The mysterious longing for beautiful places...

"I came so far for beauty/I left so much behind/

my patience and my family/my masterpiece unsigned"

~ Leonard Cohen

True for me, except all my pieces are signed.

Less than two weeks after I arrived in Florida, I sat out in someone’s backyard listening to poets and songwriters spill out their frustration at Hurricane Charlie’s wild trip. By the third poem of fear and homelessness, I asked the group if I should turn tail and run. “No, we figure in a year you’ll be living down here with us, and we’ll tell you when to run like hell.”

Music: The Whole Night Sky by Bruce Cockburn performed by Christine Collister

Wild and cultivated, wacky and conservative, this is terra infirma, where orchid growers, poets, songwriters and stargazing techies embellish a primal melody. This series, initially destined for a solo exhibition at a symphony space in Massachusetts, was painted on the west coast of Florida. At the end of each segment, I've posted some of the music I listened to while I was painting each piece.All are  approximately 30"w x 45"h

Dragon scales tend to harden when they shed, and the ones I found on the beach on Siesta Key at sunset were no exception.  A bit crusty on the rounded edges, they could have been Pele's tears sliding down the volcanoes where I lived in Hawaii.  The mist of dragon’s breath rising off the ocean holds the rancid smell of the red tide that kills manatees and causes a human’s throat to swell.

Music: The Mask and the Mirror

by Loreena McKennitt

 “Her paintings refer to intemperate myths… they evoke the sacred… intimations of the life force."Longboat Observer news

Enigmatic Paradise and the lure of tropical sojourns  (Hawaii, Indonesia, Florida)

      Murals and Rooms

Bamboo Forest, and a seaplane

Some of the residents of exclusive Longboat Key complain about too many peacocks wandering the streets, so I sent the birds out for a swim.

Music: Weaving Our Ancestors Voices by Sheila Chandra

Ocean: mermaids, mammals, corals, turtles, dolphins, whales

Wildlife art, paintings, drawings, murals, installations, textiles and clothing inspired by nature

and the mysterious longing for beautiful places

The Art of Paying Attention Nature Illustrations & Stories with audio on NPR in Tucson

The Aquarium: I created large hand-painted silk panels (approximately 4 feet high), covered with plexiglass. Sarasota home-enhancer Stephen Ehresman made custom molding for the existing curved-top niches and installed the paintings in a small round room. I painted the walls to look as if ambient light shines delicately through water. The completed room  feels like an aquarium where loggerhead turtles, angelfish and tangs swim in a reef of corals, sand dollars, and urchins.   

The Whirlpool Galaxy
as seen by
Hubble Telescope,
the circles of a conch,
the mandala of creativity.

Orchidgrowers are part farmers, scientists, and appreciators of beauty that demands patience for  plants that may bloom only once a year.                                                         
Music: No Boundaries performed by Natalie MacMaster

Sunday sunset at Siesta Beach where the drum circle beats and dances on sugary white sand, hotheaded pink meets serene teal water as the emerald flash sparks the horizon.

Music: Madman Across the Water

by Elton John & Bernie Taupin performed by Bruce Hornsby

“Don’t be scared,” said my guide as the alligator lunged for my kayak. The waters of the MyakkaRiver are a feast of birds and gators—I just didn’t want to be the main course.  “Gee, I’m glad he didn’t decide to climb across our boats,” confided the guide. My reaction,  that of shock masquerading as aplomb, earned me a new moniker. At an orchid sale the next day, I was introduced by one of my paddling companions as Gator Girl.

Music: Unaccompanied Cello Suites

by J.S. Bach performed by Yo Yo Ma


SOLO EXHIBIT OUTDOORS @Tucson Botanical Gardens until May 31, 2021.

Mountain lion

Visit the GLASS page

for more information

You Should Be So Lucky~ mountain lion, puma concolor~ 22" x 28"

pencil drawing on paper by Beth Surdut.

Available also as a 16"x20" museum-quality print.

Visit Critters for more wildlife drawings and stories in my NPR series The Art of Paying Attention.

Beth Surdut

Visual Storyteller ~ Artist ~ Wildlife Illustrator

Creativity is all of life's actions.