Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Red leaf (C) 2013

I ventured into my “backyard” (or whatever you call the outside of your apartment) to do a little picture taking, and these pictures are some of my favorites from the stroll. I’m fortunate that I open my eyes every morning to a view some would kill for. I peer through the vine-covered tree trunks and see a pond. The palms grow in patches at the feet of the trees, and occasionally the wildlife draws me outside for a closer look.

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Great Blue Heron (C) 2013

I often think that what I see everyday is photo-worthy, and I’ve made good on that thought a few times. It’s summer now, and the turtles happily cruise the pond and sometimes wander towards even the parking lot during their carefree days. If you walk out onto the dock, you’ll see them swim towards you, hoping for a handout of breadcrumbs or other snacks. For such a slow mover, the turtles sure move fast in the water when they want to.

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Apple Snail with eggs (C) 2013

Some small fish also gather to beg – which leads me to believe that a resident often makes their way out to the dock to give the turtles a special treat.

On the legs of the dock and long woody stems of aquatic plants that jut out of the water, pink columns seem to “grow” above the waterline. A closer look reveals a clutch of eggs, and a giant apple snail laying a late-season clutch. The eggs are everywhere. Anywhere they can lay them, they do. And in some time, more baseball-sized snails will patrol the pond.

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Under the dock (C) 2013

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Red-eared Slider in water (C) 2013

A Great Blue Heron slowly stalks the bank, looking for his next meal. Probably some small fry that enjoy the warm water close to the bank. Still as a pole, the heron moves slowly in the grass, striking quickly when its prey is within reach.

I’ve seen ducks, Canadian geese, Snowy egrets, cardinals, vultures, and many other varieties of birds in my neighborhood. Florida is surely a state “for the birds”.

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Creeping vines (C) 2013

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Vine roots (C) 2013

Frogs serenade the night, loudly on more humid nights, and sometimes you’ll find them sticking to the windows and peering into your home. There are some even as small as a fingernail that hop through the grass in the evenings.

Lizards, particularly anoles, peruse the palm leaves and climb the stucco of my building. Curious and personable, these guys show little fear of humans. I’ve seen skinks, including one variety with a rainbow-colored tail. I’ve yet to stumble upon a snake, and I’m thankful for that!

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Anole on palm (C) 2013

When I was younger, I ventured outside and could tell you all about the critters that lived in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t have known the variety of creatures that dwell in my picture-perfect view if I never ventured to take a closer look. I’m sure my big backyard has more secrets to share with me down the road.

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PUPPIES! *available for purchase*

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“Frenchie” 2013 Acrylic on canvas board

Who doesn’t love puppies? I mean, they’re pretty much the most irresistible thing in the world. I’ve painted a few of my favorite breeds today, and here they are for you!

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“Cavalier” 2013 acrylic on canvas board

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“Bullie” 2013 acrylic on canvas board

One of the most irresistible puppies to a lot of people is the French Bulldog. With their wrinkles and wide set eyes, they’re so ugly they’re adorable. And, they have great personalities.

Another one of my favorites, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. A smaller spaniel, they’ve got all the cuteness of spaniels bred into the cutest, softest little package you could get. They’re spunky and adorable!

Lastly, I’ve painted the English Bull Terrier. Made famous by Target, this breed has a uniquely bowed “roman” nose, and they’re very sweet little cuddle bugs. Very strong and sweet cuddle bugs!

I’ve always loved dogs, and I imagine they’ll be the subject of a lot more art to come. I hope you enjoyed!

All three of these pieces are available for purchase at my Etsy Shop.

Bird of Paradise – *available for purchase*

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“Bird of Paradise” 2006 acrylic on canvas board 9×12

My favorite flower – the bird of paradise, or Strelitzia. There are 5 varieties of the plant, which is native to South Africa. I saw these often, growing up in southern California, and I’m surprised I don’t see them here in Florida. They grow in a large bush, and occasionally I’ve found the cut flowers for sale at Whole Foods. A little unusual, perhaps, in the cut flower world, but I love them.

“Bird of Paradise” is available for purchase! It is 9×12″ on canvas board and ready for framing. You can purchase it at my etsy shop by clicking HERE. The price is $75 plus shipping. 🙂

Out of the Ashes

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“Out of the Ashes” 2013 acrylic on canvas

One of the more inspiring things about life is its ability to bounce back. When we get knocked down, we get back up. When a fire burns through the land, new life sprouts from the ashes. We regrow. We rebuild. We reinvent ourselves when failure inevitably comes knocking.

This particular painting is of course, of a phoenix, emerging again from the ashes in an explosion of fire. It symbolizes, for me, reinvention, adaptation, and new beginnings. It was painted for a friend, whose son’s name is an alternate spelling of the same word:phoenix. He’s probably the closest thing I’ve known to a kid of my own, and I miss him and his family dearly!

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The Goo Goo Dolls Live

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Lead singer John Rzeznik

I had the privilege of attending last night’s Goo Goo Dolls concert with a friend who won free tickets to the show at the Florida Theater!

It was a great show and I had a fun time taking pictures there…a whole new challenge in photography, to be sure. The band is coming back with a new album, and I was happy to report that I knew most of the songs they played, and the new songs they did sound great, too. The band has been around since the 1980s, and I wasn’t surprised to see mostly middle-aged people in attendance. I’d say that my age group were the youngest in attendance last night.

It was nice, though, because I remember going to concerts in my youth and thinking how exhausting they were. A rock concert has people trying to mosh and smush you and it’s loud and uncomfortable. Teen-filled concerts are usually loud and hurt the ears from all the screaming. But, a band popular in the 90s and a crowd full of fun-loving, laid back adults was great. There were a few drunks but good times were had by all. All in all, I’m glad to hear the Goo Goo Dolls are coming back.

Here are a few cool pictures from the night.

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Find your seat!

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I loved taking pictures of the lights, too.

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Lights hanging inside the Florida Theater- also a historic site.

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Paige’s Owl

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“Paige’s Owl” 2011 acrylic on canvas board

It seems that owls have become a popular thing lately. They’re pretty cool birds and come in lots of sizes. My personal favorite has to be the Burrowing Owl:

The Burrowing Owl, as its name suggests, lives in holes in the ground in mostly desert/prairie ecosystems, though it’s also found here in Florida (I’ve yet to see one…but I haven’t been looking). If there is one thing I have to say about Florida, it’s that it is chock full of birds of every feather.

Do a google image search of the Burrowing Owl, and I promise you’ll laugh. These guys are full of character and funny expressions. They eat mostly bugs, and that includes scorpions, too! They also are known to take down rabbits, bats, and other birds, and even eat fruits like the prickly pear – and they are the only species of owl that eat fruit. They’re pretty cool little guys.

Paige’s Owl was painted for a friend’s daughter to match her very colorful bedroom.

Blues

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“Blues” 2011 acrylic on canvas board

“Blues” is one of my favorites because I just love some of the shades of blue that I used in it. This particular piece was donated to a local auction for charity. I was told the winner was quite happy to receive it.

Another color piece and dabbling in the abstract. I hope you enjoy it.