January 2015 note from Lisa


My first month as a full time artist has been eventful!

Started with a nice sendoff from my work family at Kalispell Regional Medical Center

worksendoffpartyAnd the next day I set off on a 3000 mile drive with my little dog Jojo from Montana to Florida.


I drove through a storm in Montana to S. Dakota and I-90 looked like this…..
IMG_2534when it was safe enough to take a picture. Montana and South Dakota are very big states when you are only going 45mph!

Well I finally made it with little time to spare. Mom immediately started helping me pack for my show in St. Petersburg, Florida which was the next day.


And then I was off and running!  My folks were very enthusiastic in celebrating my first big day as a full time artist on the road! (The pictures were even their idea.)


My first show was fun and safe…this little guy even showed up to make everyone laugh. Apparently the sunglasses keep gook from forming in his eyes.  Sure was cute!



My first show in Florida as a full time artist was not without it’s bumps. On my way back to the condo south of Vero Beach where my folks are staying I flushed my keys down the toilet. I was towed the rest of the way:(



After a few day’s rest Mom and I went to St. Augustine for our first sales trip together. St. Augustine was so intriguing…I know I’ll be back!



I even had an article in the St. Augustine newspaper!

compass newspaper


You can read this article here.

Now I’m just finishing off having a weekend off from shows which felt like a BIG LONG vacation.

This weekend I start again on a seven week stint. I’m a little scared, I’m going to have to change into “go” mode. It’s funny being on the road, but I’m getting used to it.

I’m very thankful at this chance to make a go of it.  This was the first Christmas I’ve spent with my parents in 12 years and it was SUCH a treat to be WARM in DECEMBER!  That’s crazy talk for this Montana girl.

I feel like friends and family have rallied for me all this time and they are still there for me cheering me on.  I’m looking forward to making some new announcements next month.

Warm wishes for a Happy New Year and thanks for your interested in my art, life, and maps.





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January 2015’s Raffle Winner

The winner of this month’s raffle is…



One winner is selected every month using a random number generator! The winner receives an 18×20″ Giclee of their choice valued at $125.

Please click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter…giving you first access to sales, shows, and map articles!



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The Legend of Verrazano’s Sea

The Legend of Verrazano’s Sea

As seen in one of my newest maps Floridae Americae Provinciae 1564







In the early 1500s there was somewhat of a geographical oddity at work if you were to look at a map of North America. This is partly due to a discovery flaw known as a Verazzano’s Sea. Giovanni Verrazano was an Italian explorer who was secured by the king of France to explore the coast of North America. His job was to chart the typography of the region from the Carolinas to Newfoundland.





Outer Banks 1590


Once he discovered the Outer Banks of the Carolinas, he mistakenly understood the Outer Banks to be an inlet to the Pacific ocean. As such, many maps of North America produced during that century were greatly misshapen and disproportionate. There is a noticeable hourglass waist line that would be traversed by the inlet to access the Sea of the West, the body of water we commonly known as the Pacific Ocean. The irony of the flawed discovery is that it was prevalent for a little more than two centuries. Even on maps dated as late as 1790, you can find sketches of Verrazano’s Sea, cutting sizable chunks through parts of what are today known as Canada.

VSea 2 (1)







It seems that just as today, belief systems regarding myth are touted, and validated, as fact once they are supported. A full century later, in the late 1670s, when John Lederer made his notable explorations of Virginia and North Carolina, most people believed that the Western Sea, or Pacific Ocean, was a mere 10 to 15 days inland. Eventually, we would become known as the country that stretches from sea to shining sea, but at the time it was thought we were a mere land mass that could be traversed from sea to shining sea in two weeks or less!

Vsea 1 (1)







It would not be until the early 17th century when a pair of explorers named Guillaume de I’Isle and Phillippe Bauche (his brother-in-law) would re-chart the sea. This was vitally important because finding a trade route to the east would be powerful and lucrative for France. So, after having refined their “new understanding” of the size of the Sea of the West, they kept it secret as a benefit for the nation of France. They thought is would give France an upper hand by making their trade route fast and efficient. As such never published it in any of their works… even though their information was still an accurate. Soon after, their work was absconded by a rival cartographer who released their secretsand a couple of lawsuits flew back and forth. However, this was all moot by the end of the early 18th century when the world of cartography had grown and accurate map making versus theoretical map making would become the order of the day. As such, the sea known as Verrazano’s Sea was completely erased in the late 18th century with the exploration of James Cook and George Vancouver. Their real life western trek erased many of the proposed and reinforced myths that had circulated for the betterpart of two centuries. As a result, like most myths, Verrazano’s Sea simply disappeared.

