45 x 36 in | 114.3 x 91.4 cm
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary was established by the Audubon Society in 1912 to protect a stand of ancient Bald Cypress from logging. The name “Corkscrew” describes the course of the meandering river that winds through the trees. At several points on the boardwalk I could see openings that resembled a river although I couldn’t detect any flow. The particular spot that I chose to paint was one of those openings.
What struck me about this particular view was its exquisite balance. The blue-green leaves of the ferns in the shadows and the shiny-leaved aroids in the foreground provided an excellent counterpoint to the warm colors of the bromeliads, back lighted in the afternoon sun. Several species of bromeliad clung to the Cypress Trees (Taxodium distichum). Their leaves, a grey-green in summer, glowed with red, yellow, violet and blue-green. The large-leaved aroids on the right added to the warm side of the spectrum. I guessed that they were Alligator Flag (Thalia geniculata), whose name is derived from early hunters who noted that the waving of the tall flower stalks may indicate a moving alligator hidden below.
This was one of the most complex paintings I have ever attempted. I expected the many layers of vines, leaves and trees to be challenging, but what was new for me was the water. I had painted reflections in water before but here the reflections of the trees in the background were overlain by streaks of yellow light coming from the left. Where these two light sources met they reinforced one another to form a white streak in the middle of the painting. On top of all this complexity is the happy salad of shiny leaves of the little aroids in the front. Phew! I had great fun.