We worked two days in Everglades City, which was a 40-minute drive from Marco Island, painting and attending a wildlife demonstration. I haven’t mentioned yet that a third person was part of our little painting club. JE, as I shall refer to her since she is not a professional painter and thus probably not wild to see her name splashed all over the internet, started painting with us because she flew down from NH with me, and ran out of other ways to amuse herself while Mary and I were painting. Anyway, JE could not remember the name of Everglades City. She could remember the name of Emerald City, and it seemed to fit, so Everglades City became Emerald City for us.
Our first trip to Everglades City was on a day of dubious worth. The clouds were thick and depressing. But just when we started to set up, blue skies started to break through in such an interesting pattern that the sky became part of the focus of my painting, shown above. The nominal subject of this painting is a building called “Bank of Everglades Building”. Perhaps it did once house a Bank, when Everglades City had hopes of becoming the hub of southwest Florida, but no more. Its fate is uncertain at this time. The very tall palms surrounding it are Washington palms. This painting will not be officially finished until I scratch in the words “Bank of Everglades Building” up there near the top. I have to consult with my photographs to find out just where those words were.
The second painting is the City Hall of Everglades City. On that day, the sun was out in full force, but so were the winds, and we suffered mightily. Nearby was the Museum of Everglades City, which we gratefully used for bathroom breaks. At the end of our day, the docent commented on my camera, which is a pretty serious-looking SLR, and I explained that I used it mostly to capture references for painting. “Oh, are you the three artists that are painting in the oval?” Word had got around. We did kind of stick out, having taken our vehicle right up on the grass of the large oval, for ease of unloading. But there was a small utility building plus a large truck sharing our oval, and no foot traffic except for a few bold inquisitors, so we had no idea how conspicuous we really were in this small town.
Since you have stayed with me this far, I am rewarding you with the wild critters that we met earlier in the second painting day. The Museum had been celebrating some historical figure, and to dress up the occasion had put on a wildlife demonstration. With my telephoto lens in place, it was hard to keep from getting too close to take decent pictures. But here are some keepers in order of alligator and crocodile (both native to Florida)(babies, of course–so cute!), snake, python, iguana, tortoise (African), barn owl, white skunk, and leopard. (No panther because it was recovering from a spider bite–the brown recluse.)