Four hurricanes struck Florida in August and September 2004. Storm waves swept tons of sand off the beach exposing massive coquina rocks. After the storms I went down to the beach and made several drawings of them.
I never thought much of coquina as a kid. Scattered everywhere, It was just another thing for a bare-footed boy to stub his toe on running around in the Florida wilds.
My old house on the river was built on a thick layer of it I discovered, when we had to put in a new drain-field. It took workers a week to bust through the rock shelf with a groaning backhoe. We pulled an oddly shaped one out and set it up in the yard. They make a fine Florida lawn ornament. My kids thought it looked like a rhinoceros and rode the heck out of it..
Coquina is reddish when first removed from underground, exposed to air over time, it gets harder and lighter . Castillo de San Marcos, the fort in St. Augustine, was built over 300 years ago with coquina.
After the storms, I’d find little birds, sanderlings and ruddy turnstones flitting around amongst the rocks. I often wonder where birds go during rain storms.
About eight years ago, intrigued by the contrast of textures and weight, soft, light birds against rough heavy stone, I began making studies and started this egg tempera painting of coquina rocks and a bird. And then I set it aside.
People often ask me how long it takes to make a painting. I honestly don’t know. Each painting has its own time.
Sometimes an idea is like trying to recall a dream. It comes and goes.
Painting it is the only way I can remember it.
About the Painting After the Storm
Egg tempera on panel
14 x 18 inches