The Florida State Park Plein Air Painting Tour – Painting each of Florida's State Parks on location
When we arrived at O’Leno State Park, it was a misty slightly foggy morning and the weather stayed that way for most of the day. It never rained, but the threat must’ve kept people away as there were only a few people to be seen. Which was great for us, we had the park practically to ourselves!
The first thing we did was cross the log suspension bridge over the Santa Fe River. As one of Florida’s first state parks it also features a few old log buildings left over from the 1930’s ccc (civilian conservation corps) activity. The bridge swayed slightly as we crossed high above the river. On the other side, a trail winds down by the river bank offering views of the swift moving black water. The trees here are covered in a green moss making the cypress forest look ancient and lush. Although this side of the river was beautiful – it didn’t offer the view I wanted, so I traveled back across the bridge to the other side. I found this old cypress and the black water rippling over the rocks.
As I painted Rick made his way over and decided to fish in my spot! I picked a good spot because he caught 2 bass right by me, but no where else he tried. Fish must be attracted to the smell of oil paint!
One of the most interesting things about this park is the river disappears totally underground, then re-appears about 3 miles down the road. There is a separate park where the river resurfaces called River Rise. Before you leave O’Leno be sure to ask about entrance to River Rise from the park ranger.
For more information about this park, visit their website