I felt like Cinderella going to the ball. May 4, 2023, opening night for the 2023 Emerging Artist to showcase in a museum setting, the culmination of artwork five or more months in the making,
The building Creative Pinellas occupies is the former location of the Gulf Coast Museum of Art nestled in the woods at Pinewood Culture Park, 12211 Walsingham Rd., Largo, FL. Coincidentally the number 2211 has been connected to important events in my life for many years. That’s for another story.
I am in awe of the artwork of potters, painters, sculptures, and authors. The curator Beth Gilman did an excellent job of staging the artwork to show to its most favorable aspect.
This was the first time I saw my paintings hung together. I was fortunate and grateful to my friend John for allowing me to use his Studio 69 to create the images for the show. The studio is large enough to accommodate canvases 48×36 which I was working on. He set up a special table for me so that I could work flat and have room to walk around the painting. At times I needed to move the canvas to an upright position.
Studio 69 is an old building that first housed John’s business, morphing into a woodworking shop, continuing on till he started doing mixed media artwork. The frame structure overlooking a pond is on his property separate from the main house. I had the privacy and quiet I needed to work on my canvases.
The largest canvas I worked on before taking on this new project was 30×40. Thirty-six square inches seemed like I was facing Goliath. I froze looking at the bare white blank slate. I felt like a novice painter not knowing what I was going to do. Being an intuitive
painter I depend on my inner guidance for direction. It wasn’t talking to me. So, I began by making black marks all over this pristine white slate, it felt good. Now what, words rang out from my days of teaching art, setting a design, and laying down some color. I was beginning to loosen up. I started with my go to color red. I still didn’t know what I was going to do. Thirty years of making art, teaching, and studying different masters and techniques left me. I finally let go. I don’t remember what came next, titanium white or teal. it began to come alive.
The second canvas started calling me. I began the process differently. Still not knowing what path I would follow, I began by layering and texturing paints. Looking around the studio I found different materials that I could use. It began to flow and as it did I was confident to move back to the first piece and work on it a little more. I prefer to work on 2 or 3 pieces at the same time.
In the meantime, I took a batik workshop taught by my friend and fine artist Mary Sylvia. My mentor Denis Gaston saw the red flower shape and said I should use it on one of my canvases. The third piece of the collection has begun.
It wasn’t until I was thinking of names for my paintings that I got the connection between them. It was “Bodhi ” meaning enlightenment, the last piece in the series and the first one titled. I experienced an “ah ha” moment of understanding, yes, I get it. The work arises out of my subconscious or my heart. It’s like a game of left brain, right brain.
Over 400 people attended the opening. My work was received well. I beamed with pride. Curiosity seekers plied me with questions. I had a great time being surrounded by friends and family. I finally got to see the whole show a few weeks after the opening when I went to Creative Pinellas to give an artist talk.
Next: The story the paintings tell.