Monday, October 17, 2016

Urban Sustainability and Natural Stormwater Treatment, SoCo Cultural District

I've recently moved to southwest Florida and have been impressed with some of the forward thinking sustainable, 'green' urban stormwater ideas implemented by the local municipalities and contractors.
#Urban Sustainability and natural stormwater treatment by using grass for filtration
Water quality is a 'hot topic' to most all here.

Keeping urban runoff clean is important and especially so in this vicinity due to all the migrating water birds making winter homes nearby.

One of my favorite, sustainably easy and inexpensive to implement (during urban design phases) stormwater treatment methods is to install stormwater collectors in grassy areas rather than in black asphalt or concrete lots.

The above photo illustrates how the contractor installed the stormwater collection grate within a grassy swale.

Grass and surrounding vegetation acts as natural filters to clean stormwater before entering collection culverts and pipes.

Grassy areas also allow much of the runoff to infiltrate back into the ground area and eventually replenish the aquifer.

On the other hand, runoff collected from paved landscapes is not filtered per se and contains straight oils and greases and other toxins.

Every little bit helps.

Of course native ground covers and plants would even be better than grasses.

However I am encouraged by this one step in the right direction towards partnering with plants to clean stormwater and helping keep our world a bit cleaner.

I'll be posting some photos of sustainable, innovatively designed swales over the next few weeks.

Another exciting aspect of this area is the SoCo district in Fort Myers.  SoCo Cultural District is an area with integrated arts, cultural experiences, sustainability examples and neighborhood food markets.

Check out the above link and watch for more 'urban and cultural sustainability' examples here soon!



Friday, July 29, 2016

Bog Rainstorm, Gíclee on Aluminum Plate, Signed, Original #Biodiversity Native Plants

18" x 18" Florida bog plants on aluminum plate, signed original.  Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com
Florida nature art. Bog rainstorm with native plants.

Florida native plants include, xyris, sabattia, rhea, candy root and terrestrial orchids belonging to the Calopogon genus.

#biodiversity #native #plants

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hogfish Key, Gíclee on Aluminum 18" x 24"

Hogfish key, inspired by the wonderful tasting snapper, Florida sunsets and native plant filled seashores.  Inquires to kssonger@gmail.com

Hogfish Key, Gíclee on Aluminum 18" x 24"


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Big Bald Cypress

The latest addition to the Florida Wild Art collection is a Gíclee on 3 mm aluminum, 27" x 36", matte finish.

The study of cypress colors was a fascinating learning experience for me during the creation of this illustration.  Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum  has a very unique color and hue palette of rich earth tones.

Some of these larger bald cypress here in Florida and hundreds if not thousands of years old.  Many were already growing when Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas.

Osprey, one of the best fishing and hunting raptors of all birds often nests in the top of older bald cypress.

This is a beautiful, one of a kind work of art.  One edition print only, signed by Kevin.

Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Beach Burrow

My love of the seashores here in Florida is endless.
Beach Burrow, Gíclee on aluminum plate, signed, limited edition

Gopher tortoise beach burrow with dune vegetation, including railroad vine, dune daisy, gaillardia, coral bean, saw palmetto, prickly pear cactus, sea oats and more.

Do you see the beach mouse?

Gíclee on aluminum plate. Signed limited edition.  Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Native Shrub and Tree Mandala Square

Native shrubs and trees are amazing as are the different ecosystems these plants make their home within.
Nature Art, Native Shrub-Tree Mandala by Kevin Shea, Gíclee on Aluminum Plate, limited signed edition
My Florida Native Shrub-Tree Mandala Square is comprised of three separate and unique mandala triads; one for uplands, one for wetlands and one for the seashore.

Assembled together they represent the nine trees and shrubs I've grown to love and adore here in Florida and together create the Native Shrub-Tree Mandala Square.

The upland mandala triad is illustrated with beautyberry, Callicarpa americana; saw palmetto, Serenoa repens; and winged sumac, Rhus copallina (aka lemonade bush) all framed with a coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens vine.
Native shrub Upland Mandala by Kevin Shea, Gíclee on Aluminum Plate, limited signed edition
Wetlands are represented by bald cypress, Taxodium distichum; red maple, Acer rubrum; and wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera enclosed in Carolina jessamine vineage.
Native shrub Wetland Mandala by Kevin Shea, Gíclee on Aluminum Plate, limited signed edition
Seashore mandala is created using sea grapes, Coccoloba uvifera; dune daisy, Helianthus debilis; and coral bean, Erythrina herbacea embraced by railroad vine, Ipomia pes-caprae.

