Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The Wood Swink and Wood Farm
The Wood Farm
oil on panel
The Wood Swink Post Office is the oldest working post office in Florida. It is an icon for this part of Florida and we landscape painters know it well. It is a combination antique store, post office, and produce market. It is a complete step back in time. The center of the store has a wonderful old wood stove. Chairs are grouped around it, and a checker board is strategically located where anyone can start a game. There is one of the old large metal drink boxes in front. I always have to buy a drink so I can use it. Visitors from around the world stop to post letters there and to enjoy the camaraderie they find there. It is like a second home to me. I paint there in the back from time to time and at any time I will see other painters because we all love it so much. Wilma Sue and Freddie allow their artist friends to show small paintings there and I enjoy a sale now and then. This is not one of those fake tourist stores, or a museum. It is a real step back in time, a working country store from the 1800's.
The store and post office is run by Wilma Sue Wood and her friend Deb. Freddie Wood, Wilma Sue's husband, is a farmer in the little town of Evinston where the post office is located.
Freddie's farm is prime painting territory for me and the other lucky artists who know him. Freddie grows lush crops of vegetables, including squash, collards, field peas, broccoli,tomatoes, and many other yummy vegetables. All these are available year round in the store. Freddie raises fat happy cattle on the farm. The farm is beautiful beyond description, with tall graceful palms and giant Live Oak trees, which border Orange Lake. In the afternoon, the views are simply stunning, with the golden light and long purple shadows. This is a place above all others I am fortunate to paint. I have free access to all parts of the farm and can wander to my heart's content. It is magical and sacred for me. A part of the history and legend of north Florida.
There is a story that Mr Wood killed Mr Swink in a gun fight out in front of the store over a woman in the 1800's and that is how the store became the property of the Wood family. To this day it is still called the Wood Swink.
I have a mission and dream to turn Evinston into an art destination. Freddie has an old very large packing house next to the store which would make a wonderful art center/gallery. He has an old shack on the farm which could be made into a nice cabin for painters to stay in and use for workshops. I keep hoping that a cultural private foundation or private donor will come forward to help. This old historical town needs to be saved and made into a wonderful destination for art lovers and painters.
You will find the Wood Swink Post Office on County Road 225 which runs parallel to US 441 beteen the little towns of Micanopy and McIntosh, Florida. Traveling south from Gainesville on US 441 go past Micanopy about 5 miles and you will see a green sign for Evinston, Turn left there and the road will dead end at CR 225. Turn left on 225 and go about a block to see the store on the left. You can't miss it!! They close for lunch from 12-2 PM M-F Open Saturday AM, closed Sunday. If you go, tell them that Linda Blondheim sent you and be sure to look at my paintings in the store.