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Barbara Ann Clay-Marshall is an amazing lady who often can be found pontooning around the St. John’s River. I met her through the Gateway Center For the Arts Photography group. She is the kindest person, so caring and genuine you can’t help but embrace her. I knew her through her photography,  but remembered she told me she painted also. This week when she emailed me and said she hoped she would see me on the 3rd, I immediately emailed back, “what have I forgotten?” I was sure I was missing out on something I was supposed to be responsible for, but she said she was having a reception for her exhibit at The White Cup Coffeehouse in Debary. How could I say no? So, I went and I am so glad I did!

I parked and outside sat a woman who had you sign a card for a drawing for free coffee and there was also a chance of winning a portrait painted by Ann.

The place was filled with people and as soon as you walked in, someone handed me 3-D glasses. It turns out that Ann had painted in a way that everything was dimensional while wearing the glasses.   It was so much fun!   Have a look

Too bad you don’t have your glasses on — these are too cool,  a hat lifts off the head,  eyes raise above the face, flowers want to be plucked.

Ann had a thick notebook with prints of her work, here ya go…   She paints in all types of medium,  

some in charcoal, acrylic, oils and pastels.  Ann taught elementary school for 24 years and now spends many hours working at and enjoying her art.

Ann looked so happy as she greeted friends and family-   she always has a smile, it’s the way I think of her, with her zest for life and learning and that’s how she affects people, they can feel her warmth just by being anywhere in the same room. So if you happen upon the city of Debary, on 17/92 across from the Winn Dixie, get ready for a treat with your coffee or tea or good eats at The White Cup – the scenery will have you trapped within the dimensional art world of  Barbara Ann Clay-Marshall, all you can do is go with the flow…

WHEW – What a day! I did the dumbest thing, forgetting that my CD/DVD drive has disappeared off my computer. And since my Photoshop was not working properly, I decided to go ahead and un-install the Photoshop and reinstall. The trouble was, after I uninstalled, I forget the drive would not recognize the CD, so I feeling like pulling out my freshly dyed hair. I am using some vague program to clean up and resize the pics for this blog, but can’t get real creative with my own work. And add to it that no matter which icon I click on, I can’t get the paragraphs to behave either – this is going to be a long blog, literally.  Frankie
is helping me by shedding and drooling all over the keyboard.  
Tonight was Alive After  5- aptly dubbed, Tropical Nights. It was a
busy one.   I was amazed at the crowd seeing that the last two Alive After 5’s have not been as packed.   This one was rocking. My mission was to go and see the art for the fund raiser for the Icla da Silva Foundation,
they match bone marrow with Leukemia patients. This was going on at The Art Affair Gallery.    Mauricio Murillo, photographer/artist has been active with this foundation and The Art Affair decided to raise money via raffle tickets and bidding on newly painted work. Mauricio had the big room and it was wonderfully painted and decorated with his comical Gummy Bear Art.
There was a camera and loose gummies for making your own individual picture.   And Mauricio was talking with the customers.   These are internationally known artists working their magic on canvas before the public.  Marie DeCosta was painting a leopard to bid on.  She does wonders with motion in a painting.
Both Marie and Peter Cerreta are favorites, I probably say that each time but it’s worth repeating. Here’s a look at Peter’s work:      Peter painting and his sculptures 
Toelle Hovan was busy beautifying purses and canvas.
Trish Vevera  too had paintbrush in hand   outside was a caricature artist, I think he was the one at Rae Marie’s from my last blog when I was there.  Here’s a view of the new artwork on the walls:
Tom Abbott wasn’t there, but knew his work right away. And that is Marie’s painting all finished and looking from the outside in. Adam and I bought raffle tickets, we are excited to see if we win anything.
Out on the streets, here were the sights:  Suddenly the wind began to blow and the sky darkened, but luckily the rain passed over. I stopped by The Gallery on First and Mary was there to greet me with her warm  hello and then she introduced me to their artist of the month, Virginia Maxfield,  she was charming and very excited about how she came about painting with such bold strokes and color. Her work elevating! She has taken an intuitive approach, doesn’t think about it, just goes with what she feels and obviously she feels great -Take a look:   You must see these close up, they were dancing with color. She paints some with tempera some acrylic. I took the photos with distance to them and now I am sorry I didn’t zero in to give you a
closer look, gives you an excuse to come to Sanford’s galleries and have a look yourself.
I ran into Sharon Hyder in her booth and found her sketching.  Otherwise, Gallery On First has lots of interesting artists and artwork available to buy. The folk art is very welcoming and makes one feel elevated by the mood.  I hope one day soon my own daughter Andrea   will get enough of her own work to submit for a show, here’s a sample:
love her cat art!
Back out on the street was music, food and artists with their tables.
The Consignment shop, Bailey’s Upscale always has 50% off during Alive After 5.
One vendor Joanne Borges who does detailed ceramics has made a new fun line,
Also ran into Bonnie Sprung who is very prolific, she had many items for sale from magnets, to paintings and clothing:  
So have you had enough  of this layout? I have, it’s been hours since I have been doing this and I am going out to look at the Perseids meteor shower.  But before leaving, Sanford I saw two lovely familiar faces, sweet Ari and Adam. 
And a shout out to my middle child who turns 30 today, Happy Birthday new Daddy!   I did leave Sanford and enjoyed looking at some of the old architecture as I made my way home   When I arrived at home, there was my Ringo,  but he didn’t get to go fishing tonight, I was too busy doing the blog.
Gotta run and look at the sky! Have a great view of the heavens and a wonderful weekend!  Enjoy!

I think Ringo is cheating on me – I have had suspicions since he left a few weeks ago, casually strolling off and then I didn’t see him for two days – two very long and worried days.  In our years together, he has never done that. Why is it I am attracted to those bad boys with flashing blue eyes?  He IS fixed, (and then again, so was my ex-husband.) Somehow, both my ex and Ringo reached middle age and started exploring.  I could kick out a philandering husband,  but a cat – how do you tell a pet to go and not come back? Isn’t gonna happen.
Ringo left again last Thursday night after I came home from Tampa and didn’t show up till this morning, (Sunday) then he was all rubs and love. Typical ‘lost’ male syndrome, don’t admit to anything and try and smooth things over with an abundant show of love. 
He came in, ate, rested, then wanted back out. He’s snoozing on the porch for now. Wonder if he will go off again tonight? And for how long?  Maybe it’s because I was gone away for over a week, (though Adam is always here,) or because he’s not getting fresh fish, (I can’t help it that fishing has been terrible),  maybe some other family is spoiling Ringo with better food, I know they couldn’t love him any more than I do.  I don’t get it, I’m just not good at reading the male species anymore and I’m too old to play games,  but this is not normal Ringo behavior so what can I do? I love that crazy cat and do forgive him, but I hate when he disappears for so long.  I realize I can’t hang on to something still feral neither men nor cats. At least with Ringo, I don’t have
have any legal filings if he splits, a sign will do! 
Have been taking up the slack from being out of town. Guess reality means paying the bills and getting things back into order.
For two days it has been raining on and off, I love it, the oncoming dark clouds and penetrating thunder.  
The sky blackens and threatens and the rain comes down beautifully beating. When I returned everything was so dry, this rain has been just what was needed.         How about my new camera’s panorama view!  I am enjoying my new Sony Cybershot HX1. It has many wonderful features, but the viewfinder and macro modes are not one of them. It’s quite inferior to my Kodak and makes me miss that camera which suddenly went black, literally, you turn it on and there is nothing but a black screen, I have checked everything on it. I think it’s dead. I will have to contact Kodak and see who services them. And speaking of Kodak, I got the photo book I made, ‘Crow Tao‘  from their site. I was so disappointed, the cover was off center and the binding very cheap looking.
My Sony Alpha is still being repaired, so I am learning more and more about the Cybershot.
I am still lost in space regarding how to sell art. Are brains patterned to stick in neutral? Mine seems to want to just make art, take pictures and the thought of prepping the work, setting up the website, doing PayPal and all the detailed work freaks me out. I will do stupid stuff like tell myself each week, okay this is it, I am going to get things started, then I am lost again on a tangent of sameness, and getting nowhere.  Organization skills have never been bred into me! I might as well just buy a Lotto ticket each week instead of dreaming of selling my art, better odds with the Lotto!
The wildlife around here is minimal. The heat is turned up to broil, they say it is one of the hottest June and Julys on record in our state of Florida.  The sun stares you down as soon as it rises and there is only escape into stores and homes. Once you open the door on your vehicle, it’s like being submerged inside a La Brea Tar Pit – you feel drenched and exhausted when you shut the door and wait for the air to cool it back down. The only backyard sights  I see are redwing blackbirds, bluejays, a few squirrels, doves, dragonflies and grasshoppers. here’s the view:    Those grasshoppers are still everywhere.    The turtles are still looking for a handout at the lake
young redwing blackbirds.   Lily pad.