Native shrub Seashore Mandala by Kevin Shea, Gíclee on Aluminum Plate, limited signed edition
Native plants are now being recommended and specified by both local and state governments for landscape projects, such as FDOT's wildflower and right-of-way native plant programs as well as used by private developers for commercial projects.  Of course, native plants are very often found in residential landscapes.

As word spreads of the beauty and sustainability characteristics of native shrubs, trees and wildflowers usage within the urban and created landscapes hopefully will continue to proliferate.

Florida's wilderness is filled with amazing texture, color, and importance to all life.

Florida's native plants are truly a wonder worth learning of and preserving.

Gíclee on aluminum plate, high gloss, limited editions, signed by Kevin.

Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Alligator Springs

Florida's swamps and springs are amazing places.
Alligator Springs, A Lazy Florida Afternoon

Providing habitat for many plants and animals alike, Florida springs are tunnels down into a limestone subterranean aquifer from whence cold, clear water rushes to the surface.

If you've ever visited one of the many Florida springs - most of which are protected through state park designation, you will understand my fondness for these unique ecosystems.

Alligator Springs is a limited edition Gíclee on aluminum, signed production by Kevin Shea and features many native species typically found in and around a clear blue Florida spring.

Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Red Drum, Sciaenops ocellatus in Mangrove Flats

Redfish, or red drums as otherwise known, Sciaenops ocellatus are some of Florida's most exciting fish to encounter on a trip to the flats with rod and reel.
Redfish, Sciaenops ocellatus, gíclee on aluminum plate limited edition by Kevin Shea

Enjoy your favorite game fish each day with this limited edition gíclee on aluminum plate, signed by Kevin.

Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Florida Nature Art; Ibis, Green Tree Frogs and the Pickerelweed

Ibis' legs and beaks turn a blazing bright red during spring mating season.
Ibis, Green Tree Frogs and Pickerel Wildflower, Gíclee on aluminum plate

Once referred to as 'Everglades Chickens', Ibis, Eudocimus albus, have survived the hunting onslaught of the early twentieth century and are now a commonly seen waterbird here in southwest Florida's wetlands amongst pickerel weed plants, Pontederia cordata.

Can you find the alligators?

The Green Tree Frog, Hyla cinerea, on the other hand is now under attack by the larger, more aggressive brown Cuban tree frog.

The smaller native tree frog requires taller plants to escape the invasive predator but with urban development, proper habitat for the Florida native amphibian to escape within is rapidly disappearing.

Celebrating Florida wilds in art!  Gíclee on aluminum plate, signed and numbered limited edition.

Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com.



Monday, March 28, 2016

Florida Nature Art - "Mangrove Creek" with Great Blue Heron, Ibis, Spoonbill, Cormorant and Seagull

Mangrove Creek is one of my favorite places to go along Florida's southwest coast.
Mangrove Creek, Gíclee on Aluminum, Signed, Limited Edition by Kevin Shea

This is a place full of beauty, mystery and healing.

Not only do amazing colors flow together but sounds I never hear in the city surround me, like the Mangrove Snapping Shrimp - hearing this third loudest but tiny sea creature should be on everyone's bucket list.

Sea birds call.

Gentle salt water currents lap the shoreline.

It is good.

Gíclee on aluminum plate or canvas, 10" x 40", signed limited edition.

Inquiries to kssonger@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Ghost Orchids, Dendrophylax lindenii and the Cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus

Mandala for Saturday is Ghost Orchids and the Cottonmouth.
Mandala Ghost Orchids and the Cottonmouth by Kevin Shea


Dedicated to the Fakahatchee Strand park in the Everglades.

Gíclee on aluminum plate with hanging racks on back, signed limited edition by Kevin.

The ghost orchid is many times found on pop ash trees, as illustrated in the mandala.  Pop ash, Fraxinus caroliniana is a small tree typically found growing in many parts of South Florida's everglades.

Along with the pop ash, the mandala celebrates a variety of lichens, including Christmas lichen, Cryptothecia rubrocincta.

