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 #75 – Camp Helen State Park

After lunch we arrived at Camp Helen State Park. It is located where a large dune lake (Lake Powell) enters the Gulf of Mexico. It is a very pretty location, on a hill overlooking the lake and ocean.

Back in 1947, the property was a vacation resort for the the employees of a textile mill in Alabama. They called their resort Avondale Mills and many of the old 1940’s era buildings are still here. There are colorful cabins, stables, the old camp kitchen  and a very nice lodge overlooking the lake.

I decided to take the trail down to the beach. As I walked the trail loaded with my painting gear it got harder and harder to walk in the deep white sugar sand.  As I went further, the heat was pounding and it was either turn back or trudge on! I trudged on and finally made it to the beach. Once there I was pretty much too tired to walk anywhere else! So to rest I put down my gear and explored the lake with my camera. Here is where the freshwater lake empties to the ocean. It is a dark tea colored water, but very clear and I could see fish and crabs happily swimming around.

Since I wasn’t about to try the walk back to the main park yet, I set up to paint the old pier. There isn’t much left of the pier, and soon it will be gone. Just last night as I was watching TV, a commercial came on for some country music. I noticed the pier in the background! So I had to look up the video and found Luke Bryan had recently filmed a music video at the very same pier. I am sure he didn’t walk that sandy beach path though, they probably cheated and used a 4-wheeler to carry their gear! The video does have some great aerial views of where the lake meets the gulf. Watch it here.

For more information on Camp Helen State Park, visit their website

Camp Helen Pier - 6x8

Camp Helen Pier – 6×8″ oil on canvas panel

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