The cranes come to visit and go after old Miss Sealy   but
she escaped.
Papa crane makes his throaty noise.    Crow

And that’s the weekend, maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be able to show more or tell you I have accomplished something. Right now it is Monday morning, the rains are supposed to continue, (a good thing) and I will leave you with a few views from inside and out my window at 8:14am :    The sun is literally a disk up there.   the red passion flowers finally back to taking over the fence
mocking bird on roof
AND, me cleaning off window to take a picture of the  inside – have a great week!  

Started out at Rae Marie’s, Framing 508 Gallery,    She had artist, Alfredo Mujica painting an adorable dog portrait.  His cubism work is right next to the dog he was working on. He does caricatures for private parties.   Rae Marie always has new and exciting ideas going on. Besides being an accomplished artist herself and framing expert, she has new products at her framing Gallery, Healthy Coffee’s by the Healthy Coffee Company.     These are blends of natural and organic herbs with the coffee like ginseng and reishi. Adam drank one and said it was delicious. I am not a coffee drinker, but Rae Marie supplied me with an energy packet to mix with water and try. It’s too late for energy right now however.  Check with her for opportunities with new coffee line. The web address is www.healthycoffee.com or you can get in touch with Rae Marie at 407-324-1577. She is also carrying a new line of honey from Winter Springs called Black Bear Honey.    Rae Marie designed the adorable logo   based on Lola, a baby bear rescued and handed over to live at the Care Foundation,  www.theCAREfoundation.org — a non profit organization that for 20 years rescues and cares for abused and abandoned wildlife based out of Apopka, Florida. Rae Marie can do amazing things with a brush or with framing materials, here’s a view into her gallery at 508 S. Sanford Avenue, Sanford, Fl.
left and right  and her studio has many many framing and matting choices.  Rae Marie is always the most enthusiastic person and I swear she always glows. Go see her shop and enjoy conversation. She has all types of services to offer.
Upon leaving we noted the Stokes Fish company building and had to pay it homage:  It’s no longer a fish store, but another business leases the space.
Onto First Street and stopped at Ronda’s Art Affair. they were selling raffle tickets with the money going toward the,”Buy Arts, Save a Life” fundraiser for the Icla da Silva Foundation that recruits bone marrow donors for adults and children with Leukemia. From August 12 through September 4th, a percentage of the sales from the gallery will benefit the foundation. On Thursday August 12, artists will be there at the gallery doing live art. There will be a Silent Auction and Raffles for gifts. The Raffle drawing will be August 27th, go take a look around the gallery and help a great cause.  www.artaffairgallery.com — Here’s a peek at the wonderful Art Affair, that Ronda always has her wheels grinding and keeps things moving.   Love Peter Cetera’s work,  wonderful cerebral thought to them.  Peter also does and teaches  sculpture and had his students work portrayed with his art, be has got a crew of really bright artists. Enjoy their work:  
There are many more at the Gallery . And of course, here’s some more paintings, Peter’s and others.  Featured in the main room was the mixed media of Melissa Daddis. Her mixed media is playful with strong abstract tendencies.
She has an upbeat feel to her approach to art.  Then of course Tom Abbott and his wonderful sculptured/dimensional work is always rather what I would title, ‘thrusting’, it’s out there to grab and keep your attention.  He loves making art that really comes alive, the picture lacks a lot in the detail of this piece. There are other artist’s work all over the gallery, and can’t name the names, but enjoy the work:

Those two are Ronda’s, she has so much style and a love for trees, and for tree love.

And Mauricio and his gummy art.  And Toelle Hovan who was painting outside Julie Kessler’s presence  and Leon, the Lake Mary food critic was on hand too.  www.lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com/.  I think he eats out more than I do, go read his reviews if you are looking for a place to dine around here.
Walked on down to Jeanine Taylors, Gallery on First. Melissa Menzner had a lot of work there and is doing a class on memory boxes which is something she has added to her fantastic body of work  – to see it check it out at the site  http://www.jtfolkart.com/
I adore her pieces!   She totally hand sculpts each face. The expressions and eyes are just wonderful.
These pieces are off the internet,  you can see what the Gallery At First has at the website.  Went by each room, lots of work in progress. Lorie Ann Harris had just done a bird  a wonderful bird that I can’t do justice by.   Her mom, Sharon Hyder had a cozy and warm fuzzy painting  – her paintings always invoke a warm, inviting feeling and that is just how she seems too. Jeanine also features the wood workings of in-depth artist,  Ab the Flagman, his osprey is just filled with detail, have a look when you go.
Back out on the street, the sky was making it’s own art:   The almost full moon was just beautiful, looked like it was filtering through smoke.   The clouds just could not make up their minds about rain and decided none was necessary.
Lake Monroe looked pretty calm as we made our way home.  Lots of enthusiastic fishermen and women though.
My Sony Alpha trew me for another loop while at Rae Maries, the mechanical motor that retracts the lens has taken another lens out and I fear it will do my long lens again. So back to the shop and I shall be camera-less, like a man without a country, a dog without a bone, actor out on loan, riders on the storm, whatever, I will be miserable and grumpy – But also might be time to explore a new camera to replace the Kodak. So don’t look for a blog for a few days. Enjoy your weekend, mine will last a million years without a camera in my hands – with the third eye gone, I feel almost blind…

