Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve- Underwater Resource Training.

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It is no secret I love being outdoors. I love seeing the different environments and ecosystems. It is this love that is reflected in my artwork and that has led me to a career in the environmental field. Last week that day job sent several of us to a training for underwater resource identification. The objective was to learn how to recognize and identify the underwater marine resources that are present in our area. This included a day on the water in Tampa Bay, and ended with a pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I was lucky that there were more than a couple of underwater cameras. I would love to use these images as part of a larger artwork sometime in the future. But for now check out some of the photos of our adventure.

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Circle B Bar Reserve

There is a gem of a place located off Winter Lake Road in Lakeland Florida that I had the pleasure to visiting recently. If you enjoy birding, the outdoors and Florida nature than this is the place for you. Named after a cattle ranch that once occupied the property. The Polk County Environmental Lands program acquired the property and completed several restoration projects in 2005 and 2006 to restore the land back to its historical hydrologic function. The result is an oasis of wildlife. We spent a day wandering through the oak hammock, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp and along the shore of Lake Hancock, and still didn’t walk all of the trails. Osprey, Bald Eagle, wading birds, water fowl, and alligators were in abundance.

There is no entrance fee at the park. So, pack a lunch and don’t forget your sunscreen and camera because the opportunities to capture great photos are endless. Here are just a few that we got during our little adventure.

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I can’t wait for spring. We plan on going back throughout the year to experience the changes in the flora and fauna that the different seasons bring.

WIP- Osprey drawing part 1

There are many stages to a work of art. Many of mine begin with a walk in the woods. My sweetie and I spend countless hours hunting with our cameras. Sometimes what we capture goes into the vast collection of all that we have seen, sometimes I use them drawing practice and just do quick sketches that never see the light of day, sometimes the make it into a larger work of art as an element in the background. Then every now and again I see a photo and say I must paint that!

Here is one of those instances. We caught this shot of an osprey in flight with her meal. Everything about it is so powerful I knew it would be my next painting.

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Normally I would do a pencil drawing around 8×10 or 9×12. If I were feeling really industrious maybe 11×14. Then possibly complete a painting in watercolor. From the moment I saw this I thought it needs to be done in oils, and larger than my normal size. So I busted out the big Bristol and got to setting up what will hopefully be an 18×24 inch oil painting when I am done.

I start by getting a very light sketch with blue pencil just to get my proportions and landmarks correct.

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Once I get that established I start to lay in the shadows and details.

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I don’t know how long it will take me to get the drawing completed. Tonight my drawing was halted by an orange and stripey distraction.

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Oh well maybe I will get some more completed tomorrow night.