You may or may not know this, but I lived in Florida for ten years. I moved back to Michigan in 2016.
Florida is… different.
We had a house on the south side of Jacksonville, Florida. When we first moved there, it was early July and hotter than hell. The first thing we noticed was that there were no people outside. It felt spooky, like that scene in the Andromeda Strain where the guys in hazmat suits are walking around this little town and there’s no noise at all, no movement.
Before we left Michigan, all our friends shared their favorite horror stories about Florida. How there were snakes everywhere, giant face-sucking spiders, and millions of alligators. I spent most of our first year hiding in the house.
Eventually I stopped worrying about animals and insects. In fact, I discovered it was the human wildlife that was mostly likely to kill you and not a giant prehistoric reptile.
For instance, I found out someone was feeding raw chicken to an alligator in a retention pond around the corner from us. The pond was behind a chain link fence but if you walked too close to the edge the gator would scramble out from wherever it was hiding, looking for fresh meat.
Our time there wasn’t all dismal. I came to enjoy walking around in the preserve near our house. I saw an abundance of wildlife, including otters, javelinas, raccoons, foxes, snakes, and deer. North of town we visited the St. Johns River delta, which was flat out gorgeous. Once I walked out onto a long wooden pier into a sea of grass and felt like I was floating. There were beaches littered with driftwood and cloud-filled skies that went on for days. I loved how you could feel so small and yet so infinite at the same time.
Anyway, the background of this latest skeleton painting is inspired by some of that beautiful scenery that I used to paint when we lived there. I hope you like her. I’ll continue to post progress pictures, so stay tuned.
P.S. Any ideas for a title for this one? If I pick your suggestion I’ll send you a free print, so email me your ideas asap.