Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fantasy Farms Plein Air

What:     Plein air paint-out
When:    Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time:     9 AM to 1 PM
Where:  Fantasy Farms Animal Preserve, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 

We have quite an exciting adventure planned  for this coming Saturday. Kevin Arthur has arranged for us to go to Fantasy Farms Animal Preserve in Ponte Vedra. Fantasy Farms is not generally open to the public. We will meet in the back parking lot of Christ the Redeemer Church in on S. Roscoe Blvd. in Ponte Vedra Beach.

When you get to the far back parking lot there is a small pathway that leads off into the secluded and well-hidden animal preserve.

We hope for better weather than we had for the Fountain of Youth! But for those of you who woke up on that raw, chilly morning and decided to roll over and stay in bed you will get one more chance  to paint peacocks, even if fewer of  them than the Fountain of Youth had.

But there are other birds as well contained in cages. Some are quite vocal though, and one of them said "hello" to me with such a human voice that I actually replied to it before I realized it was a bird and not a person. Several others not only said hello but gave me wolf whistles - a first time in 40 years!

 There are other animals besides birds too, like these llamas.

 Also goats, and donkeys. Plenty of animals to choose from if you choose to paint one. It's also a car museum!

If it should prove to be a very warm day there is plenty of shade there, so everyone should be comfortable. Let;s have a great turnout this month.

Here's what they said in First Coast Magazine...
About 120 animals live at Fantasy Farms, a 2-acre animal sanctuary tucked away off Roscoe Boulevard in Ponte Vedra Beach. It is an exotic place, home to many creatures from around the world, including lemurs, macaws, roosters, peacocks, wallabies, a Genet (small animal that resembles a wild cat) and a Capuchin monkey. For years it was a privately owned secret, open only to invited guests. The mission is education, regarding the care of animals and birds, President Frank Barker says. Most are rescues, formerly pets of people who couldn’t adequately care for them. 
But it’s not just an animal sanctuary, with creatures housed in pens, cages and wandering the grounds, as the peacocks do. It is also a car museum, featuring one-of-a-kind automobiles, including a Rolls Royce once owned by fried chicken magnate Colonel Sanders, actor Don Johnson’s Porsche from Miami Vice and a 1954 Foxtrot MG. Fantasy Farms founder Louie Williams, a successful interior designer, travels the country looking for unique artifacts for his clients, and collects cars that capture his fancy, operations manager Ramon Jimenez says. With the animals and cars surrounded by lush vegetation, it’s a magical oasis for visitors.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Fountain of Youth on the raw side

 What a difference a day or two makes. The forecast for Saturday was sunny and 70 when I posted the previous blog entry, but the forecast deteriorated more and more as the week wore on, so that by Saturday morning the  forecast was for cloudy, windy, and mid-50s! I'm sure the weather contributed to our low turnout of FCPS participants.

Nonetheless there were some of us who turned up, and enjoyed getting to see the grounds, and all the peacocks strutting around. Some of us were here with the FCPS in 2012, but there has been a lot of new construction since then.

 In the end there were a total of six of us who showed up to paint on the grounds.

We were asked to set up as much as possible along the perimeters of the park, along the edges of the marshes, so as not to disturb the other folks visiting the park.  Though, with the weather, the crowds were pretty small anyway.

Still, we always enjoy seeing one another. The chill did seep in though as we sat, and in the end we broke about 11:15 and all joined one another for lunch at the small restaurant on the grounds. It felt good to get something warm to eat.

But it was also fun to stroll around the grounds and get photos, though the lighting was not the best.

There was a 16th Century reenactment going on for the weekend also, and most of the folks had certain specialties which they were very happy to talk about. A couple of us stayed behind after lunch and went through the reenactors' village. Because the crowds were so light we got a lot of personal attention and information. We especially enjoyed talking to artist Mark Menendez about 16th century painting techniques. Mark is not only an artist and art teacher, but also a descendant of Pedro de Menendez who founded St. Augustine right on this very spot in 1565 - a connection to history. And another connection: Mark hired a Spanish genealogist to trace his connection to Pablo de Menendez, and the genealogist he hired is also a pastelist, and founding member and President of the Association of Spanish Pastel Painters. :-)

NOTE: If you missed Saturday we are, right now, expecting to do another plein air day in March. Stay tuned for details.