Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday visit to Sea Pine Forest Preserve

My anticipated February visit to SPFP finally came to be.... a month late, but we got there! I was wondering how the landscape would compare to past February and early March journal entries.

Nature seemed to be in order. The red maples were starting to pop and I saw the wildflower 'Innocence' Houstonia procumbensin bloom. I also found Southern Dewberry, Rubus trivialis, a trailing vine with small thorns that has delicate 5 petal flowers white to pale pink with cranberry colored centers. (drawing to come)

I used my new set of Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils for the Lake Mary illustration and tried out the colorless blender pencil to act as a mask to help keep the whites. While it did repel most of the pigment, there is a twinge of color. Oh well, still experimenting. Saw lots of big gators swimming while I worked on this!

Though Nature was right on course, the Forest Preserve had undergone change since our last visit. The roads were in peak condition, bushes trimmed, a new benched placed in honor of a devoted birder and fisherman, and the meadow that's usually tall with dead dog fennel had been mowed. And, mysteriously, the tall grasses that are usually along the left shore from our picnic area were gone. I can't remember a time that they weren't there. Those area's are favorite hunting spots for the wading birds.

We settled into the picnic area near a little cove on the Anhinga Trail. The reflections in the cove caught my eye. I pulled out my small travel set of watercolors and gave capturing the ripples a whirl. I usually paint water from well studied photographs. I think I'll keep trying to paint it plein air. T'was fun :)

Not many birds to speak of. Just as we were leaving, I did hear a Barred Owl call. One of these days I will see the phantom. All in all, three hours of bliss. I am reenergized.