Monday, April 30, 2012


oil/canvas board

As a claims adjuster, several years ago, my husband travelled to Perry County to handle a farmer's claim. Just as he stepped inside the barn to interview the man, a barn owl swooped down at him. He jumped a mile. Chuckling, the farmer said to him--"You, must be one of them city fellers." 
I recalled my husbands's amusing incident after a paintout to Adam's Cattle Ranch, 65,000 acres of grazing lands and forests in Florida.  I was so anxious to paint there, but became alarmed when I read the cautions involved with the day. They included  a reminder that we would be in the wilds--so beware of"red ants, snakes and alligators [really big ones]".
I arrived, got some brief instructions and a map. I was allowed to drive around, but had to stay on the dirt road and not go beyond any closed gates[ no chance of that]. Heading off, alone, no other cars in sight, on a rutted path toward what looked like Jurassic Park, I drove carefully, not wanting to damage the underbelly of my car--scary thought, getting stuck in the wilds.
I finally stopped near a pasture, where beautiful red brown cattle were grazing,
opened the car door, scoured the landscape, and cautiously stepped out, still looking for snakes, red ants, and alligators. I had decided that I would not use my French easel--difficult to pack up when you are trying to escape from alligators. I had heard once that they move quickly--and I move slowly. So I set up in the front seat of the car, pulled out a tiny canvas, and quickly composed the above painting. At one point I ventured a bit from the parked car to take some photos. When I looked up, a small band of cattle was in front of me, heading toward the car. I scurried back to the car , slightly frightened, but was able to quickly get a picture of them just as they turned to move in a different direction.

There were some artists who stopped to chat on their way to find a paintsite. One of them pointed out a red ant hill near my car--never noticed it.
There were no sightings of snakes or alligators. I discovered, when I returned to sign out, that the weather was too cold and overcast--snakes and alligators don't appear when the weather is too cold and overcast and that small band of cattle was probably more frightened of me than the other way around.
I will return to paint at Adam's Cattle Ranch next winter,  acknowledging  that when it comes to painting in the "wilds", I am definitely "one of them city fellers".

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