Sunday, September 30, 2018

Florida #9

I'm afraid I have not given Florida as much time as it deserves, as it played such a key role in two Presidential elections.   Here is a good report on why Florida is so important in Presidential elections.

And here is why Florida went for Trump in the last election.  Just 56 percent of Florida voters younger than 30 turned out in the last presidential election. Among voters 65 and older, turnout was 82 percent. If younger voters had turned out at greater numbers Hillary Clinton would have defeated Donald Trump in Florida, and won the state’s 29 electoral votes.

Meanwhile I have been thinking about this job of painting the states and decided from now on I am going to work on a painting that can be a postcard, since after all, this is Postcards From Merion. (and I love postcards).

Here are a couple of ideas I thought of for Florida but decided not to paint.  I have not quite finished the one I decided on, so stay tuned for that exciting news.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Florida #7

There is a lot of Florida history that I am not covering so I will just sum up some stuff and try to note some interesting tidbits.  In the 19th Century the Spanish were in control of Florida.

At that time many people from the backwoods of South Carolina and Georgia who were of English and Scots Irish ancestry gradually moved across the border into Northern Florida.  The Spanish could not affectively patrol the border so these immigrants came in great numbers.

These were the original "Crackers".  This word originally means "boasters" and goes back to Shakespeare's time.  When boasters frequently cracked jokes.

 William Shakespeare's King John Act II. Scene I. (1595): "What cracker is this same that deafs our ears/ With this abundance of superfluous breath?" (substitute Tweets for breath and it could be from today's news)

Many of these Crackers became cowmen.  There are three distinct types of cattle managers.

Crackers:  Florida cowboys did not use lassos to herd or capture cattle. Their primary tools were cow whips and dogs. Florida cattle and horses were smaller than the western breeds. The "cracker cow", also known as the "native" or "scrub" cow, averaged about 600 pounds (270 kg) and had large horns and large feet.[4]

Vagueros were originally from Spain and used horses to round up cattle.

Cowboys are Vagueros who evolved because of the conditions unique to the United States which included very large herds of cattle and shipping cattle in large trains across the country.  These cowboys often used poles to poke the cattle onto the train.  This is where the word "cowpoke" comes from.  The cowboy also often had other jobs around the ranch besides herding cattle and participated in rodeos and of course starred in more movies than there are Buffalo.

This fine painting is in the public domain with no artist attribution.
(Note to artists - SIGN BIG)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Florida #6

Today I am busy so just pasting in some interesting tidbits from Wikipedia.  You will notice there are a lot of postcards in these posts.  There is a method in this madness which will only be disclosed at the end of the month.

Florida attracted numerous Africans and African Americans from adjacent British colonies who sought freedom from slavery. In 1738, Governor Manuel de Montiano established Fort Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose near St. Augustine, a fortified town for escaped slaves to whom Montiano granted citizenship and freedom in return for their service in the Florida militia, and which became the first free black settlement legally sanctioned in North America.[24][25]
In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War. It was part of a large expansion of British territory following their victory in the Seven Years' War. A large portion of the Floridano population left, taking along most of the remaining indigenous population to Cuba.[26] The British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point called Wacca Pilatka, or the British name "Cow Ford", ostensibly reflecting the fact that cattle were brought across the river there.[27][28][29]...Wikipedia

Siege of Pensacola by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Florida #5

I don't usually go into the flora and fauna of each state but Florida has so many unusual inhabitants it seems worth noting.
Florida is the only continental U.S. state with a coral reef, called the Florida Reef.  It is also home to the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin and manatee.  These can all be found in Everglades National Park.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Florida #4

In 1538 DeSoto landed in Florida thus beginning the profound influence of the Spanish in Florida culture and architecture.  The relationship in Florida to African Americans is a bit different from the other states we have visited. Interesting how many paintings of mestizos and mulattos there are.  It must have been either quite ubiquitous or fascinating curiosity at the time.  Also interesting how mannered the poses are, heads held to the side in a gesture of what?  Just the style of the artist or some sort of comment?

"Some Spanish married or had unions with Pensacola, Creek or African women, both slave and free, and their descendants created a mixed-race population of mestizos and mulattos. The Spanish encouraged slaves from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to Catholicism. King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Most went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. St. Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683.[25]"...Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Florida #3

The earliest people in Florida were the Paleoindians who date back to 13,000 to 20,000 years ago.  If you are interested in the slow development of culture before European contact here is a good resource.  When the Spanish arrived in the 1500's they found a variety of indigenous people. This is what happened to them.

"Europeans encountered many groups of indigenous peoples in Florida. Recorded information on various groups ranges from numerous detailed reports to the mere mention of a name. Some of the indigenous peoples were taken into the system of Spanish missions in Florida, others had sporadic contact with the Spanish without being brought into the mission system, but many of the peoples are known only from mention of their names in historical accounts. All of these peoples were essentially extinct in Florida by the end of the 18th century.
Most died from exposure to Eurasian infectious diseases, such as smallpox and measles, to which they had no immunity, and others died from warfare: with both the Spanish and English raiders from the Carolinas and their Indian allies. Others were carried away to slavery by the Spanish (in the 16th century) and by the English and their Indian allies (in the late 17th century and early 18th century). The few survivors migrated out of Florida, mainly to Cuba and New Spain (Mexico) with the Spanish as they ceded Florida to Britain in 1763 following the Seven Years' War, although a few Apalachee reached Louisiana, where their descendants still live."  Wikipedia

Here is some Seminole art from the Reeve's Collection.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Florida #2

The word "Florida" is Spanish for "Land of the Flowers".  It is the one state I think everyone can locate on the map as it sticks prominently into the seas on our East coast.  The Gulf of Mexico is on the West side, the Atlantic Ocean on the East side and the Straits of Florida to the South.  Much of the State is at or near sea level and it has the lowest high point in the Union.

Here is a cheery version of the Florida Song with lots of photos complete with bathing beauties and alligators.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


It's September so we are off to Florida. 

A lot of people retire to Florida.  Our President retires to Florida quite often and we can only hope he makes it a permanent condition in the near future.

I am thinking of changing my painting routine a bit, or perhaps including some real postcards of my design in the mix of work from the states.  I love postcards and I suppose because of email very few people send them anymore.  It might be a good way to combine more than one image from each state.  Here is an old one from Florida.