Dynamic Dreamer ~ Art Weaver

The Ghostly, Mythic, Tarot & Fairy Tale musings of Lisa Hunt

Bird watching, sketching and kayaking in the Florida Keys

Visiting the Wild Bird Center in Key Largo

Sketching is fundamental. It keeps the hands and mind limber. It helps break down a subject into its bare elements, allowing the gesticular energy to pour forth without a care. It is like practicing a C Major scale 7 octaves on the piano—up and down, over and over until the fluidity of form takes over the hands and allows simple beauty to reinforce itself.

Sketching egrets and ibises. While sketching these majestic birds, I focused on the basic angles and shapes, helping to define a bird’s particular characteristics.

Birds are otherworldly, evolved and in my opinion, very intelligent. Visiting sanctuaries and aviaries and seeing them in the flesh is like touching spirit. They communicate with their eyes, feathers and limbs. They seem to know exactly what they are and what their position is in this complicated world. The caged birds we saw at this sanctuary were particularly poignant because they were rescued from all kinds of dramatic events. Some were missing eyes, others a wing or a limb, yet all these creatures had adapted to their circumstances and seemed well fed, cared for and acclimated to captivity. From my point of view, keeping this sanctuary in tip top shape seems like an insurmountable task, but it was obvious that staff members were bird-loving caretakers.

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center (Key Largo)–adjacent to Florida Bay–was surrounded by a natural habitat of salt marshes, mangroves and other wetland flora. It was full of life and despite the facility being right off Route 1 (main road through The Keys), you would never know it. I felt like we were on a different planet; one unchanged by the hands of flagrant industrialization. It was as though we had stepped in a time capsule and discovered what most of Florida was like 100 years ago.

cormorants, egrets, seagulls—some permanent residences of the sanctuary, others permanent trespassers of the boardwalks.

It was good to get away from the studio, unplug and reconvene with nature for a while. I don’t think my art would grow if I didn’t experience the sensations of the outside world. I don’t like a lot of hoopla, big events, tourist traps or crowded metropolises. Rather, I experience personal revival through simplicity, quietude and the scent of sea salt soothing my senses. I liked being low key down in The Keys! It’s just what my art soul needed.

Pelican crossing where pelicans have staked out pedestrial rights and were all around us as we perused the habitat. Connor loved how docile these large birds were.

Pelicans were everywhere and were more elegant and agile than stereotypes would lend us to believe. Their wings are gorgeously layered and their beaks are one of nature’s cooler inventions. I’ve never seen a pelican gulp down a fish without wagging its tail feathers afterward. I find that so cute!

Here I am hanging with my new pelican friends.

Kort was captivated by the variety of bird species and took numerous photos with his cameras. We pretty much lost track of each other as inspiration took over our bird brains.

There was one young pelican who was so sweet; its eyes shined with curiosity. It’s a little unsettling how trusting some of these creatures are towards humans given our destructive track record, with so many Florida Wetlands having been destroyed by overzealous developers along the way. There are wetland mitigation laws now in place to help minimize the impact of growth, but I still see “progress” in the form of concrete blocks eating up more and more natural habitat.

Here I am venturing into Florida Bay. I love kayaking so much! It’s such a great way to get cozy with nature while doing something good for the body. Kort and I dream of seeking out new waterway adventures with our own kayaks someday. For now, we’ll sneak it in whenever we can. If an inn has kayaks on the premises, we’re there!

Here’s a photo Kort took of a Florida sunset from Island Bay Resort in Tavernier Key. The colors were spectacular and serve as a reminder of how beautiful this world can be.


~ Lisa


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2 Responses to “Bird watching, sketching and kayaking in the Florida Keys”

  1. lisahuntart says:

    Thank you, Ronald. Glad you enjoy the drawings.

  2. ronald says:

    i love that line bird brains hahaha love the drawings you make them look so easy