Close Ups

Text Box: Captiva Island, Florida  1983

Captiva is a beautiful island in the Gulf of Mexico off Fort Myers Florida. There’s a causeway from Fort Myers to Sanibel, and Captiva is attached to Sanibel by a spit of land. The first time we went to the area, when Amy was six or seven, we booked a rental on Sanibel but there was something in the listing about a boat dock that made us think it might not be safe for her. When Gerry checked with the rental agent she was told that there are fresh water canals on Sanibel and the rental was on one of these canals. Gerry asked if there was a safe area for Amy to swim and was told that we should just be careful of the alligators.  She immediately cancelled the rental.

There are no fresh water canals on Captiva so there are no alligators and we rented there instead. Gerry found us a fantastic house right on the Gulf. The group of properties had a pool and the sunsets were magnificent.

There was only one problem for me. There’s nothing terribly old on Captiva so I had a lot of trouble finding something to draw. There was a tree stump on the beach with the roots exposed. It was nothing like my regular subjects but it was the oldest thing in the vicinity so I decided to give it a try.

It ended up as one of my favorite drawings. I had to do it in short sittings because of the sun and heat but I was really pleased with it. We used it for a Christmas card the next year. 

In the early days of using my drawings as holiday cards I tried to add a Christmasy touch like a wreath on a door. I decided eventually that the drawing was more a Christmas gift than a Christmas greeting so I stopped trying to adapt them.

One friend at work approached me and said she had figured this card out. She had decided that it was the stump of an evergreen and that was the tie-in. I almost told her that she was right because it seemed like a cool idea but I was honest instead.

We were back in Captiva the next Spring and I did the following two drawings and then decided that I was done with dead trees.

We arrived late in the day the first time we were here and the water was so warm and beautiful we let Amy wade in at sunset. I thought I had made a terrible mistake when I saw a fin in the water. Of course it was a dolphin and not a shark so everything was fine.

Amy and Adam on the beach a few years later.

This was the Spring before Adam was born.

And the Spring after Adam was born. He loved the pool.

All material copyright 2016 Neil Borrell

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