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 #137 – Blue Springs State Park

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


Blue Springs Run – 8×10″ oil on linen panel



2 comments on “Park #137 – Blue Springs State Park

  1. marge drew
    December 28, 2015

    I love your Blue Springs painting.. and it was nice to seeTalapia fish swiming there.. at least all are not farmed.Your photos are super of this park.. Thanks for the blog There is so much to see and to do there.. Was the tour boatsrunning when you were there? I really enjoyed taking themthrough the marsh last time I was there..  Margé

  2. FlaScenics
    December 28, 2015

    Thanks Margé! Blue springs has changed a lot since the last time I was there. the springs seem less clear and more green. But the Thursby house looks great. I didn’t see any tour boats go out, but it was parked at the dock, so maybe just not going out since it was Christmas Eve day.

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