There was a Florida of my childhood, but it doesn't exist anymore. It was a Florida of sand dunes and sandspurs ... eating sugarcane plucked from a field on my way to school ... walking along a shell road to get there ... cutting through a meadow of wild hibiscus ... It was the sun hot on your head and blistering bare feet ... a breeze so strong the birds went off course ... a scent so sweet with tropical flowers that you had to stop to catch your breath ... What did developers think they could improve? I'm sorry for all the children who will never know what it means to live in paradise.
"The Florida of my Childhood"
"Florida as it was and will never be again"
"On Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach"
Not so long ago.
The parents of a bride gave the couple a wedding gift of my painting. They were to bring back a photo from their honeymoon (in the Caribbean) and from that, I would paint a huge canvas for their first apartment. This is what they brought back, the view from their honeymoon cottage window. I was a bit shaken that it consists mainly of ugly roofs and a lot of bramble. Even the water isn't particularly pretty. Still, it was what they saw every morning when they woke up as man and wife. When it was presented to them, they cried with emotion. If it makes them happy, that's what's important..
"Mission on the Inlet"
is mainly an exercise for me, as a budding artist, in shapes and textures.
All right, I confess, this is what started it all. Thanksgiving week, 1989, I had a dream. In the dream a man's voice said with great authority, "You will paint tomorrow and this is what you will paint." I replied, "I don't paint, I don't draw and I'm not interested." The voice repeated what it had just said. And this picture appeared so vividly in my mind, that I awoke, turned on the bedside light, and made a quick, ugly sketch. I ended up on the back patio that morning with buckets of Latex Flat ceiling paint, and a 5 or 6 inch bristle brush. "Okay," I said aloud. "If that's you God then start painting, because I don't have a clue". I closed my eyes and listened to my instincts. I put the brush on the board (I knew nothing about canvas) whenever I felt a strong tug inside me. When I opened my eyes, this is what greeted me. I was shocked. Trees! Moonlight! Clouds! I even recognized it as a scene I might have observed as a child in Miami. It isn't a Monet, but within the year I was in galleries all over California and had completed my first 82 paintings. I still don't understand it all.
Funny story. This is a rather small painting. I just wanted something to put on my California bathroom wall. I thought it might be kind of fun to get a piece of fish net and actually drape it outside the frame. Yeah. Clever me. So, off I go to Seal Beach in search of fish net. Couldn't find any, but I'm determined. So, I go to the harbor where I see fishing boats. All I need is about 8 inches of fish net. After nearly 4 hours of haggling with fisherman, I ended up with something like 35 FEET of an actual fish net that smelled like oysters. Or something. I dragged that smelly wet thing home, lopped off the coveted 8 inches and put the other 34+ feet in the garage where it eventually rotted. Message: I sure hope you like the painting and appreciate the little snippet of fish net at its corner!
I'm always happy that someone likes my work enough to pay good money for it, but I admit I was rather sad to part with this one. It really is the Florida of my childhood.