Barbara Capitman and the Wrecking Ball

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Rumor has it that she chained herself to a building to protect it. I’ve been told that is not true! But she did sleep in front of a building to keep a wrecking ball from destroying it. Learn more about Barbara Capitman in one of my children’s Art Workshops. The workshop comes with a lesson, lesson plan and 20 Splash and Coloring Art Deco coloring books. For more information, visit my website at

Swamp Creatures

Studio Apartments

Studio Apts (aka Molbar) awaiting restoration.

There’s the mistaken notion that development always fosters the economy. Plowing down trees and homes are what we call progress. I am sure that’s what developers and the city of Miami Beach had in mind years ago. Like the creature from the black lagoon, they had just witnessed Disney World rising from the swamp in Orlando.

Miami Beach had its own monsters to slay. With its drug problems, crime, and dilapidated buildings, surely this strategy would work for Miami Beach. But visionary Barbara Capitman had a better idea.


Fatal Attractions

According to NPR, after the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, some local residents on Staten Island approached the state about bulldozing their homes. They sought a buyout.

The state of New York agreed and is in the process of restoring parts of Staten Island to its natural state by bulldozing over 700 homes. New York realized that fighting nature is a losing battle. Why continue to rebuild waterfront homes when nature wreaks havoc on them. Yes, they are scenic but they are unsafe.

I realize my words are inadequate to express the range of emotions involved.  Still I believe that saving lives is at the heart of the agreement between New York and the residents of Staten Island.

Will other states like Florida follow New York’s lead? And just maybe, we as consumers need to rethink our fatal attractions to homes on the waterfront and mountainous areas before a “natural” disaster strikes.



Ocean Retreat

When it comes to being proactive, I’m not inclined to be in a preparation mode. Like most of human kind, being reactive is second nature. Poor use of words, because nature is not like that. Even animals make a change before a storm.

According to Accuweather, “Sharks swimming out to deeper water and animals moving to higher ground have all been reported before storms. “ If we prepare at all, most of us are like the Sebastian the Ibis, the mascot of the Miami Hurricanes. He is known as the last bird to retreat before a storm hits.

Ocean Retreat

“Ocean Retreat” copyright by Elaine Marie.

Not sure about this rationale, but it leaves little margin for error. Unlike Sebastian, the mangroves in Satellite Beach, Florida are retreating to pine forest ahead of the threat of rising sea level. I heard this on NPR. It appears mangroves by the droves are moving to higher ground. Fortunately, the folks at Satellite Beach are heeding the example of the mangroves and are discussing ways to deal with the rising sea level on the barrier island.

It’s the economy stupid!

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An idyllic painting of “Marco Island” copyright by Elaine Marie.

I was just reading an article in the Pensacola News Journal with the headline: ”Red Tide off Northwest Florida may hit economy.” Then the article goes on to talk about the impact of the red tide on people and wildlife.

Like I said, it’s money that moves this Nation. And the state of Florida is no different. Tourism is the state’s main money driver. With no state taxes, the Sunshine State has to focus on tourism to survive. That focus should drive us to preserve our natural resources not destroy them. Eco-tourism is clean tourism. Florida has 1, 1197 of coastline. That can be to our peril or delight.

I have an Art Trip planned for the Northwest coast of Florida. I was thinking about cancelling the trip because of the red tide. An idyllic painting is what I had in mind. But I think the times call for a different approach and I did say I was passionate about preservation and ecology. Right?

National Estuary Day


The setting of this painting is Fort George Island, Florida.

Love an Estuary! Sept. 20-27 is National Estuary Week. Estuaries are wetlands that contain fresh and salt water. They provide a haven for endangered species and many varieties of wildlife.

My favorite estuary is on Fort George Island, Florida. I love to paint there. Fort George Island offers great fishing, kayaking and numerous recreational activities.
I like this quote from Marc Chagall: “Great art picks up where nature ends.”

What’s your favorite estuary?

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

Spoken Word and Art Exhibit Sept 21 at Miami Beach Botanical Garden

This year’s 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act got me thinking. The Act protects and preserves our natural resources. Yet many of our resources are still under attack. The St. Johns River near Jacksonville is one of the Nation’s most endangered rivers. The Florida Everglades remains in a fragile state. Then I heard on NPR that developers want to move in on the Grand Canyon. Remember the BP oil spill? You may have forgotten, but its impact will last for years. And the Keystone pipeline? Well we got a surplus of oil in North America without it. The common thread in all this is our constant thirst for more. When will we be satisfied to coexist with nature? When is enough, enough?


My surrealistic painting “Beach Erosion” will be on display at the exhibit “Inspirations from Paris” Sept 21-27 at Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

I am very passionate about preservation and Eco-tourism. My exhibit “Inspirations from Paris” is about Eco-tourism. Because money is really what drives our Nation. I focus on Eco-tourism and not just ecology. Eco-tourism is big money in Florida. Our coastline is what draws people here. If there is no coastline, guess what?