Stopped at animal services first.  The building is across form the Seminole County .    jail. It conjured up images of an incarcerated Ringo.  
I looked at all the strays they had, no Ringo. I looked at each cage, there were cats who wanted attention and called out for it, reaching their paws between bars for a point of human contact. I saw cats too scared to ask for anything. They had many many animals!
I was then ushered back up front to fill out a form about my missing cat and I left them with a photo. They said I had to check, they would not call and they only keep animals 5 days, so I will look again on Monday if he has not shown up. I left there with the ‘indifference’ weighing a bit heavily upon me. There was no sympathy at all. But maybe you get that way after seeing so many abuse cases and animals needing a home that will never have one. So many animals euthanized every day, animals that just want love and a decent life like we do. It must harden your heart if you are to survive the animal services job.
Wanted to take photos of the cuties in a cage, but waited for a supervisor who never came so I left. They were busy which was good,
unless all the people were dropping off animals.)
Left the Government compound and across the street is the Humane Society.     I stopped and left them with a photo and the woman encouraged me to look through their cats. While I walked around the cat cages, another woman approached and I told her why I was there and she was so very sweet and helpful and pointed to the doors where the cats were in small rooms hanging out. She said to check out each room and look at the outside fenced areas too.  They have a wonderful new facility where the cats can be “free in rooms that have access to outside via fenced in areas. The cats looked so relaxed and happy out there. This is truly the way it should be for animals awaiting adoption. There were many I could have taken home with me, but I still have the two other cats, and since none of these was Ringo, I left empty handed.  www.ohs-spca.org/ both agencies have sites to view the animals if you are considering adoption.
upon returning, I saw a couple of the neighbors, passed out flyers and listened to stories of their Ringo encounters. One woman said he was a terrific ‘rater’ and had seen Ringo kill rats on her property, another said Ringo would fish with his kids and they would feed him the fish, yep that is so Ringo!  One said Ringo had a regular run most days, spending time at his house, then next door on the neighbor’s carport, then he usually headed back to my house in late morning which is the way it was. He would come inside to sleep at around 11pm, then wake around 4am go out and be back on the porch waiting for breakfast,    leave for a few hours and come back and nap on the porch till fishing time. Where is he?

Adam thought he would take me to lunch to the new restaurant, Athenian Garden on H.E Thomas where Fishbones and Applebees is.
I only wish I had had my camera with me. They have just opened and it had a wonderful space and nice presence. The waitresses were helpful and the menu was loaded, excellent choices. I had a salad and spanakopita, Adam ordered a chicken gyro. Our meals were delicious and we had dessert of something I can’t say, Galatoboureko, a custard baked in Phylo with honey, YUM. I promise to go back and take photos, it was a beautiful presentation.  Go  and enjoy!
The draw of a new digital camera calls to me, must I wait for a sale? I think about it and rationalize a lot. Will see if Sunday’s papers bring something of a price drop on that Sony I like.
As we drove back home, I was hoping to see Ringo somewhere, but no such luck, I am thinking more and more that someone nabbed him. I put his face up on two stopsigns, no one has called, more and more I think someone liked his looks and drove away with him.
I only hope they love him and treat him like we did!  

a beautiful and quite humid night — but had a wonderful evening being treated to dinner with Andrea and Lee. Lee is quite the master of the grill and his two dogs are nearby to see what might be reclaimed if someone drops something.
Merle is giving the snake “scent the air” look as he hurries around the pool. Sweet Loretta is always bright eyed for squirrels and lizards.   The weekend has gone so fast again and here it is Monday. Sleep avoids me and my brain lacks because of it.
The heat is so great, I hardly a flicker of a wing today outside my window, it seems the heat tethered them somewhere shady, but nowhere in sight. Their crumbs and seed remained intact until almost 3:00 pm when the crane family came.
I walked around the yard around 4pm and there was really nothing to visually stimulate me, no bugs, no freshly bloomed flowers since we have been hammered with heat the past couple days and the heads of the roses and many other plants look as if they have succumbed to the torment.  The lilies wilt, the roses die, sunflowers dry up,   a good rain is always so replenishing and needed, but not today. I did take the hose and give a bit of relief to what I have planted by the bird feeder. The weeds pull up with ease, but found that the lack of energy to extract them from Hell wasn’t worth the try of being in the weedy garden garden for longer than ten minutes. It has become a haven for the grasshoppers who seem to take advantage of their numbers and breed.     Clinging to screens, on the ground,  they seem to hop around and enjoy their tandem-ness.
Part of the day I explored trying to look into doing a photography book on Blurb or LuLu, my Ovation friend Lana Gramlich did a beautiful job getting hers together.   http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1464395/?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=140×240#
Why can’t I make one? Tomorrow I will check it out. They are a bit pricey.  I love how my friends Lana and Robin Pedrero are always marketing their work, where is my ‘chip’ that can be inserted into my head so I can be as good at marketing as they are?
Here’s some photos from the past two days, not much exciting, but still,  the alternative of finding something to admire is always urging me on, and I am hoping that you find it fun also. Have an excellent week. And yes, I am still on baby watch.
The only winged thing flying around.   an immature grasshopper.  A crow from two days ago:     and that’s it, sleep is calling, must obey!  Enjoy the new week and may it bring exciting things for you!

I came back from Tampa yesterday as we thought our new grandchild was coming sooner rather than later, but after all doctors reports and tests, she will be coming on her own terms, not to a timespan set by the doctor for his surgical convenience. So figured I actually had a bit more time in between and thought I would spend time here and get things in order and today I was rewarded as I drove to run errands and saw a fox squirrel running on the golf course.    I drove home as fast as I could seeing I didn’t have a camera. I hoped that fox squirrel would be roaming nearby for a few minutes and I was right. Though when I got on the Mayfair Golf course, the rodent kept running away!  First I looked left and right to make sure I wasn’t going to be “whacked” by some golfer! But it had been raining and was still thundering so the place was empty.
Walking toward the animal was like trying to catch your cat who only lets you get so close and then runs off about twenty feet further just to tease you as you approach.  Here’s the pics, I was lucky that there was a second one not far from the first and he let me have some photo access at a distance.
Leaping away, I had to hurry, luckily a guy in a golf cart gave me a lift.

I wondered how close I could get before I could get a good shot.

Closer and closer… The darker one was not quite as jumpy as the first.    What a handsome face and coloring he had.   I love seeing them.

At home all was hot and quiet, the birds were just not very busy at all. The woodpecker is still busy feeding his brood.
Had one crow come visit this morning and of course, the young jays.
Oh, it’s good to be home again….

