Published August 17, 2009
Tags: Art, Art journal, Beach, Caran D'Ache, Drawing, Florida, Neocolor II, Sketchbook, Sketches, Summer Sketchbook, Travel Journal, Vacation, watercolor
This page, from my handmade summer sketchbook, pretty much sums up my feelings about Florida tourist areas.
The heat and sand, for the record, are not a good setting to use Caran D’Ache Neocolor II wax pastels. The Neocolor II’s are very good, however, at forcing me to adopt a looser, more playful style. They’ve got such an interesting texture, as seen in the poolside sketches below:
I also kept a pictoral journal:
Click to see full size and read about my cartrip crush
And of course, I did some watercoloring:
Florida is nice, but I’m glad to have traveled back north so that I can be back in the South.
After an exhausting 14 hours on the road yesterday, I’m finally back from dropping my brother off at school in Florida. I’m very freckly. I’m slowly scanning my drawings and art journal from the trip, but in the meantime, here’s a week of ocean sunsets!
Of course I always hope that this is the right place for my brother, but I was reminded this past week that urban beaches are not the right place for me.
On the way back, we stopped at a nature park preserve and walked along the beach– the ocean in front and the dunes behind us. Not a building in sight. Perfect.
It’s hard to miss the drastic culture change at the Florida border. From Virginia through the Carolinas and Georgia, the drive is noticeably Southern. Which I like. I like the history, the architecture, the ghosts in the marsh. But Florida doesn’t have the same association with the Civil War, despite being one of the founding Confederate States. It also doesn’t have the same associations with African American history and Native American Indian history, despite being the site of the Seminole wars and one of the biggest harbors for runaway slaves and ex-slaves. The influence from Spanish colonialism is still apparent.
Sometimes I like these hodge-podge states, the unique native culture that springs, from the bottom up, throughout several colonizations and culture influxes. But the [damn] tourism industry here is brighter and more colorful, and hard to ignore. Billboards for Adult Entertainment Centers tower side by side with “Jesus Saves” billboards. All the neighborhoods have moved inland, while retirees build waterfront houses. It seems like everybody is from New Jersey.
I think about how every city has an area like this near the main roads; even my own town must seem ugly if somebody were only to see it from the highway (well, maybe not this ugly… but we’re a smaller city).
We’re here because my brother is attending Eckerd College, whose Orientation program begins on Thursday. The city is tourist-y and retire-y, which seems like a strange place to study. Wikipedia tells me that St. Petersburg is known as a destination city for Northern Americans, and that the population growth has been slow the past few decades as a result of having been “built out.”
Fun Fact: Apparently, Jack Kerouac died here. I guess the road ended.
I’m headed to Florida tomorrow, our substitute [budget] family vacation this year. Although the postcard-esque pictures of Florida are lovely, it’s not exactly my idea of a good time. Too many over-developed beaches make me a little depressed.
I’ll have internet access (which is another reason why I’ll miss our old sans-technology vacations…), and the forecast says we get about an hour of thunderstorms every day (Florida has weird weather, yes?). So hopefully I’ll use the Daily Rain Break to update with some posts that have been sitting around: some art I’ve made lately, musings after a visit to Monticello, eyebrow-raising misogyny that I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon… you know. The usual.