Donna’s Estuary - CODAworx

Donna’s Estuary

Submitted by sarah crooks flaire

Client: Cecile Thompson Timpson Creek Gallery

Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, usa

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team


sarah crooks flaire

evervess art studio

Interior Designer

Cecile Thompson

Timpson Creek Gallery


Donna's Estuary hand painted in shades of white on blue, depicts the native flora and fauna of the salt marshes and freshwater ponds found near this 7,000 sq ft beachfront home. Comprised of the grand entrance, staircase, landing and mezzanine, this dreamlike and ethereal world immediately transports people entering the house into a mythical landscape. Life size birds and trees, oyster beds and marsh grass seem to extend to the horizon in a gentle flow of water and land, light and sky.


Attracted to the simplicity and elegance of Chinoiserie as well as the sweeping landscapes of a romantic tradition, the client wanted to celebrate the life of the salt marsh. The overall concept was to create a dreamy North Florida landscape focusing on the waterways and tidal creeks . The space has curved walls on the first floor, one of which is fifteen feet high. Moving from a close up of the marsh grasses with fish and shrimp in the foreground, through oyster beds and onto the shore with a life size tree, the work creates an interior landscape of butterflies and birds as you climb the stairs. Upstairs the 18' mezzanine niche opens into an expansive freshwater pond with ibis and cranes. All the plants and bird species can be found in the local environment lending an air of magical realism to the entire space.


The client had a marsh scene in mind for this winter retreat nice they built in 2009. Working with her designer Cecile Thompson from Atlanta, GA we all agreed that a limited cool pallet would create a refreshing feel and compliment the natural limestone floor. Because the house sits directly on the beach, there is a lot of natural light that shifts focus throughout the day. By using transparent shades, I allowed for the light itself to become part of the art. I worked directly with the client and designer to conceptualize the story of the space, then I made a concept drawing and then finally a sample board to scale with the colors selected. The clients painters were responsible for the base paint and top coat sealer. I hand painted the imagery over a period of 10 weeks, sending digital pictures of my progress. The owner and designer both traveled to see the work midway through and then in a final walk through approval. The client likes to travel and this is their winter home, so the furnishings are still being discovered around the world.

Additional Information

When painting a mural in a private home , I am often asked where does the art begin and end ? I like to think of my mural work as a layer of color and image which sets the emotional tone of the space. I paint the entire environment , honoring the shape of the wall, the different angles and depths of viewing , and of course who will be living there. It is always a three way collaborative process between myself, the environment and the client.