Manatees, pet portrait holiday sale & Taste of the Heights

camping view

view from the campsite

So I had the BEST experience I have ever had on the water EVER last weekend! My good friend and her boyfriend invited my hubby and I to go camping with them at Ft. DeSoto, so we packed up our stuff, shipped the kids off to my parents’ house and hit the road. They scored a great campsite, as you can see from this photo. It was waterfront with a little spot to launch our kayaks and paddle boards. The wind was blowing like crazy when we got there, and our friends had four travel hammocks tied up between the Australian pines by the water. Nice.

On this trip, I got to try standup paddle boarding for the first time with my friend’s board. Let me tell you how much fun that is! It’s awesome! It wasn’t that difficult. I have pretty good balance and I am careful, so I didn’t fall. After paddling around the bay for a while, I got used to the feel. You can see absolutely everything because you are standing up above the water. We paddled for a good chunk of the day, with a break for lunch, and saw all sorts of fish, including some really big mullet, seahorses, needlefish, stingrays, and lots of birds like osprey, pelican, great white heron, tricolored heron, least terns and roseate spoonbills.

campsite visitor

campsite visitor

But the highlight of the trip was the baby manatee who followed me around for almost an hour! Now I am a Florida native and have seen manatees plenty of times, but always at the Power Plant, or Homossassa, or on a tour of some sort. I participated as a volunteer with FWC to guard and protect the manatees a couple of years during the Gasparilla boat parade. But I have never been so lucky as to just randomly run into one and have it be so interested in me! And a baby! He (in my mind it was a he) kissed my board over and over, checking it out. At one point, I thought he was going to knock me off. Mama was there too and didn’t seem to mind. She wasn’t even close at times. They are so curious, trusting and have no natural predators (except speedboats!), which is why they are always getting hurt. At one point, I had them both swimming underneath my board. I have never seen anything so cute as his little nostrils sniffing my board and his little eyes looking up, studying me. I was in love. My friend was super jealous, but finally he went over to check out her boat too. It was a bright yellow, and mine was a natural brown wood color. That could be why he liked me so much. We hung out until they swam away, which was almost an hour later. Much to my dismay, neither of us had a camera! (note to self: get waterproof case for phone)

Now I am completely addicted to paddle boarding!

holiday pet portrait sale!

holiday pet portrait sale!

The holidays are around the corner! Can you believe it? I can’t! I feel like school just started, and I can’t believe I have to get cranking already on Christmas orders.

large totebag design

large zippered tote bag design

I decided to run a half off special on pet portraits this year! $75, on sale from $150, for a 10×8 inch custom illustration of your pooch, kitty, bird or reptile, printed on fine art paper and mounted with a 20×16 inch mat – super easy to pop into a standard 20×16 inch frame.

Or you could have it printed onto a 20×16 inch canvas for $350, on sale from $400.

You can also add a tote bag with your pet’s mug on it for an additional $65, on sale from $75.

Anyone who has a pet would love a pet portrait as a gift 🙂


So you guys have been asking me a lot lately ,”When are you going to do a show where I can come see your latest stuff?” I know, I haven’t done anything outside of my studio in a while! So I decided to set up a booth at Taste of the Heights on Sunday, October 20th from 12:30 to 4:30pm. This is a great food event and walking tour through Seminole Heights, featuring all of the great eclectic restaurants and brewers and fine artists from the Seminole Heights area and some great music. I will have small scale original paintings, prints, tote bags, notecards and holiday cards with me, all great holiday gifts. Come by and say hi!

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