I was feeding the birds this morning and saw two wasps trying to make a nest about 14 feet up near the roof line and fireplace and noticed a hole through the plastic soffit, a hole that would easily accommodate rodents going into the roof again. 
That wasn’t there just last week, so something had to be making a place to nest in the attic. What is so weird was a couple nights ago it was about 2am as I sat at my desk and suddenly Ringo jumped up onto the outside window ledge looking up at the fireplace, it was like the dead had come alive, I jumped about a foot! I bet it was a mouse or rat scampering up.  Ringo is supposed to be part of the natural pest control around here.
But anyway, as I looked at the hole I got paranoid about critters going up into the attic and had to do something. So since neither of my ladders was the right size, I borrowed one from the neighbor, it was a perfect size. I cut a piece of Adam’s VCR video plastic box and got superglue and steel wool, I heard rodents hate bumping into steel wool. So I shoved it through the hole and superglued the plastic over the hole. For now it will do the trick… I think.  I filled in the area with more steel wool while Adam held me steady on the ladder. My neighbor who I borrowed the ladder from lives on the lake also and has put traps every fifteen feet around the perimeter of his house with rat dehydrating bait inside. I might have to try that too, though I am always hesitant with Ringo, what if he grabbed a poisoned rat, would he get poisoned too? That’s something that makes me weary.
As I sit here tonight, I only hope there were no rats in the roof that I have sealed, it’s so hot up there I don’t know why they would want to spend time melting. I do have four traps still up there that I re-bait and check every few weeks. After seeing a rat one in my bird feeder several months back,  I know they can enjoy the benefits of left over bird food just like the raccoons.   I don’t hear anything above me, yet and Ringo is behind me snoozing, I watch for his radar ears. When he looks concerned, I will too.   
Fishing was lousy, you  would think I’d give up trying already rather than complain, but it was so nice out tonight, great breeze despite the fact it was 96 this afternoon. I did catch one shiner which Ringo promptly ate. After that is was a turtle race as usual.  The fun part was watching the woodpecker come in to feed his yapping babies. They must be young as I see no faces looking out of the hole when the  male leave.  Here he is grabbing some cut up fries from Arby’s, he knows a good thing when he sees it. Here he is with the twins.  And leaving   and more in between!    I enjoy watching their black and white jackets fly by.   Have not seen any of the pileated, bigger woodpeckers lately.
just these red bellied cuties. And how about the hummingbird moth, they are so cooperative, I could easily hold it and stroke it’s little soft head.  

Over head were the usual plane routes, They fly right over my head, I always wonder if the Captain of one of the regular routes comes on and says, “see that lady down there fishing? She’s at it almost every night, that’s how I know I’m on the right path to the airport.”
Sometimes those planes are so very very low. 

How I wish I liked to get on them and could fly somewhere! But soon I will be making my way toward Tampa to see my Granddaughter’s birth, we are all so excited, she will be a tiny little birdie.
The afternoon heat has gotten to me, I have been able to mow most of the yard, but gave up feeling like a gallon of water was sweating off me.  It’s just too intense, the sky is clear and blue –
I keep thinking about The Gulf of Mexico, I keep waiting for the actual break in the news saying it has been capped. But what does capping mean? Look in the past, they say over 27,000 old drilled wells could also be leaking:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/07/national/main6653016.shtml  (cut and paste)   My brother in Key West also sent me photos of his last fishing trip  

showing oil sheen, whether it is associated with the leak??? Will only be a matter of time before they get it. The gov is saying it will be capped by the 27th, but in the meantime, the pollution to our water is significant and sickening. Sickening that more was not done sooner. I can only guess once they hit this “Mother Lode” some 70 + days ago, all that mattered is trying to keep as much oil as they could  recapture. It didn’t matter. It doesn’t seem to matter to our president, BP seems to be in control, the bottom line is profit. It’s still a tragedy to me.  It seems to really be taking a toll on sea turtles. Nad some whacko had the gall to behead sea turtles… for what purpose?
http://www.wesh.com/video/24177933/index.html
What is with this world of ours? I guess the best thing is to try and make others aware of what is happening in the news and also to give balance to the beauty of nature and what you can easily bring to your backyard, that’s my aim, to keep nature safe and CLEAN!
And for you to enjoy some photos along the way –
Have a wonderful weekend…. The mockingbird blasts the crow.
Don’t mess with doves, this interaction just out my window…
and that was that! Jays were forced out, AGAIN! (But only for a matter of minutes) — Now go make sure your birds have  fresh water, they are thirsty

Lots to do coordinating the exhibit for University Club and making sure it is a fine representation for the Gateway Photo Group – the work by the contributing photographers is beautiful, it will be a terrific show – so off to University Club on Tuesday to look around and chart wall space. But today, my daughter had off and she took me to lunch at Willowtree in Sanford, a very noted German restaurant.  We stopped by Andrea’s first where her cats were lounging, Musa and Cocobella looked like Romeo and Juliet,  Little Cocobella was looking so adoringly at that devil Musa.  Andrea had taken a picture with her and Musa, I loved it so must add it of course.    Then we headed to Hart Sister’s Tea Room on Park Avenue and thought we would grab a bite to eat there, but they were closed. It’s an adorable setting.   there was such a nice garden setting and plants around the place.   But since it was closed we ventured to First street and the gallery’s were closed so we headed to Willowtree and ate outside.   The place was still quite full and it was 1:30pm.  I had quiche which was good, but the honey mustard pecan dressing for the salad was excellent. Andrea had a sandwich, neither of our choices were German dishes, but if you like the schnitzel and knockwurst, liverwurst and bologna loaf, this is for you! The desserts looked wonderful, but neither of us really wanted any, we were full.   They do have great desserts!   My sweetest daughter and I strolled up the road, passed Maya’s and saw the Yoko John Poster:  and then saw something I didn’t expect – a rooster at Two Blondes and A Shrimp! He was a poser!    They say he comes around all the time, wonder if he came from Horstmeyers on Commercial Street, they have chicks for sale.
We stopped and bought a few things at Baileys Consignment store and then went over and looked at Miss Libby’s Antique Emporium.  They had moved their recently, but I believe Miss Libby said she and her husband had been at another location down the block for 14 years.  They had done a beautiful job of placing all their antiques. It was well organized. Had a lot of glassware and lots of Harmony Kingdom boxes which are so much fun to look at.
and Betty Boop!   There is furniture, original artwork, primitives, coins and a very cool monkey   Enjoyed our talk with Miss Libby who was happy to help us.
address is 204 E. First Street – 407-328-8298.
We had a nice chat and then headed home. It was a lot of fun, thanks Andrea for lunch!
Last night I was a stick in the mud, could see some of the Sanford fireworks from the backyard, also saw my pesky little raccoon who decided to eat the remaining cat food.   While Ringo decided he did not like the commotion at all and came in and even sat on my lap voluntarily, a first!   I had to watch to see who I let in — didn’t want a raccoon on my lap!  I watched Bye Bye Birdie and sang away with the movie..  
This morning the jay were at it again, in fact, I had forgotten there were so many fledgling birds. They were trying to be the boss of everyone and chased off the other birds and squirrel.   Though the doves are pretty feisty too.   There was a showdown between the squirrel and dove, but they called a draw and both stayed.
The jays then came in pairs:   and had a few words,  

the third brother joined in, then two more.   They were hard to get at one time!  Then it boiled down to two and they argued and both flew off — but they come back now again and again and it never gets old.   and to look at this last picture, it is my tribute to Independence day, the natural beauty of the red, white and blue!

The heat is Hell-a-cious, you go out for a few minutes and your burnt. Today no birds have even come to the feeder, the bread I put down this morning is still there and it’s 8:15pm. I guess the birds don’t have much of an appetite, I can’t believe I have not seen one grackle or crow or jay all day! So instead of birds, I took things around the yard and will have color and Black and White photos.

Finally it looks like we might get some rain,     the lake level is down by a couple inches. I stuck my hand in the lake and it was like bath water, maybe thats’ why fishing is so bad. The flowers on the plants are just drying out so fast after they bloom. We love our daily rains when they come, even if it’s inches at a time because the storms move quickly. So take a look and enjoy Sanford, Florida.

