Florida Scenics Blog- The art of Sharon Osterholt

The Florida State Park Plein Air Painting Tour – Painting each of Florida's State Parks on location

Park #58 – Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

We arrived at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park mid-afternoon as the clouds were building. We stopped at the overlook down a deep ravine formed by Gold Head Branch. Steps wound down to the bottom, and it was a surprisingly deep canyon.

We then drove further down to the recreation area and boat ramp on the lake. Let’s all sing: “Drove my chevy to boat ramp, but the boat ramp was dry!” Yes, the boat ramp was totally high and dry. What used to be a large lake was now mostly prairie with cactus blooming. A few little remaining ponds were in distance.

Looking for water, we drove around to another side of the park and found another lake that had a section of water left. I set my easel up under a large oak and painted the vista overlooking the grassy view. As I painted the clouds got darker and it rained on me for a good 5 minutes. Luckily the oak tree made a good umbrella and I continued to paint!

As we drove home through Keystone Heights, many of the areas lakes were dry. Signs in yards read “save our lakes.” I am not sure what is causing the low water levels, but it is certainly more severe in this area than in other parts of Florida we have visited. Even without the water, the park is still very nice, especially for hiking and has many cabins perfect for larger groups.

“Fleeting Rain” – 8×10″ oil on linen panel en plein air at Gold Head Branch State Park

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