a 70-mile wide path across the USA. My hometown is smack in the middle of it, however I'm not inspired to paint darkness! Should be interesting to experience anyway, with crowds traveling to prime viewing sites to witness the 2-1/2 minutes of the moon blocking out the sun.