The Florida State Park Plein Air Painting Tour – Painting each of Florida's State Parks on location
I visited Blue Springs State Park in Orange City on Christmas Eve day. When I arrived early in the morning, there weren’t many people there at all and I had the boardwalk to myself!
It has been very warm and muggy so far this year, so most of the manatees that normally visit the spring to stay warm during the winter haven’t arrived yet. I did see a few manatee hanging out near where the spring run enters the St. John’s River.
I walked along the boardwalk all the way to the main spring. From here the view was obscured by oaks, and there weren’t any manatees either, so I walked all the way back to a dock that floats on the river. Usually swimmers would make this an impossible spot to paint, but lucky for me swimming is closed during the manatee season.
I chose to paint a palm tree as it leaned over the clear green waters of the spring run. When I first started to paint a young little blue heron was resting on an old metal piece near the shore. He flew away before I was done, but I added him in from memory!
As I painted I could hear splashes made by the fish. Some of the fish swam real close to my dock and I could see they were tarpon! I was surprised to see tarpon in the springs. They are a saltwater species, and the spring is clear fresh water! There are some salt springs a little ways upriver, so this is probably what helps them survive in the springs.
The park started to get crowded as I was finishing up the painting, so I packed my gear and headed home to celebrate a warm Christmas Eve!
For more information about this park, visit their website