Cypress Flowerpots | Richard G. Tiberius

Cypress Flowerpots | Richard G. Tiberius

36 x 24 in | 91.4 x 61.1 cm

A powerful hurricane must have come through here many years ago leaving the five massive stumps seen here. I’m sure these trees were not logged since the Audubon Society established Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in 1912 to protect these ancient Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum). The stumps are nature’s flowerpots, providing a perfect habitat for ferns and bromeliads. Two of the more ferns in this painting are the Long Strap Fern (Campyloneurum phyllitidis) and Ladder-Brake Ferns (Pteris vittata).

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A fallen tree trunk in the background attests to the massiveness of the trees. It would have reached my chest had I waded over and stood beside it. Mosses and lichen cover fallen trees in the foreground.

The sprays of wispy leaves curling out of the sides of trees belong to Tillandsia of the bromeliad or “air plant” family, which turn vibrant colors in the winter.

The Corkscrew River is only a few feet deep. Shallow, still water is a challenging subject for a painter. In some places you can see through the water to the bottom; others show only reflections; and others are covered by a heavy scattering of floating plants and fallen leaves. They catch the light and break up the reflections. This wonderful complexity is tricky to paint, but makes the water sparkle.

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