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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Friday, April 27, 2012


Spoon Bill at the Seabird Sanctuary

During A's visit with us, we took a five mile walk along the shore  to the Seabird Sanctuary and Avian Hospital
and found the trained staff have been busy with the rehabilitation of the Northern Gannets that arrived at the sanctuary from the panhandle oil spill areas. 
It is set up to immediately triage, stabilize, and administer fluids to malnourished or injured birds.  
Photo right by Scott Patterson: One of several rehabilitated Northern Gannets from the panhandle oil spill areas was released by the Sanctuary staff.  These beautiful birds were at the Sanctuary for several months recuperating and now fly free again.
The nonprofit Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Inc. is the largest wild bird hospital and bird sanctuary in the United States. For over 39 years, the Sanctuary has helped injured wild birds. The Sanctuary's mission is dedicated to the rescue, repair & rehabilitation of injured birds and then their release back into nature.

The Seabird Sanctuary has free admission.  There is a donation box

Here are some of the birds we visited

white pelicans resting in shade
Always exciting watching the birds being fed
My new best friend
He is now showing off
"A"  always has an eye for a pretty bird
  Many of the birds who are released back, once healthy hang around the Sanctuary and visit their inmates 

Lunch beckons us and we head for Cafe de Paris, at Indian Rocks Beach, owned and operated by the personal and welcoming French family,  Xavier, Valerie and their son Luigi.  The croque monsieur being my fabourite, the crepe du jour for A and quiche and salad for Mary Rose
Baker Extraordinaire, Valerie from Cafe de Paris
Perhaps we shall dine here 
Artist Mary Rose and Valerie - what are they laughing about?
How do you feel about birds?  Do you have a favourite?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

All Work and No Play is not good enough

Artists Helen and Violetta
The trend for portraits of homes and meaningful vistas continues.  We are hearing more young people express their desire to own and collect original paintings and art that is meaningful and recognizable to them.    With temperatures in the 80's painting outdoors requires wardrobe planning.  Shade is always desirable and sunblock.
Artists Mary Rose and Violetta
One Jewish client(Mr. X a heart transplant surgeon  and Susan a G.P.)  who have become friends and visit our home when in town, loved this recent portrait "Our Lady of the Streets in Green Robe" when he visited at New Year's.

 He phoned me following their visit and asked if I would do a portrait of a Mother & Child (but not include the head dress as shown in the Blessed Mother painting)  as a surprise gift for his wife.  He commented, and we agree, that if his wife were single she would likely be running a large orphanage somewhere in the world.  Her love and dedication to children and causes is so great.  When I asked for images of his wife as a younger woman and mother,  he refused and said "I would prefer if you just painted a mother and child and  I know I will like it".   A tall order, a lot of trust and I must say nervousness on my part.

A Mother's Love - Susan & Her Child - I feel resembles Susan as a young woman and the baby Mr. X as a child.

I can breathe deeply and say he loved it and knows exactly where it will be hung in his home

I spied this molding and felt this frame would be flattering to the subject.

Back to the street to paint another session in our latest triptych - one panel painted by each artist when put together forms one cohesive scene.

Helen Tilston paints outdoors, temp 88 degrees

Now time to watch the sunset and be with our good friends
Grand-children at Holmes cottage

All ages gather on the porch for dinner

Architects in serious discussion
The sunset reflects on the windows
How was your week?   Do you agree that a frame should enhance the piece of art or must it match your decor?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It is a Precious Thing and It is a holy thing

Obstacles and delays can be blessings in disguise.  Our nephew, a London Architect, is visiting us and he is a joy to have in our home.  He sketches and has accompanied me plein air painting.  This week, on our agenda was to view the new Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, designed by architects HOK from Tampa, Florida, Yann Weymouth being the chief architect.

Dali Museum

The new building‘s 68,000 sqf doubles the size of the original one storey warehouse Dali Museum built in 1982.
Utilizing free-form geodesic geometry, the triangulated glass organically flows around and attaches to the rigid unfinished concrete box, a play of hard and soft, protecting Dali’s paintings and simultaneously providing natural daylight and openness to the adjacent bay. This is the first use of this type of free-form geodesic geometry in the United States.
Mesmerizing visitors within the museum is the coiled concrete form that greets them at the reception desk. The poured in place raw concrete spiral staircase is fitted with light cable-stayed stainless steel guardrails. The material choices provide a subtle juxtaposition along with an obvious nod to Dali’s allure with the double helix and other spiral forms in nature.

St. Petersburg Harbour

7 foot Manatee
The Grand Prix was the previous weekend and the road blocks were yet to be uninstalled which forced us to park and wind our way along the waterfront to the Museum.  I particularly wanted A to view the Museum from the water.  We noticed a ripple in the water and what should it be???  a manatee.  
Manatee came to us, she liked our whistling
We whistled and it came to the sea wall

We asked for her blessing
The size of this Manatee is approximately 7 feet.
A saying Good-bye to the Manatee
Our day was spectacular.  Art, architecture and the manatee.

Do you seek out buildings because of the architect?

Bright Blue Rose - Written and sung by Jimmy MacCarthy. (dark hair)  Christy Moore joins in.