We left snowy February for Cedar Key in Florida and, hopefully, sun and warmth. This year we were staying in a condo right on the Gulf, small, but a joy to us birders.
Our deck was right above the beach and the tidal changes brought the birds to our door. The rush of wings of the black skimmers, hundreds of them was a delight to hear; and Julie enjoyed feeding the laughing gulls and watching their incredible antics. (who’s laughing?)
We also watched the clam boats going out and returning with their baskets full.
We walk or bicycle or kayak everyday, enjoying this small town—The old hotel where movie stars once stayed and now serves great meals, quirky signs that offer frozen kayaks, lovely cracker cottages, fishermen mending crab traps, and the “Big Deck” for grouper and oysters.
On a quiet morning the sunrise lights the “Docks”, the tourist part of Cedar Key. This dock was once the terminus of the cross-country railroad, one of the earliest in Florida.
Across the bay is the island, Atsena Otie, where once there was a pencil mill making the pencils out of the many cedars there. There was a small village there too, but all was wiped out in a huge hurricane in the 1890′s. For many years the island was a big commercial fishing center until Florida outlawed netting of fish. Now the biggest industries are
clamming, crabbing and oyster gathering.
The first weeks were cool and windy , but we tried to paint out of the wind. We were bundled up, but at least in the sun.
But later, Julie and I kayaked out to the island to paint for an afternoon. We pulled our kayaks up on the shore and sat ourselves up to paint..
We had only been there a short while when I heard a boat slapping in the water; when I got up I found my kayak floating in the water! How quickly the tides change.
We enjoy birdwatching and breakfast at one of our favorite haunts, Annie’s. This morning we saw roseate spoonbills and ibis.
Julie and I have a last kayak on a beautiful and quiet day, for too soon we will leave Cedar Key.
And the clouds will come in over the island as we leave on Easter Sunday for Michigan, trading sun and warm for snow!
Welcome home, April 3rd!
P. S. See our last post for some of our paintings of Cedar Key
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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged beach, Cedar Key, clammers, courtyard, docks, Florida, Gulf, gulls, island, kayak, ocean, outdoors, tide | 1 Comment »
“Sarah Putnam” watercolor by Carol
Don’t miss “Celebrating Women” art show at the Oliver Art Center starting this Friday, March 8th-April 7th. Opening reception Friday 5-7. These are the works Carol and I entered. Hope you get out and see the show!
“Girls Night” pastel by Julie
“To Market” pastel by Carol
“Plein Air Afternoon” pastel by Julie
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We left cold chickadees and watchful dogs to fly to Oregon and enjoy dawn on the Colombia River.
This was the destination of Lewis and Clark and is now the small town of Astoria , Oregon. The river meets the Pacific here and “crossing the bar” makes it one of the most dangerous ports in the U.S.
The town itself was named after John Jacob Astor and his lumbering though he was never there!
There was sunshine as we walked to the Pacific shore. Can you see the rainbows on the waves?
We went inland to a huge bay where the oystermen and crabbers have their homes and piers.
Of course we had to buy some seafood. The oysters shooters and salmon were wonderful.
Astoria is home to a fishing fleet and sailboats alike.
In the summer the docks are full of the sea lions who become pests but I enjoyed hearing their barking and hooting all the way up the hill at Caz’s house.
On another day Caz took us south of Astoria to see a beautiful waterfall. These eagles stayed on their perch undisturbed by me as I took their picture.
The Oregon climate—mostly mist and rain—coats all the landscape with a mossy coat of green. Great place for a “Hobbit” movie. We found it beautiful.
On the way back through the valley we stopped at Olney’s General store and tavern for lunch. One side groceries and the other food and bar. We had the day’s special, Beef Stroganoff, and it was very good and filling.
We hiked up and down the hills;
climbed the “Cathedral Tree” trail with Melissa;
ate too big barbeques,
and watched the sunset over town and bay.
A wonderful place to visit.
“Caz” Watercolor by Carol
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Winter Blue Horizon
We welcomed the holiday season starting the weekend before Christmas with a winter storm and no electricity! We were warm enough with the woodstoves, but this is the first time we had electricy out for an extended time since we moved here, and not having city water means a well that pumps on electricity, woops! Carol new the signs and filled buckets, but we spent a lot of time melting snow on the woodstove to flush toilets! I can’t tell you how many times I flicked a light switch out of habit….. It really was nice to have a break, reminding us of how reliant we are on the public utilities. Even our cell towers sustained damage, and our phones did not work for a couple of days. I am very thankful for the luxury of electricity, and all it entails, but if it wasn’t for the impending holidays, I would have enjoyed the quiet time.