The ants love the ginger plant blooms. Usually there are a couple of them running back and forth, chasing each other around the bloom.   They are big ants too.   My “womenly tree”, a camphor,  (non native)  is draped now with a vine going up and it looks like it’s dressed like a Goddess.
The dying sunflower and in color,

Of course Ringo in color shows off his blues, but he is striking in black and white too.    a lily in

crazy color and in black & white.     butterflies are all over the place like the dragonflies   .

caught this bee grooming itself, running its’ legs across it’s face over and over as if slicking it’s hair back.   the bees were everywhere, almost got stung a few times. This one was more interested in the rose.
the dying flowers have beauty too.  
Last nights fishing companion.         And a big and beautiful full moon to top the night off, make sure to appreciate it where you are –    You might find it winking back….

Hold on, have been gone since last Thursday and have had things happen! First people things, went to Tampa for a baby shower and my son, Aaron proposed to his girlfriend, Leila.  That was a lot of fun. Lots of people and scenery and gifts and a great time.   Thanks as always to Mark and Lynette for the use of their home for these wonderful parties and to all the hard workers who set it all up and took it down. Came home Sunday after spending two nights with three hours of sleep while listening to the poor cat in heat. Don’t worry she is an indoor cat,    but what is really funny, there is a slab porch with no screen out the back door, and Sasha the cat will not go off the concrete, she hates hates hates the feel of the grass.
Before I got on I-4, I was cutting through a Home Depot to get gas and caught sight of two osprey in the trees, had to stop and take a couple pics.   Then off it was toward O- town. Finally I was ready with my camera to take the upside down RV’s I always forget about –  They were near Dover.  At one point the artist was told to remove them, luckily, that has changed —  http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/mar/14/owner-told-remove-vertical-rv-display-dover/ — I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy seeing that display!
And then the monotonous ride to Orlando and the rejoicing when downtown appears ;   .
At the house, the herons have left the nest, nothing is there anymore, though the neighbors still have their family in the trees. The wood ducks too, they have taken their family and gone – didn’t even say goodbye.  The grasshoppers are horrible,
They want to dine on way too much. Most of my neighbors kill them, I have been told to fish with them, but can’t bring myself to bait them.  So they eat.  The birds are still busy even though the heat is overwhelming.
The moorhens have six babies.  The jays and cardinals also have fledglings:   The cranes were yawning in the heat.
The grackles and crows and mockingbirds continue fighting.
I was going to go to an meeting for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission about banning the penning of fox and coyotes for hunters to let their dogs loose upon- what an unfair advantage! Apparently it was well attended and they will pass the ban. I actually slept through it this am, I woke and it was 10am and the meeting began at 8:30am, whoops… Glad there are so many dedicated animal protectors via animal rights activists. Orlando has a large share.
At 1pm, I went to Debary   to  see the Gateway Center for the Arts exhibit. On my way I stopped at the White Cup on 17/92 in Debary to see if Jon D. Miller’s  work was still up, and the artist was sitting there when I walked in!   
So here is a sampling of what is hanging:   A Horoscope theme of mixed media on wood and canvas and even prints of the originals.  Here’s a few close ups:  

Jon’s painted palm fronds are just as colorful and fun as he is:   Jon’s so enthusiastic,  and even though this show comes down this Friday,  I am sure he will be somewhere else – if you are interested in his art, contact via email:  Toyseum@aol.com.   Jon does murals, interior painting besides portraits and even body painting.
Don’t forget that the White Cup has a selection of coffee and tea and is now making their own yummy desserts.

Then hit the Gateway because my friend, Judith Segall and another new friend, Mary Segal were both showing with Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and Joanna White.  Judith is an excellent paper maker and gives classes. She has worked on making mixed media art that can be touched for the enjoyment of sight impaired people. I remember her telling me she went to Gainesville and took a class years ago about applying art as therapy. Here she has applied her knowledge as a paper maker, painter and being that she is sensitive toward someone who might not have the visual ability to see the colors, but as in nature, they can touch and identify the shapes. Her pieces are always well thought out and very beautiful:

Always love the depth of Elizabeth’s collages. Her colors are just stimulating and fun!  I have seen her do collage and it’s magic! Mary Segal does striking, long panels of soothing colors with mixed media – she has quite an interesting approach to her art.
The hanging box art by Joanna White was of small boxes strung together to make long chains of color, that looks like a time consuming project!.   There were other boxes too of varied descriptions,
and some long shots   Just a few glimpses into the brains of artists. The show will be on for about 3 more weeks I think.
The front lobby had adorable individually made bird houses for auction:  
Here’s some info, click on photo for larger reading and contact the Gateway Center For the Arts for more info. emails for Mary Segal = marysegal@yahoo.com,  Judy Segall = http://www.judithsegall.com/
Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson  http://www.nelsoncreative.com/gallery/
On the way home I saw a anhinga relaxing at Mayfair   I went home to relax and even tried my hand at fishing, not one thing is biting but the turtles and don’t want them biting my hook! I Took a walk instead.  One day seems to mesh into the next, but at 3am, I guess that’s how it seems – good morning!

Kim Nelson must be thanked for all the hard work she did in getting the Museum of Seminole County History’s latest exhibit up and running.  It is all about native animals and settings around our state of Florida. There are taxidermy samples on loan from The Student Museum which is supposed to be really something to see, I have never been there, must make note to go.  Here’s a look:  The art works shown are from artists:
Betty Bay, Jeanie Beline, Myrna Cumming, William Haight, Sil Horwitz, Pradeep Lodha, Robert Mier, Ted Page, Robin Maria Pedrero,
Mark W. Rice, Linda Shawde, Doug Snider, Julia Thompson, Rusty Wahl, Amy Weick, and “yours truly” are all displayed to show the intricacies that have inspired us as artists.  Here’s just a few so I don’t spoil it for you:   This beautiful bronze cast was done by Amy Wieck, she has two pieces that are so detailed that it keeps you looking and wondering how the process is done.

The wood carving by Mark W. Rice of two owls craved into a stump makes you smile. Rice was the 2003 national Champion of Chainsaw Sculpture – now that’s a title!   There were acrylics and photographs, sculpture and carvings. The turkey painting to the side is by Robert Mier – the woodpecker and marina painting belong to Myrna Cumming. There are more to ponder and it is up to you to get yourself and others over to take a look at the whole place. The exhibit will be up until August14.   Here’s some photos of the Museum itself.  
It was an old Folks Home at one time.   Always enjoy seeing the

cameras.  

1906 Blickendorfer Typewriter made a bit ‘arty’.   Remember, Celery was a big part of Seminole County history as were the Swedes who came here to work the crops.
Upon leaving, the new Courthouse is just around the bend.  
Get out and support the locals! Museum of Seminole County History in Sanford, Florida. Admission $3 for adults – $1 kids

300 Bush Boulevard
Sanford, FL 32773
Phone: (407) 665-2489

This looks like a polished piece of porcelain with hairs sticking wayward, but it is a close up of an Alaskan King crab claw. That was dinner last night, (not mine, I ate shrimp and they were ‘shrimpy’ in comparison with the width of that leg!) But, when I saw the cracked claws, I had to take some close ups, the hair was just too bizarre! The orange was such a pretty color.
Outside it is like a blast furnace and everywhere I go, I notice the mockingbirds chasing everything out of their way. I did happen to get a few of the crow sitting on one of my cut off trees getting ‘buzzed’ at by the mockingbird. Here’s the story in pics:
the crow retreats to tree stump, he looks out at the oncoming vengeance of two mockingbirds.

