F l o r i d a


offers his unique impressions of the Keys, with
their blend of Caribbean cultures, interesting
architecture, lush vegetation, laid-back attitude,

miles from the tip of peninsular Florida, the Florida

recreational resources of national and worldwide
Each watercolor by renowned painter Millard
Wells captures the rich hues he sees all around him
and celebrates the land, water, and sky of the


a member of the prestigious
American Watercolor Society
since 1966, is surely the most
exciting and prolific watercolor specialist in Florida. From his longtime home and
studio in the Florida Keys, he records his impressions
of his spectacular surroundings.

I m p r e s s i o n s

Keys possess extensive ecological, historical, and



of fifteen hundred islands stretching some 160

K e y s

and beautiful tropical marine environment. A chain

Keys. His method of watercolor painting, which

portraying the interesting characters, birds, water,
lighthouses, boats, and buildings as he sees them

Cover by Carol Tornatore Creative Design
Cover Painting by Millard Wells

attention to the sensitive resources of the Florida
Keys and recognizes the interconnectedness of
the natural environment with the community,
without losing the charming ambiance
of the old-time Florida Keys.

bar code

W e l l s

in that moment. Through his paintings, he calls

Published by Pineapple Press, Inc.

M i l l a r d

requires fast location painting, lends itself to

Florida Keys Impressions
Millard Wells

Florida Keys Impressions
Millard Wells

Sarasota, Florida

This book is dedicated to my late wife, Jeanne.
Her unselfish love, care, and attention are embodied in all my work and are
reflected in the title given to each of my artworks.

This project has been an idea in my mind for some years now. Some special people helped
transform my conceptions into this book. First, Martha Spence was instrumental in launching this project and encouraging me along the way. Rick Poley shepherded the project in its
early form, providing skillful imaging, typing, and editing. I would like to extend my
sincere appreciation and gratitude to these wonderful friends. Their hard work made this
book possible. I would also like to thank the people who believed in my work and have
these paintings in their homes. Most of all, to Pineapple Press, I thank you for recognizing
the importance of recording these works for all time.
Copyright © 2000 by Millard F. Wells
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Inquiries should be addressed to: Pineapple Press, Inc. P.O. Box 3899 Sarasota, Florida 34230 www.pineapplepress.com.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

First Edition
10 9 8 7







Design and layout by Carol Tornatore Creative Design
Printed and bound in China

Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s
Foreword: The Artist and the Keys 4
Introduction to the Florida Keys
The Influence of the Sea
Special Places 6
Loggerhead Key 8
Key West 10
A Perfect Watercolor Challenge

Tropical Architecture
Reflections 26
Conch Architecture 28
Old Town 30
Our Southernmost City 32


An Angler’s Paradise
Water, Land, and Sky 14
Celebrating the Magic of Place and Time
The Silver King 18
Sailfish at Dawn 20
Shrimper 22
Crawfisherman 24


Historical Perspective
The Audubon House 34
The Perrine House 36
Cigar Makers 38
Flagler’s Overseas Railroad 40
Fort Jefferson 42
Hurricanes 44
Plein Air Watercolor Workshops
Shows and Exhibitions 48


the artist and the keys
The Florida Keys are best known for their spectacular natural beauty. And throughout the
ages, beauty has captivated great artists. Millard Wells, one of America’s most noted
watercolorists, has painted the picturesque ambiance of the Florida Keys for more than three
decades. His work captures the romantic Keys of yesteryear and the abundant wildlife that
flourishes along the dreamy turquoise and white coral shores. This collection of work is a
reflection of the Florida Keys and the unique, fragile ecosystem that exists along
North America’s only living coral reef.

Introduction to the Florida Keys
A chain of fifteen hundred islands stretching some 160 miles southwest from the tip of peninsular Florida, the
Florida Keys possess extensive ecological, historical, recreational, aesthetic, and conservation aspects of national and
worldwide significance. The Florida Keys coral reef is the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only
living coral reef in North America.
This unique limestone archipelago and surrounding marine environment support over 7,000 species of plants,
more than 600 species of fish (including 150 species of tropical fish), and numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles,
amphibians, and invertebrates. One third of Florida’s threatened or endangered species are found in the marine
and upland ecosystems of the Keys. Its clear, shallow, warm waters support one of the largest seagrass communities in the
Northern Hemisphere. Coupled with these extensive seagrass meadows, the living coral reefs and vast mangrove forests
support the base of the food chain pyramid for this region and represent one of the most productive and complex
ecosystems in the world.
Situated in the subtropics, the Keys’ unique ecosystem can be attributed to its southern latitude and the moderating
effects of the warm Florida current. Corals and other animal and plant life exist at the edge of their tolerance levels due
to their extreme northern range. Consequently, this unique subtropical ecosystem is extremely fragile and sensitive
to natural and man-made stresses. It is therefore incumbent upon residents and visitors to the Keys to preserve and
protect this internationally recognized resource.
As an outdoor painter, I believe I am a guardian of this natural resource.



of the


special places
This old fishing shack stood for years in Angel Fish Creek. No one
tore it down because, I suppose, it symbolized the spiritual bond
between the people who built it and the natural environment.
This type of structure is ideal for a watercolor painter. Its window
and door frames offer great negative and positive spaces. Where
would the reflections be without them? The anglers and birds in the
background add scale to the scene. The rugged beauty of the old
structure is in lovely contrast to the serene water, flowing endlessly
into the Atlantic Ocean on its way to the Bahamas and beyond.
Reflections of a Memory
April 1981
Watercolor (131/2″ x 191/2″)
Private collection

loggerhead key
Few subjects inspire artists more than water, lighthouses, and
sailboats. My late wife, Jeanne, and I spent many memorable hours in
the Dry Tortugas with friends aboard the forty-foot ketch Mystic.
Organized as a sailing/painting cruise, it was a dream come true.
Inspired by the natural beauty of the islands, I painted numerous
nautical scenes from the vessel. I also completed many characterizations of Fort Jefferson, the red-brick fortress on Garden Key, and
nearby Loggerhead Key, with its stalwart lighthouse.

Passing Loggerhead
January 1987
Watercolor (21″ x 29″)
Private collection

The Influence of the Sea

Florida Keys Impressions
Millard Wells

For more information about this and other Pineapple Press
titles visit our website at http://www.pineapplepress.com

Pineapple Press titles are available from http://www.pineapplepress.com and from major bookstore chains and online retailers.