VSea 3

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Florida Early History Part 3

Early Florida History 3

All of this treachery, double crossing, and conquest would continue as part of Florida’s history. The Indians would be driven from their land over the span of three Seminole wars. It would be the most costly war that the US government ever financed against the Indians costing some where in the range of approximately $200,000. Also known as the Florida wars, they would span almost half a century in the 1800s ranging from 1816 to 1858. This would also be the time that Spain was finally cede the territory to the United States as ruler.

However, it would seem that Florida would again be touched by superstition in the early 1900s. This time it was not the fountain of gold, mythical sea dragons waiting to swallow boats, or pirates looking for plunder… this time voodoo would be the culprit. One of the most famous incidents tied to Florida’s history comes in the form of a non-assuming toy known as Robert the doll. Allegedly, the doll is possessed by spirits and has quite the terrifying reputation. Supposedly cursed, it has become quite the noteworthy item when it comes to people touring Robert’s home at East Martello Museum in Key West.

robert the doll

The history alleges that the doll was originally given to a young child named Eugene from one of the Bahamian servants in the household. The servant was skilled in black magic and voodoo, and over time became disenchanted with the family. Soon after that Eugene’s parents noticed strange things happening in their home. The boy would often say that the doll spoke back and the parents even heard him talking. They assumed that Eugene was using a different voice to talk back, but later they say they realized that it was the doll actually talking to Eugene.

Eugene would scream out in the night, his furniture would get knocked over, and he would tell his parents that Robert the doll was the culprit. After Eugene’s death in 1974, the doll remained in the attic until the house was purchased again. The family had a young daughter. Soon after, the girl began screaming at night saying that the doll moved around the room and even tried to attack her on several occasions. To this day she’s convinced that the doll is possessed. At a paranormal conference in May of 2008, Robert made his debut.  This was the first time that Robert was moved from his Key West home in over 100 years.  Between gold, pirates, voodoo, conquistadors, youthful myths, and scary waters, Florida certainly has one of the most interesting histories on record.

spain cedes floirida to british rule


©2014 Lisa Middleton, All Rights Reserved

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Early Florida History Part 2

Early Florida History Part Two

In 1528, Narvaez and his exhibition followed in Ponce de Leon’s footsteps, as well as the famous explorer Hernando DeSoto a few years after Navarez. They were searching for gold, primarily in the form of lost pirate treasure. The prospects of the fountain of youth were wearing thin, the light of the myth growing dim with passing years and no discovery. However, what they found when they arrived was a discovery in and of itself.

They met the Apalachee Indians whom they found to be a worthy adversary. In fact, Narvaez writes that they “loomed big and naked, and from a distance liked like giants”. At least they would have a real story to tell their children of giants they encountered during conquest and exploration. The Apalachee were fierce too. In fact, they were so fierce that Spain would make no attempts to reach out to them until the early part of the following century.
So they turned their focus back to St. Augustine. At this point, it was pretty obvious that the Florida mainland would be no treasure chest filled with gold and plunder. However, it was important for Spain to control the area to prevent piracy and invasion from other countries. To that end, Menendez arrived with 600 soldiers on August 28, 1565. He had a grand display of trumpets sounding, banners flying, and landed right at the site, and to the surprise, of the Timucan Indian Village of Seloy. After a very rapid period spent fortifying the tiny village of St. Augustine, Spain would use it to try and work as a northern post as well as wipe out another more dangerous scourge… piracy.

The seas were rampant with cutthroat bandits and runaway slaves, disgruntled merchantmen and youth that were disinherited. They all flocked to the Tortugas, Point Royal, and other known areas that were considered to be centers for piracy recruiting, or  “privateering voyages in search of plunder”… that is a fancy way to call piracy by another name.

