My Florida-themed work almost always starts (and often ends) out in the field, while other work is drawn from my personal snapshots from travel. West-central Florida has a much more varied landscape than non-Floridians might imagine: ancient pines, spreading oaks, the Gulf of Mexico, fresh and salt water, and an ever-changing sky. Plus, working outdoors in Florida comes with other challenges that means you can never be bored: mosquitoes, ants, biting flies in season, tiny no-see-ums, the sun, the wind, and the possibility of what we affectionately refer to as “pop-up” storms and rain – meaning it’s hot and sunny, and, hey – is that a cloud? – followed in short order by “BOOM!” and a downpour. We are the lightning capital of the US, and give it the respect it is due.
This little piece was done on a beautiful morning – with the “help” of some persistent, biting ants. That strangely blue hue to the water where it was running too hard to see reflections? Yes – it really was that intense. I was tempted to downplay it so it would seem “realistic,” but went with the real thing instead.