| 21 January, 2013 14:44
Time to celebrate the state I love the most - Florida! As a multi-generational native, I am part of this land with all its beauty and its heat. And it is this year 2013 that Florida has reached a major historic milestone: The 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing on Florida's east coast. Florida has the longest recorded history of any other state because it was the first place that Europeans landed in what is now the U.S.
The exact landing spot is believed to have been at Ponce Inlet, hence the name, in Volusia County. (This happens to be one of my favorite places.) Coming ashore during the Easter season, known as Pascua Florida, Spanish for "feast of flowers", Ponce de Leon named the land "Florida". The Spanish brought sweet Valencia oranges, which later became the official state fruit. They started St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S. And thus began the foundation of Florida's rich heritage and diverse culture. This state has been under many flags, each adding to the land's rich history.
What I love about this state is exactly what Ponce de Leon saw here. The east coast beaches are beautiful with hard packed sand, palms and flowers, barrier islands, rivers that open to the Atlantic Ocean and magnificent sunrises. The west coast offers sugary sand, calmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico, and sunsets that are breathtaking. The interior of the state with pines, palms, oaks as well as lakes, springs, and rivers provide adventure in every direction.
As an artist, I want to capture this natural part of Florida on canvas. Oh how I want to spread the joy of this environment to others in paintings: the linear rows of palms, the deep shadows in the mangroves, the bright reflection of the sun on sand. The ever changing clouds make dramatic images in a sky that goes on forever. Florida can be an entirely cool palette with blues and greens, and then it can turn to a vivid warm palette in brilliant reds and yellows at sunrise and sunset. There is always something that takes my breath away that I want to capture!
So, Viva Florida! As a Florida painter, I feel this connection with the sun, sky and water. My greatest joy is painting it! Celebrate with me!