Artist in Residence: News From the Rookery Bay Research Research

Hi everyone! Another art class has come and gone for me here in Florida. Where does the time go? This year’s turnout was really good, and I feel like I’m finally getting a professional foothold here. While everything does take time, I love watching my student following grow whenever I go to a new location. It really proves that art is a universal love. I’m blessed with knowing that I can recreate my love to teach wherever I may roam. Artist in Residence at Rookery Bay

Last week I had the honor of being appointed Artist in Residence for the Rookery Bay Research Reserve. What started out four years ago as a “please let me rent a room to teach” request, has become a full program that I can develop. I’m still far from being able to move from Kansas to here completely, but it’s an exciting adventure for me to take on.

This new appointment will help my classes grow by getting me more into the public view as an artist, and increasing awareness of what we now have to offer. I’ll be able to give lectures and art demonstrations around the community, and bring people in to the center. Rookery Bay is a huge supporter of the arts, and it has a nice art gallery promoting local artists and photographers. While they offer photography classes, they’ve never had an art program before. I’m proud to be the one who’s creating it!

While I’m looking forward to my art classes as usual, we’ll also be developing new art adventures, such as a series called “Learn about Florida,” where I discuss the natural beauty here. As I speak, I’ll have my audience do small, uncomplicated drawings of the Florida state icons, such as the state bird, (Mockingbird), the state flower, (Orange Blossom), the state butterfly, (Zebra Longwing) and, of course, my favorite, the state animal, which is the Panther.

Friends of the Florida Panther, art by Lee Hammond

This is one of the Panther drawings I created in colored pencil.

I’m also going to offer kayak tours, (after some extensive training on my part) to paddle out into the bay and sketch and paint the mangrove trees and birds. There are miles and miles of hiking trails available here, and I’m looking forward to adding some nature studies to the program as well.

Part of my job will be to continue creating art to aid in fundraising for the many nature based agencies here. I’m still very active in the “Friends of the Florida Panther” program. Next month at our yearly open house at the panther refuge, about six of my original drawings of the Florida Panther will be auctioned off. Hopefully it’ll bring in some much-needed funds for this awesome animal that is so much in peril.

This program will take a while to mature and develop, but it’s an exciting adventure indeed. I’ve said in previous blogs that no part of my career has ever been planned, and this new phase is a perfect example of that. It seemed to have come out of nowhere. If you had said to me 10 years ago that I’d be doing things like this, I simply would’ve laughed. But then again, they also said I would be in a wheelchair with MS too. Hmmmm. I sure showed them, huh? It’s true, all things are possible with the right frame of mind!

I hope you’ll stay tuned here for stories that develop from my new Artist in Residence position, and will consider coming here to Naples to take part in some of it. Naples is a wonderful place to vacation (you may risk moving here yourself), and I would love to create art here with you in the warm, tropical climate during the winter. Most of you have had a real doozy of a winter, so I’m offering you an alternative for next year!

Bye for now,


Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond


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One thought on “Artist in Residence: News From the Rookery Bay Research Research

  1. Sunshine99

    Lee, Congratulations on your new position! Looks like you have exciting ideas and plans for enhancing people’s participation in art and nature.

    Good luck sketching from a kayak. I try that in a lake, and have difficulty keeping the kayak from shifting around while I am trying to sketch. I have to stop every few minutes to reorient the kayak; it can get annoying. If you find a good method for staying in place, I hope you will blog about it. Otherwise, there’s nothing more pleasant than being out on the lake, enjoying the sunshine or clouds, the mountains, views, and changing interplay of light on the scene. It’s pleasant as long as one is not rushed.

    Thank you for sharing so much inspiration as well as technique tips!