Celebrating nature and biodiversity through wild art!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rabbit on a Stick, Green Roofs, Fresh Fertilizer & Florida Permaculture

My green roof friend in France once suggested a good way to eat rabbit is on a stick with mustard.  It sounds good, 
but I've never tried rabbit on a stick.
Florida Permaculture Garden's Jack Rabbit in his Green Roofed Pen
However in the Florida Permaculture Garden rabbits played an important permaculture role.  The bunnies provided us
with some of the most potent, ready to use fertilizers.
Ruby the Rabbit, Florida Permaculture Garden
In the Permaculture Garden, rabbits are one of the easiest livestock animals to keep.  They are quiet (except when a 
predator is around), their poo is ready to use without the required cooling off period normally associated with chicken 
manure, they are tasty and reproduce at lightening speeds.
Permaculture Green Roof for Rabbit Pen under construction

Our rabbit hutch has a vegetated roof.  Simple permaculture concepts.  Rabbits eat clipped forage off their green roof,
rabbits grow, rabbits poo, we use the rabbit poo to fertilize and grow more plants on the rabbit hutch green roof, 
rabbits produce more rabbits and green roof plants feed the babies.
Rabbit forage on the Pen's Green Roof
Perfect perpetual motion machine.  Almost.

Fortunately, the rabbit hutch green roof was not expensive.  In fact, the hutch was built with only recycled stormwater 
panels, used felt material, wood scraps, old tin sheets and some chicken wire left over from the hen coop.
Remember, for green roofs on the cheap - structure, soil media and proper plants!
The rabbits loved their 'green' coop and the living roof kept them cool during the hot summer months.

We had the very best permaculture fertilizer one could have, a gift from the rabbits in return for their 'green' digs.
Florida Permaculture Garden's Green Roof Rabbit Pen makes for happy & hoppy bunnies
Much the way many living wall designers use felt or a non-woven geosynthetic, I rolled and inserted the felt fabric 
into the stormwater panels for a base growing platform.  The panels were placed atop a standard piece of roofing tin 
over wooden rafters above the rabbit cages.
Simple piece of tin covers the pen rafters under the DIY green roof system
The purpose for using the 50mm stormwater panels was to give the living roof a structural dimension, one that would 
place the weight of the green roof over the stronger outside pen supporting walls rather than on the rafters.
A reused gutter drain served as a green roof crown cap
Once the felt was embedded, rabbit poo, leaves and compost was added to the panels.  Garlic, rye and  other forage 
plant seed was added.  Soon the roof was green with tempting bunny forage.  The felt acted to wick water across the 
roof,  provided oxygen, drainage and a structural grid for roots to attach to.

Green roofs don't have to be expensive.  Think - support, innovative soil platform and proper plants.

As for the rabbits, I'm a vegan so I'll stick with collecting poo pellets for fertilizer!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Monarch and Milkweed

Monarch and sulfur butterflies (Danaus plexippus and Phoebis sennae) and milkweed (Asclepius tuberosa) mandala.
Monarch and Milkweed Mandala, Florida Nature Art by Kevin Shea

Gíclee high gloss on aluminum plate with hanger, limited edition, signed by Kevin.

Tribute to amazing butterflies and an amazing wildflower.

Contact kssonger@gmail.com for inquiries.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Sea Turtle and Kelp Mandala by Kevin Shea

Enjoy the endangered sea turtle mandala below.  Available on aluminum plate with hanging rails (produced in Germany) in 15" diameter size or larger upon request.
Sea Turtle and Kelp Mandala by Kevin Shea

Limited edition signed and numbered.

Inquiries may be directed to kssonger@gmail.com

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Horseshoe Crab, Limulus polyphemus, Tricolor Heron, Egretta tricolor and the Sanibel Estuary

Mandala Horseshoe Crab Estuary
Red mangroves, seagrapes, the tricolor heron and horseshoe crabs celebrate life each day in the Sanibel estuaries on the lee side of the island.

Salty breezes, snapping shrimp popping in the near distance, wading birds calling and flying overhead as the sun sets - these are nature's wonderful attributes found back up in the mysterious red mangrove bayside inlets of Sanibel Island.

Mandala Horseshoe Crab celebrates life.  Each plant and creature alike glorify our infinite cosmos, the wonder of life.

15" Gíclee on aluminum plate with hanger, signed and numbered limited edition print.  Inquire kssonger@gmail.com.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Mandala Monarch, Danaus plexippus and Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa

Mandalas are awesome, the circular nature and abstract content layout actually open my mind to new universes of awareness.

Mandala Milkweed and the Monarch by Kevin Shea
Monarch butterfly's beauty invites my mind to travel deep into the universe.  Intricacies finer than cut gemstones reflect and diffuse sunlight into amazing hues of orange and burnt sienna.  Nature is amazing.

Monarch butterfly's larval food of choice is butterflyweed or orange milkweed.  Orange milkweed is a magnificent native plant here in Florida and across many  portions of North America.  Drought tolerant, milkweed takes sand or dirt and a minimal amount of water and produces stunning, bright orange terminal flower clusters.