They swoop down and fake attack that stubborn crow,  The crow took off,   heading
right in my direction and then veering off.  The crows and mockingbirds can be seen all over as the ‘mockers’ love to dive bomb the crows. The crows just go about their business looking overhead all the time.  Here’s some crow pics: 

My cranes were here on and off all afternoon, I witnessed the tender moments between parent and child by the lake. The babies do love to chase off the other birds, they have been taught well.    Here’s Mom grooming.   Baby watches to see how close the ducks get.     ah, the love!  It was so sweet how tenderly the mother would tap the baby’s beak.   My mallard pair are hanging around too. The foot that looked broken is up and running again I am glad to report. Birds must injure themselves from time to time. I have noticed my grackle since last year who has the mis-shapen toe,     notice that wayward toe on the right.
He hops on it, gets along well and makes up for the impediment by being very much of a bully.  

That grackle is a great example of  ‘making do’!
The flowers are looking good, but the heat is getting to them as there has been no rain for over a week and 90+ degree temps that actually feel like over 100!     It’s so hot even the doves

have become feisty!    Blue jay and dove eye to eye.   The dove was

“unflappable”  Stood its’ ground.     Then it actually moved forward at the jay and they both flew off.    The heat is making our tempers short. Confrontation isn’t limited to humans – I see well executed sparring right in my own yard!
P/S, now I am in possession of a dove that got pounced on by the neighbors cat.    I saw it out of the window and ran out. The poor dove was stunned and not flying. Right now it is sitting quietly inside the cat cage with food and drink, in a dark bedroom and later or in the morning I will let it loose…(When Ringo is in the house)

Very simply, there is so beautiful detailed bits of nature around here when you take pics with macro lenses. I am going to put up photos that give natures little details. First let me tell you I saw the mallard couple    and the male was limping, but nothing at all like the other day when he didn’t use his leg and held it up – happy to say he is improving. 

So lets take a look at some details, first Kim’s Sago palm,  This ‘projection’ means it is a male plant, here’s a bit closer look at the cone,   and look closer:   and another

And lets look at some creepy little bugs that chew up my milkweed plant

They are really so tiny you hardly notice they are there.  This cutie was busy too, I think he was eating those yellow buggy goobers.
these are natures tendrils,  little vines, love the way they curl:   

These are all

from the red passion flower vines.   crepe myrtle.

Canna lily, and canna lily photoshopped,    Look at the grasshopper –  he was splashing me with his juices.   That little golden bubble came out of it’s front left foot…   a sunflower and variations     periwinkle and

variation,    and this   and a soft shell turtle

—  The turtle was swimming around cursing me, telling the fish to hurry and go toward the middle of the lake where I couldn’t reach them. It worked too, I caught nothing tonight.   Ringo was mad and went back to the porch. What’s worse, a brooding feline or vindictive turtles?  While I stood there watching my bobber a long long time, a crow was helping myself to the bait, as much as he could shove in his mouth. What can you do, he’s part of nature’s details….

The rains have been coming off and on today. The heat is tremendous under the weight of all the humidity. The birds seemed to be panting.    They cooled off a lot in the bird baths.
The one baby and it’s mother were back.   I noticed that there were actually two fledgling babies begging for food, but she refused to feed the second one, (in the middle) though both seem fine because if they have to eat on their own, they do, they are just lazy.  The rejected baby at the bottom right of the photo finally got his own seed.
Have young jays coming in also,  Got nice photo of the handsome young male
They hear me clicking the camera from at my desk inside and jump!
I had a baby thrasher come in and eat, then get exhausted and sat down to relax.  I felt like that too, I had a hard time getting my camera to adjust to the heat outside, it took about ten minutes before I could defog my lens.|

The BOB’s, band of brothers stopped by for a drink, they ambled away into the steam of the afternoon. I walked down to the lake and saw the Mallard couple, the male is one of the BOM’s band of mallards from May, he was the weakest of them and they dominated him.   The two stronger ducks left. The weaker link stayed here and took a mate. His foot was injured back then he was limping. The female stays with him all the time, the pair stay on the edge of the lake as they are shy of people and head right out on the lake when I get too close.  He hobbles on the left leg. But today he got up and could hardly walk on it.  It was so pathetic watching him swim off not using that leg.  The leg looks broken poor guy. I hope the Band of Brothers don’t find him down there, they will take advantage of him for sure as they did with our sweet Carbs, the muscovy who was hanging out here last year until the BOB’s made him leave “their” lake, nature can be so very cruel.  (That’s Carbs)  What will happen? Oh, it is the secrets of the lake that keep us all guessing around here! Like, will I fish tonight? All I have to do is look at the lake to see the sky is telling me no!  

Well, it’s a bit dark at 3:22am, but do have nature pics to upload from yesterday:
Loved all the grackles coming for breakfast.  There’s usually a flock and they sing and boss each other around.

Here’s a few out melody-ing each other.   As you can see, they grab as much as they can before flying away.    The grackle in the foreground is a youngster and was not quite sure how to gather the food so it began making a big racket about wanting something to eat too.  It’s Mama complied.

Really giving a thorough inspection.   It was very funny.
Those are the common grackles, the fancier ones come too.   Today it felt like a steam bath, they said it was in the 90’s but actually it was 103degrees from the humidity and it was humid, my lens had to be wiped many times during my sweaty venture into the yard.  Bees and bugs thought nothing of going about business as usual.     and even two enemies decided it was not worth arguing over the same plant.    The roses are blooming all over. They love this weather.

Now, I’m going to bed and will add to this later – Abbe

A hot hot Saturday played out today. My friend, Sonja Greenlee was headed to Seminole State College for the annual reading by the winners of the Revelry poetry contest.   Each year they have submissions starting in February nationwide for this wonderful literary venue with a nice cash prize. Sonja was one of the top winners  I am proud to say, she is an excellent writer! Congrats to her and I wish I would have gone to hear the winners read their poems.  If you are interested in a copy, contact the SSC English Dept.
This morning the sky was killer bright at 7am –   It felt like almost a dozen suns had lit the sky showing no mercy!   The Weatherman said it would feel like over 100 degrees and they were right, WHOO, the humidity stuck to you as close as an oil slicked bird!
I was at the computer working on my art blog when I heard a banging on the porch, it was a grackle trying to get the heck out. I bought a butterfly net for $1.00 at the flea market and it has been one of the best purchases ever! The poor bird was tired as it ran into the screen over and over. I got it in the net and lifted it out, (camera close by of course.)   He was mad, but he was not as mad as he might have been if Ringo had been on the porch! So off he flew to join his flock as I went back in and tried to read up on a few things in my camera manual to bone up for the Camera class with Ken Elliott.
The class was nicely filled with people holding their DSLR Canons and Nikons, me always being the only one who shoots with a Sony Alpha.
Ken explained how aperture, shutter and ISO all worked in conjunction and had everyone working their f-stops and shutters, my camera does not have the same button positions and it is still a bit confusing to me, but I plan on getting out and try and use my Manual mode more often.  Ken gave an interesting history lesson on cameras and the inner workings and had good visuals. Afterwards he did a sidewalk shoot so the people could go experiment.   Whoops, I screwed up the settings on that!  Here’s Ken talking to one of the attendees.  He may do this again. His photography is hanging in the Art Affair gallery in Sanford, go take a look at his work. I’ll tell you a secret about him, he has a tripod fetish, loves his tripods and all the fittings.
I walked over to The Gallery On First for Hot Summer Nights. The artists were out meeting and greeting and eating. They had a nice reception going with new works upon the walls. That crazy baby mixed media of Cherie Dacko was on the wall, that just cracks me up! I saw Stewart Jones new work and of course, his pelican really got to me..
Another bird painting that was so beautiful was by Debra DePollo Ryan, beautiful white herons     mastered on canvas. Debra has a wonderful way with showing us her thoughts via calm water and peaceful settings.  She is delightful to talk to.
Sharon Hyder had wonderful sunrise and moon paintings and I admired a turtle painting which her artist daughter and booth mate, Lori Anne Harris had painted the frame  and of course Sharon’s husband had made the frame, again, they always have a solid family unit always going on.
Stan Surman had beautiful oil work. I liked his painting of a young child who had paint all over it. And then there was Aurore Brunet who does gorgeous crafting of collage and paint. Her colors and compositions are always so interesting.  
What I found most amazing were the artists’ visions – the depth of meaning to their personal work. Aurore gave me such insight into the painting next to her showing a sad letter covering the woman’s heart with the words of the French children’s song, Allouette written on the paper. Allouette is a bird, a skylark and the song is about plucking the feathers from it. The expression and detailed work can’t be seen to do it justice from this photo.  All I know is I was singing that song in my head as I came out of the gallery and looked out at the angry sky.  I hummed the tune all the way home thinking it such a haunting song really , telling a bird that it was going to have the feathers pulled from the head, wings, feet. I thought about holding that struggling grackle in my hands today before freeing it, the feel of the sturdy warm body, it’s heart beating furiously, — could I have pulled even one feather?