We had lunch between holidays with the new owners of the Old Red School House B&B, I had been their realtor. They were enjoying the white Christmas. He was so taken with the snow and the subtle colors, he showed me a picture he took on his smart phone. It inspired me to do the above painting. Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes to help us appreciate what is around us everyday!
It has been about 10 days since we have seen the sun for more than a few minutes. The much shortened gray days have made we want to hibernate in my warm house, plug in the Christmas tree (yes, it is still up!) for auxilary mental light, and PAINT!
Here is one I have had on my list and mind for over a year now, hope you enjoy it! Julie
Tony on the Pipes
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All the leaves are off the trees, and just after Thanksgiving, we woke up to 6″ of snow that Sunday!
Of course, that was the day we left to visit relatives in the South! 18 hours one way, thank goodness for audio books!
We arrived, and the next day our granddaughter and I were busy making gingerbread houses and cookies.
We visited family, listened to stories told and retold, and shared treasures from past generations.
We got home safe, and back to work. Real estate is still going, but not at the frantic pace of last summer and fall! I am just now being able to paint after 6 months, and have a lot of paintings floating around the brain. I am working on a Christmas card, so let me know your thoughts, the first painting at the top, or the next one below (or should I keep trying…..). Hope you enjoy the short blog, Julie
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”I love Paris in the fall,
”I love Paris when it drizzles
” I love Paris every moment—-”
My daughter Kelly and I spent 10 days walking Paris in October and as Porter said, I loved every moment of adventure on every street.
We climbed the 400 steps to the top of Notre Dame and became gargoyles with the many on the towers.
They fascinated me and many of them actually work. The view was wonderful and in the bell tower was this quote from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
”All Paris was spread out at his feet, with her thousand turrets, her undulating horizon, her river winding under bridges, her stream of people flowing to and fro in the streets; with the cloud of smoke rising from her many chimneys; with her chain of crested roofs pressing in ever tightening coils round about Notre Dame”. —-victor hugo—
Across the Seine was Ste. Chapelle, the amazing chapel of stained glass, ablaze with color and light. It absolutely surrounds you. And then of course it was time for a break in one of the ever-present cafes.
We took buses, the Metro and trains and one evening, the Batabus on the Seine.
It was a wonderful way to see dusk come to the city. We were able to visit the Louvre that night. In the evening, in light mist, the famous (or infamous) Pyramid glowed with light and bounced in reflections in front of the dark castle of the Louvre.
On a bright sunny morning we took the train to Givernay, about an hour from Paris. It is Monet’s home and gardens and pond; what a thrill to see the source of so many paintings that I have known over the years.
Monet was passionate about his gardens and particularly the waterlily pond for which he had diverted a stream. As we walked around the pond we were amazed to see a man launch a skiff on the pond and proceed to scoop up stray leaves around the waterlilies. I learned that this scooping began with Monet himself , for he wanted no stray plants to spoil the reflections of the waterlilies.
Pastel by Carol
The gardens around the house were a confusion of color for the artist. Many of his friends painted there in this neverending display. My camera was awestruck by the number of pictures I took.
We lunched in the sun and walked the village, even stumbling on the Monet family grave—with only a small sign on the churchyard gate announcing it.
But what a lovely day in the sun and color.
Back in Paris we went the next day to the Orangerie where special huge rooms below ground were built for Monet’s “Waterlilies”. The paintings completely surround you as you might be surrounded by the pond and its setting. It is light with the natural light from above for this is a completely separate part of the museum.
We went to the Orsay, the impressionist museum in the old train station, beautifully re-used with the huge clock windows still working. (See the movie, “Hugo” and you will see these windows). This was probably one of our favorite museum for all of Impressionist paintings.
On a rainy day we went to Paris’ most glamourous department store, the LaFayette. Many floors and gold and glass elevators, expensive designer goods and a whole-floor cafeteria with wine on tap from a room-size wine barrel. The food choices were fantastic and we even had a view from our little table. On the roof-top we viewed the Opera building and a misty Paris.
We toured the Luxembourg Gardens, stopping to sit and do some sketching of the palace and the still-blooming flowers. Had supper on the Left Bank and walked all the way home along the Seine, soaking up the reflections of palaces and towers.
We saw the Eiffel Tower; took waterbuses and the Metro, and walked the Champs- Elysees and the Place de la Concorde. We enjoyed pastries and markets and castles and cafes! What a joy to visit the fabled city of Paris.
Bonjour, my friends, Carol
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