Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Art in the Preserve ~ Sketching at Fakahatchee

Strathmore sketchbook, Micron Pigma Sepia pen,Daniel Smith watercolors, Niji aquabrush.
 Yesterday I had an opportunity to go sketching at Fakahatchee - and what a glorious day it was!  Temperatures in the middle 70's (F), a tall blue sky stretching to infinity, and the golden sun glowing through the tapered ends of wind-tossed palm fronds and grasses.  This watercolor sketch was done along a section of a piece of the Old 41Highway south of the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, a spot also known as Weaver's Station. 

Strathmore sketchbook, Derwent 8B water soluble pencil, Niji aquabrush.
I wrote about Weaver's Station in a previous post, and learning about the history of this area made re-visiting it even more memorable. Looking across this broad expanse of wet prairie, I imagine that my view isn't that much different than one from the 1930's.

Sketching another part of the landscape, I did a value study of a falling-down shed with it's weathered wood and rusty metal contrasted against the lushness of grass and fern.  There is something about the never-ending flatness and vastness of Florida prairie that feeds my soul, a sense of spreading out and reaching up, of infinite possibilities.

Pitt artist pens on an unknown smooth paper.
Baby lubbers are called nymphs.
And then, a sight to make me smile...tiny black  grasshoppers all over my palette and water bottle.  Little lubber grasshoppers trekking across the asphalt and heading for the grassy margins along the road.  There must have been nearly a hundred of these sturdy little fellows, 3/8" long, black with neon orange "swooshes."  One even posed long enough for a short study with my Pitt pens.  Karen tells me that they hatch from eggs laid in the ground, and that these were probably recent hatchlings.  Little black lubbers grow into beautiful large grasshoppers, which I was able to sketch a while back.

Ahhh....  happiness is windy hair and a messy palette!