NO PLUCKING WAY!

Ah, Tuesday has morphed into Wednesday – I am in a time warp again as another day squeaked by. Where oh where do these hours go?
Anyway, it was a hot one. Woke at 7am yesterday and the moon was still gleaming against the blue.  Aaron threw out the cast net and got a few shiners and he brought in a bass and a gar. 

Then he and Leila headed back to Tampa  with their Bella,     I  had so much fun being with all my kids this weekend, family is so important! Don’t forget to tell yours how you feel and often…

On Saturday I had run over to Sanford and was in Maya’s Bookstore and saw this,   an adorable baby sated in sleep. Yvette, the owner was keeping a very close eye on him as his mom, Wee Gauthier, an orchid vendor with “Orchids For All Occasions” put away her flowers as the Saturday Farmers Market was coming to a close. They were gorgeous orchids:  As you know, I have a black thumb.  But back to the sleeping baby, I am excited to have my own new grand baby this August! I hope I will be a big part of the babies life.  My daughter made sure to get a romper for the baby that expresses who I am,   The weekend with family was wonderful and went so fast, only wish Aaron and Leila lived here so we could all be together much more, what can I say, I’m selfish! But Tampa certainly is not California — get over it Abbe!
Andrea had come over with all kinds of baby madness shopping and had made an ADORABLE diaper cake, she’s such a talent:  
Back to Tuesday:  wildlife and the yard.
The cranes came this morning and Papa crane had quite a conversation with one of the babies:
I still have not heard any baby noises from the wood duck box, but she keeps an eye out for me and flies away as soon as she senses I am near. She is a very nervous duck.   I also bet the mallard couple have some eggs somewhere around here too, they are still hanging around.
The baby heron are so funny, one flew up in the tree after Papa crane chased him off, and he acted like he was going to kick some crane butt, but he was only making a spectacle of himself.  
The flowers too look beautiful:   the rains do make them bloom and die faster. The birds too have been busy and the cardinals are back again, it seems they were MIA for a while.   and of course the crows    common grackle.   and Mr. squirrel.
and of course my window view. Head on outside and enjoy something in nature.

I bet you are wondering by that title what I did last night and maybe you’re conjuring up names possibly linking me to some guy I might be hooking up with, well you will have to read and find out won’t you? So let’s begin at the beginning, noontime Friday :
Lunch with my good friend and neighbor, Sonja Greenlee who is also a contributing monthly Culinary  Columnist for the Sanford Herald. We ate at Amura which is ALWAYS great! Their sushi is the best around – hands down, chopsticks up! Plus the conversation is fun as Sonja is a traveler and had just returned from New York where she got to hear Jill Biden and Caroline Kennedy Schlosberg  speak. We can chat away for hours. Afterwards when I was ready to drop her off, I requested a walk to see the garden as she has a wonderful green thumb and she uses that thumb to stir many a great meal she has created and garnished perfectly. Unlike me who feels mac and cheese made from the box and served on fine china qualifies as a gourmet meal, Sonja does not hesitate to cook from scratch using her variety of veggies and herbs. Everything she creates is ‘eat-a- licious!  Here’s a view,    and that’s just a portion of it. She has snow peas, squash, lettuces, chard, collard greens, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and herbs too, even corn this year,
and her flowers,  the  glorioso lily was a stunner.
Went shopping after that, wanted something new for Art Walk tonight, I needed some pants. But how is it, I went to Ross and ended up with dresses? Casual long kind of hippy dresses. I never wear them, but they felt so comfortable for summer and the price, $12.99 was so reasonable I got 3 of them and two pair of $9 sandals.   That cute cat bag I bought for Andrea.
All set I thought except I needed a short sweater, to cover up and I knew Andrea had a few. While my closet looks like a cluttered, flea market vendor, she has a designer closet and things are organized. So I ventured over there at 6pm as the art walk was beginning and she dragged out clothes and more clothes for me to try on. So by 7:30pm, I had a bag full of things and went back home fully prepared to wear a dress. Well, my bed bed became an abstract, fabric  artwall of color. Clothes splashed everywhere.  Yikes, my mind was as confused as my bed. while confusion is part of the alchemy of my gray matter, I ended up wearing clothes I already had in the closet – go figure?  Please don’t suggest clothes therapy, though I could use it as my normal look usually consists of T-shirts with peace symbols or funny sayings and jeans. As I stood in a spaghetti strapped long dress so completely comfortably, I felt kind of naked, like I had too much airspace. While liberating, it felt kind of like I was in a nightgown. Now here I was wearing, “Abbe-shabby-chic”, okay, forget the chic part, back to the comfort of old jeans and ‘t’s’. I will wear the dresses around the house. By then it was 8pm. later than I normally get there.
I drove upon a very crowded Art Walk in downtown Sanford. The night was perfect, a soft, nice breeze coming off Lake Monroe and the full moon were my escorts up and down First Street. I always run into people I know.  Here’s the view:
For $20 you can have a ride behind that huge Belgium horse.

