Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting out in the Prairie

Fish Prairie Outskirts 16 x 20

I’m Steve Andrews and I’m thrilled to be involved in this project. I’m a “full-blooded Floridian”, which is rare these days. I was born in Orlando. Both of my parents were born in Orlando. I grew up in Titusville and now live in Tallahassee. So I’ve seen a lot of changes in the Florida environment. I’ve been a professional painter for more than fifteen years. I concentrate on Florida landscapes, and one of my continuing themes is capturing the vanishing landscape of Florida.
So this project is right up my alley. Six artists creating paintings of six Florida prairies in North Central Florida with an added benefit of supporting conversation efforts related to those prairies. "Prairies in Florida?" You ask. If you've driven I-75 you've seen Payne's Prairie just south of Gainesville. The Interstate and Highway 441 cut right through the middle of the prairie. It looks like a giant swamp or a drained lake or something but if you get out in the prairie you will see that every square inch of it is teaming with life.
A good place to check out is the elevated walkway on Highway 441 that leads out about a hundred yards into the middle of Payne’s Prairie. It’s definitely worth a detour if you’re traveling on I-75 and you get a chance to stop. If you’re headed south on I-75 take exit 382 (Williston Road) and head east. At the first intersection turn right on SW 34th St. and take it until it dead ends into Highway 441. Turn right (south) on 441 and observation walkway is in the middle of the prairie. To complete the detour just head south on 441 to CR 234 and turn right. Interstate 75 is only a couple of minutes away. If you’re heading north just reverse these directions. Last weekend I made this detour while heading back to Tallahassee. Unfortunately I arrived at the same time that this thunderstorm arrived. Fortunately, I stayed around a while and got great photos so you will probably be seeing this storm cloud again.

If you’re like me you’ve driven across this prairie countless times and wondered what the heck was going on. Take a minute to check it out.
Thanks for looking.

Steve Andrews