Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The people's parks turn 100!

 Gulf Islands National Seashore,© Theresa Grillo Laird -Golden Hour- 24x48 -oil on canvas
for purchase contact The Studio Gallery 
If I wasn't an artist, my perfect job would be working as a ranger in the National Park Service. What could be more amazing than greeting everyday surrounded by the beauty of nature! I think half the reason painters paint out in the open air (en plein air), is because being out in nature so perfectly revitalizes the creative soul.

Last week on August 25th, we celebrated the hundred year anniversary of the National Park Service. I'll forever be grateful to Teddy Roosevelt for his vision and foresight in preserving lands for future generations!

In Pensacola, we have the good fortune to live in a town with a National Park. The Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches from Mississippi to Florida in parcels of coastal land and barrier islands. Parts of it like Horn Island in Mississippi, made famous by artist Walter Anderson, can only be accessed by boat. 

Minus a boat, I explore my park on foot, which in my opinion is the best way. It's slow enough that you can take in all the details and side paths that you miss with faster modes of travel. 

Gulf Islands National Seashore - ©Theresa Grillo Laird - Just Passin' Through- oil on linen 14x18
click here for purchase
Until I moved here, I'd never seen coastal land like this. Sugar white sand covers both the beaches and woodland paths, and is never hot underfoot despite the Gulf Coast's intense heat and humidity.The Gulf itself has crystal clear emerald colored water worlds apart from the bone chilling grey water of the Atlantic Coast. Various pines, live oaks, holly and wax myrtle cover the dunes and fill the coastal forest.

I particularly like the National Seashore in the Pensacola area. The land is bordered on one side by Pensacola Bay and on the other by the Gulf. One side has the beach and the other is full of coves that wind in and out for miles. There are dunes and marsh and fresh water ponds. The land seems to shimmer under the light of the Florida sun, and the scent of salt water and beach rosemary fills the air. Can you blame me for wanting to spend tranquil days hidden in the dunes with my easel and paints, peacefully attuned to the sights and sounds of my coastal Paradise?

Gulf Islands National Seashore - ©Theresa Grillo Laird - Through the Dunes - oil on canvas -  12x16
click here to purchase 

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