The parking gets fuller and fuller at these venues! I stopped at The Gallery on First  http://galleryonfirst.com at the beginning of my artwalk. Painter, Stewart Jones  stewartjonesart.blogspot.com and I struck up a conversation and he gave me a post card proclaiming The Gallery On First was having their first annual summertime art show, it’s June 5th- June 27th. The reception is Saturday June 5, from 6pm to 9pm. Here’s some of Stewart’s work along with Cindy Sturla also a painter who shares the booth.
Also spoke to artists Lori Anne Harris and Sharon Rae Hyder, they are always so full of fun and family oriented in their booth, Lori’s son was there and told me his is working on his Anime art,  I told him I would stop by next month and check out his work, the talent pool continues to spread in their family, make more wall space!
Cherie Dacko was not there, but I did see her finished piece, the baby and it is very cool, but since she was not there, I didn’t want to take a photo without permission. It is facing the outside, so take a look a look if you are walking the downtown streets.
Mary K. Shaw is always a smiling face too, she is at the desk or helping people out, plus she too is a contributor Community Columnist for The Sanford Herald, does all the writing for the arts, so if you have a local exhibit coming up around Sanford, or are maybe you are a Local artist showing elsewhere, contact her via the Sanford Herald,  497-322-2611.  she will put it in the Herald.
Then I headed back to my home gallery, The Art Affair. (http://artaffairgallery.com)  – I say my home gallery because even though I don’t have work there,  Ronda never fails to make me feel like a ‘homie’!  I keep watching as that gallery under her watch expands and expands! It’s exciting to see the artists grow and the wheels turning in her head with ideas. Here’s some of the new work,
Marie DeCosta had brought this in and it was not hung yet, but loved the perspective. She and photographer Ken Elliott have been into ‘bikes’ lately.
Marie DeCosta     Ken Elliott

Really enjoyed the look of Patrick Flannery’s circus art.  Oh my, I don’t know who did this to give them credit.   Gum wrapper purses – Melinda Dadelis, budding artist.    

Mindy Colton has intaglia horse prints.   These collage prints are from Jolie Spellman.  Ronda has plenty of work over there too.  

Toelle Hovan has colorful paintings, check last months archive for her chair picture. She will also be teaching Acrylic Painting for adults in July. I really enjoyed her small purse paintings. 

Toelle and her husband were celebrating their anniversary and could not have looked any happier! Congrats, keep going!!! Check with gallery for art classes being offered this summer.
Then it was time for the new venue Ronda is featuring along with the restaurant, Two Blondes & a Shrimp! Every 4th Friday beginning tonight, The Art Affair will be having a meet and greet and mingle with the artists at 9pm at the restaurant until whenever the last person stops chatting! She was so excited to show off this new art venture.    She shooed us all out as she locked up and off we went to the restaurant.  The Rand building which houses 2Blondes & a Shrimp, was built in 1887, named for Frederic H. Rand general manager and Attorney for the Florida Land and Colonization Company. The interesting thing is going to the courthouse and doing research on land records and seeing the vast amount of property and land dealings that company did. The building was also home to the Newspaper, The Sanford Journal.  The ceiling, floors and bar are all original features.

(whoops, lousy night photo of the bar– that’s why I will be taking the photo class offered by Photographer Ken Elliott so I have control over the dark – (go on website at artaffair.com for details)
The old brick walls came alive with a flurry of assorted work. Ronda and Marie has hung everything that morning and wow, Ronda knows how to hang, hey Ronda, new sideline, offer to hang shows on the side for a nice price!  This collection will stay up for 6 months if I am not mistaken.  Here’s a look:
Sherri the operating owner and Ronda stand united on the notion of supporting the arts! (And so should you!) Come over and eat at Two Blondes & a Shrimp noted for their Tomato Pie, Shrimp and Grips, linguine and clams and soooo much more. Sherri had a wonderful area with hor doerves for us! I ordered a mixed green salad as it was past 10pm, and had a wonderful dressing, I think it was coconut vinaigrette. I will have to go for lunch. They are closed Mondays, open 11am-3pm for lunch Tues-Sat. and then reopen 5pm – 10pm weekdays, except Friday and Saturday at night they stay open till 1am.  Chris the manager will be glad to help with anything you need. 

The artist table was outside near the band,  I must say I was walking around snapping a few shots talking to painter, Trish Vevera about going to Poland and to artist Tom Abbott   who does dimensional art that has to be seen in person. Peter Cerreta too was there   his work has to be admired for the amazing patterns and symbolism. I did not go over and tell Peter how I enjoy his pieces,  so here is a shout out to tell you Peter.
The Lake Mary food critic,  http://lakemaryfoodcritic.blogspot.com/ Leon and I chatted about our mutual love for food, he is quite an amazing cook and caters the food at Art Affair from time to time. I shared my secret of beating Kraft spinach and artichoke Philadelphia cream cheese into my mashed potatoes – yum! As I am sitting here, I’m getting hungry!
I enjoyed speaking to others around the table, upcoming artists Melinda Dadelis.  She is going in very cool directions for her future. Marie DeCosta’s husband and I spoke about music and touched on Greg Allman as her husband works at the Daytona Beach Harley dealership and Greg had just been there. Now here is how the story goes full circle -6 degrees of separation: Sonja, who I had lunch with was married to Bob Greenlee, who passed away a few years ago, he owned Kingsnake Recording studio and in high school, Bob was in a band with both Greg and Duane Allman – a weird Kevin Bacon moment for sure!
Finally I had to get going and left a few faces still talking into the night. I drove home, my date followed closely, hovering over me street after street, it was my moon of course and the clouds beautifully veiled that moon as if I should be holding wolfbane as protection to ward off the spirits that might be invoked under that moon of the ancients.   

Now think about checking out ALL Sanford art and remember both the Art Affair Gallery and the 2 Blondes & a  Shrimp will be having the after Art walk meet the artists, next one June 24th – 9pm — You must take a good look at the local  talent and also enjoy a meal at 2 Blondes & a Shrimp in which you will be so busy looking at the art, you won’t remember who you are even eating with, a great place to take that someone who you really could care less about, but you owe them a meal – haha – But really, it has a great feel, like an eatery in a sophisticated big city scene. Go and let the walls and the food do all the talking…
SUPPORT THE ARTS AND ALL SANFORD BUSINESSES!

The poor duck in the duck box,   almost every time I pass by the box going toward the lake, this duck flies out and cries all across the lake to where she plunks herself in the water and screams and screams. I feel bad that she is so paranoid and worried when she hears me. When she was gone, I made Adam look in her box, he saw three eggs, that was last week, bet they have hatched.   I try not to go in front of the box, but she knows even when I am out there walking way off behind the box. the good news, she always comes back.
So many lubber grasshoppers all over, they are eating my plants.   but so what? Hey, they are hungry and I’m sure the birds find them a nice meal.
Stopped by Museum of Seminole County History   on Bush Blvd. and 17/92 to drop off a couple photos for “Where The Wild Things Are”. The poster,   was designed by the The museum’s Coordinator, Kim Nelson’s talented husband, Robert E. Mier who is a wonderful wildlife painter.  http://www.artnatureflorida.com
He’s a busy guy, he does a lot of art shows around the state, seems to have mastered marketing skills, a rarity for many artists like myself. I need to gather him to speak to our Gateway group, he has a lot of knowledge he could share on the business end.
The exhibit will be shown in their back building,   it has a lot of items unique to our Florida history throughout both buildings.   Kim will be working her magic to coordinate her space   into a wonderful exhibit featuring many Seminole county artists. The show begins June 15th through August 14th, hours:  Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 5 PM and Saturday from 9 to 1 PM –
Kim is quite an effective Coordinator and just a great person to talk with. So please come out to the Museum and not only visit the exhibit, but to walk through a huge history lesson.
Other than that, tonight is Artwalk, so gearing camera batteries up for that. Have been trying to take photos of the full moon, will be glad for that photo walk with Ken Elliott so he can teach me how to do it right by next full moon cycle! Here’s some nature pics to leave you with:

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