Mandala monarch and milkweed was a challenge to turn into art.  The brilliant orange colors of both the monarch butterfly and the orange milkweed are unusual in nature and were difficult for me to integrate into an overall color scheme my eyes could accept.

I spent hours outdoors studying habitat and both the native plant's leaves and flowers as well as the monarch larvae and adult butterfly.

Mandala Monarch takes me up and away high into the sky.  I am ready for the migration voyage across the Gulf of Mexico to great oyamel firs found within mountain valleys of Michoacan Mexico.

We live within the midst of amazing, infinite nature.

Travel there with the Monarch and Milkweed mandala.  15" diameter Gíclee on aluminum plate with hanging rack attached to rear, signed and numbered limited edition print.  Inquires may be directed to kssonger@gmail.com


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Florida Nature Art, Mandala Elderberry, Sambucus nigra and Purple Hairstreak Butterfly, Altides halesus

Elderberry is a magnificent native wildflower and fruit bearing plant, cherished by humans and wildlife alike.
Elderberry and Purple Hairstreak Mandala by Kevin Shea

Flower and Berry Detail
Great purple hairstreak butterfly can often be seen foraging across elderberry flowers in parts of Florida and across the nation.

I like to think elderberry makes a great urban landscape planting.  She is drought tolerant, grows quickly, provides good screen coverage with her foliage and attracts birds and pollinators.

Elderberry fruit makes delicious jam, jelly and of course is renown for our ancestor's elderberry wine.

The purples and greens in this mandala take me to those hot summer Florida afternoons where the mockingbirds are calling and sweet, cold ice tea is in my cup.

I love this Florida nature mandala.

15" diameter gíclee on aluminum plate with hangers, numbered and signed limited edition print.  For inquiries contact the artist kssonger@gmail.com

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Seepage Sand Mandala, Florida Native Plant and Wildflower Art

Seepage Sand Mandala. 
Seepage Sand Mandala by Kevin Shea
About a year's worth of illustrating. Seepage sands habitat are special. Our plant nursery was located in such an area and I grew to love and appreciate the native plants and wildflowers. Seepage Sand Mandala incorporates; gallberry, shiny blueberry, smilax, rayless sunflower, xyris, pitcher plants, Sabatias, Grass pinks, Sundew and more ( check out the level of amazing detail ). Limited edition ink on aluminum plate. Inquire kssonger@gmail.com


Level of detail

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bidens Beggar Tick Mandala, Gíclee on Gloss Aluminum Plate, 16" Diameter

Bidens alba is one of those native wildflowers you see every day, or at least I do. In my opinion,
Bidens Mandala by Kevin Songer - Nature & Wildflower Mandalas

Bidens is one of the most important pollinator plants in Florida and across much of the nation. When most other wildflowers are dormant due to drought, floods, cold or heat, Bidens can usually be found blooming somewhere in the neighborhood.

 During most of the year Bidens can be found bluing at the seashore, along the edges of ponds and marshes, in creeks, across sandy vacant lots and even in the gutters of buildings!

The Bidens mandala contains three of my favorite Bidens species; Bidens alba (white), Bidens laevis (usually found growing in wet ditches), and Bidens mitis (little yellow blooms filling marshes and creeks).

The mandala is created on gloss plate aluminum and each is numbered and signed as a limited production print of 250 total.

Enjoy Florida wildflowers in your own home with one of Kevin's wildflower mandalas!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Railroad Vine Mandala, Ipomoea pes-caprae Gíclee on Gloss Aluminum Plate

Mandala art form has always touched my heart.  I see the infinite cosmos and minute life forms flowing through the circular designs.
Railroad Vine Mandala Ipomoea pes-caprae, 16" dia Gíclee on Gloss Aluminum by Kevin Shea
Working on a collection of native plant mandala's I began to really become attracted to the luminescent railroad vine, Ipomoea pes-caprae.

Railroad vine grows in the salty sands of frontal dunes and attracts so very many beachfront pollinator insects as well as me, too.

I invite you to journey into railroad vine mandala.  You can actually hear the waves come ashore then flow back into the deep.  With wind in your hair, sand between your toes and salt on your lip, let railroad mandala minister peace to your urban soul!

Really, I just love the colors of this Florida native plant.

If you'd like a 16" diameter Gíclee on gloss aluminum with a hanger attached, then please order below. The 16" diameter railroad vine mandala is a limited edition production, 250 total and each piece is signed and numbered.

Thank you!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.  My email is kssonger@gmail.com