As a result, these pirates would often plunder the places that were most convenient, putting the town of St. Augustine right in the middle of their crosshairs. Menedez did not cherish run ins with these guys  one of the most notable pirates came from South Africa.  His name was black Caesar and he was ruthless.  He was part of the notorious “Blackbeard” pirate crew for a while before he set out on his own.  All of that to say Piracy was a real, viable threat to the Spanish settlers of the New World.

Throw in a horrible climate and tropical diseases such as malaria, and other types of fever that essentially wiped out a few of Florida’s Indian tribes, and you have one dodgy path to tread in order to secure Florida for Spain.

©2014 Lisa Middleton, All Rights Reserved

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New Map Monday- Mitchell’s Florida 1874 featuring St. Augustine

Mitchell’s FLORIDA 1874 featuring St. Augustine
Hand-Painted Historic Map by Lisa Middleton 

221 k St. Augustine watermarked

This 1874 map features the state of Florida with an inset of St. Augustine was originally produced by Samuel Augustus Mitchell Junior. The map border features a signature floral and ivy pattern that interlocks and weaves lazily around the piece. The Mitchells were among the most gifted cartographers in the 1800s. This original painting by Lisa Middleton is beautifully and intricately detailed.

See this any many other of Middleton’s collection of Historic Hand-Painted maps at the following FLORIDA Art Shows or purchase quality art reproductions online:

December 20-21 St Petersburg Holiday of the Arts, FL
December 27-28 St Augustine Old Town Art Show FL


January 9-11 St. Pete Beach Festival of the Arts FL
Jaunary 16-18 Delray Beach Art Festival FL
January 24-25 Venice Craft Festival FL
January 31-1 St Petersberg Fine art Festival FL
February 7-8 Coconut Point Art Festival FL

MORE ON Mitchel’s Map:

The 1874 map of Florida was produced to be prepared as a part of Mitchell’s New General Atlas, 1874 issue. The hand coloring of the state dividing line is evident, as well as shading around various bays and other portions of the coast. Darker shading indicates shallower depth along the coastline. This was a great aid to shipping merchants as they navigated the shallow waters that are all to familiar at various sounds and ports along the coast. The map does have a few peculiarities.

For instance, there are references to “Indian Hunting Grounds”, and “Mangrove Woods”. Those two inclusions provide a time stamped looking glass of sorts that allow us to look at the world in a way that was much different then it is currently. The Seminole Wars had recently ended and the map still depicts some of the last remaining places that they Seminole had foraged for food. The “Mangrove Woods” are what we primarily know today as “Mangrove Swamps”. Most of these places require a small skiff boat in order to be accessed.

Overall, this piece is simply a great specimen of cartography.  It is absolutely some of the Mitchell’s finest work. The flora and fauna border hallmark, hand colored details, and poignant, descriptive references might as well be Mitchell trade marks. The 1874 Map of Florida is very “Mitchell” and very unique due to its historical significance.

 ©2014 Lisa Middleton, All Rights Reserved
This map has been modified to feature an early map of St. Augustine from 1778.
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Please place your orders by December 16

I have big news!

I was invited into a series of shows in Florida and Arizona and look forward to sharing my work with new art and map lovers!

I will be hitting the road soon. Please place your Christmas orders before December 16 for prompt shipping. Please click here for my gift guide.



Lisa’s Winter Exhibits will feature FLORIDA and the American Southeast!

Tell your neighbors! Tell your friends!
Please do stop in to visit!

Click link below for Lisa’s exhibit schedule, or visit our SHOP page in the header!

December, January, and Spring 2015 show Schedule

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A note from Me– December 2014

Thank you very much for your encouragement over the last few years to pursue my dreams of being an artist by attending art shows, reading my newsletter and blog, and purchasing my hand painted historic map products.

It has been a joy to share this journey with you!

I wish you much holiday joy this year and best wishes as we start our voyage into 2015.





With thankfulness,
Lisa Middleton

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January and Spring 2015 show Schedule

 Lisa’s Winter Exhibits will feature FLORIDA and the American Southeast!


Tell your neighbors! Tell your friends!
Please do stop in to visit!

December, January, and Spring 2015 show Schedule


Posted in Map Art News, Southeast and Eastern US, the art life | Leave a comment

Great River Arts Gift Guide

Please refer to this gift guide to simplify your shopping experience.

All maps come with a historical statement.
Giclees and originals come with a certificate of Authenticity.

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