At ‘America’s Great Paint-Out’, the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, I was thrilled and honored to be one of the six artists selected from across the state of Florida to be a Florida’s Finest en Plein Air Ambassador for 2016-2017. Kathleen Denis, Jill Berry, Karen Ann Hitt, Joseph Palmerio, and Randy Pitts and I were honored with an exhibit of our work at the event gallery on Reid Avenue in Port St. Joe and those paintings are now being shown in various venues across the state. In addition to being included in the commemorative Collector’s Guide for the event, the Ambassadors were invited as honored guests along with the event’s invited professional artists to the various receptions.
We Ambassadors were tasked with mentoring novices at the plein air painting stations throughout the event. For a mere $25, people were able to sign up online to have a one-on-one two-hour oil painting session, with supplies and equipment provided by Blick Art Materials, the program itself sponsored by Duke Energy. The schedule offered 15 two-hour one-on-one sessions over 5 days for each Ambassador, 90 sessions in all. My art degree and training as an educator and my experience in teaching was an real advantage, so that my chief challenge with teaching one-on-one was speaking simply and succinctly. The job was not difficult, because all of my “students” had visual understanding. However by the 4th day my feet were complaining — which now gives me opportunity to plug Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution Soothe & Sleep with Lavender, available at the Apalachicola CVS!
My lodging was at the quiet and peaceful St. Joseph Bay Buffer State Preserve. Every morning I was inspired by the early morning light creating shades of metallic pastels on the the bay just outside my door.
While at the event, the work continued to come in. I received a request to provide a workshop for my local arts organization in Santa Rosa Beach, the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, a second request to provide a workshop for the Beach Art Group in Panama City Beach, and an invitation to speak at the Arts and Design Society’s July luncheon in Fort Walton Beach. I also am coordinating an exhibit of works by my home plein air group, the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast in July and August for their Arts in Medicine program. One thing leads to another.
Last year was the year I was going to focus on marketing, and this year on developing a workshop schedule. Marketing couldn’t happen last year – my business didn’t sell as soon as I had thought it would, and this year is turning out to be marketing and developing a workshop schedule both in the same year. I also intend to develop a studio practice. Up until now, I have primarily focused on painting en plein air, so as a result most of the pieces I offer are less than 11×14, most being 8×10. Working in the studio will allow me to paint larger works.
Below are some of my recent works, painted en plein air.