Reflections from the Gulf Coast

When we first arrived to the Gulf Coast over a decade ago, I was absolutely stunned driving down Bayside Boulevard. St. Joseph’s Sound, lined with tall palms, glistened to my left and charming coastal houses stood to the right. It was the golden hour and heightened hues both in shadow and foreground flickered my attention back and forth from the new bird song to the salty smells of the ocean.

Clearwater Haze 2014 Oil on Board K. Engel


Honeymoon Palm 2014 Oil on Board K. Engel

My husband and I had the opportunity to rent a house on the Pinellas Trail in Dunedin for 6 months.  I spent most of my time drawing and painting in the outdoors – en plein air. I had a paint box and would cart it to the beach and do tiny oil paintings in one sitting. I also did mixed-media paintings with watercolor and acrylic often working from memory as the influence of the coastal sensations manifested into interesting compositions.

Longtime Sun 2012 Acrylic on Canvas K. Engel

For the next several years, My husband and I traveled back and forth from Cleveland to Dunedin.  I continued to paint and take classes at the Dunedin Fine Art Center which was an amazing place to meet other artists and participate in an active arts community. Fast forward to January of 2021, and I was given the opportunity to show my work in Transcendental, a two woman exhibit in the Gamble Gallery with ceramic artist, Jan Richardson.  The work that I included in the show was truly an accumulation of over 20 years of my art practice infused during the COVID pandemic.  Most of the work was deeply influenced by the presence of large bodies of water with a bottomless overflow of feelings.  I am only beginning to find my distinct visual voice while there is much to discover as I continue to create.

Weather 2019 Acrylic on Canvas K.Engel

I am grateful to Creative Pinellas for this opportunity to share the work that I created this past year during a time of emotional upheaval. It has given me the stability to create and exhibit my work when I may have become fully immersed in sadness and distraction. The best thing about this grant period is that it made me follow through with deadlines and learn new skills as I level up in my career as a visual artist.



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