In 2016 I entered this painting “Water” in the Cedar Key “Old Florida Festival of the Arts” poster contest. The theme for that year’s poster was “It’s all about the Water.” I loved the theme and I was inspired!
I love doing Creative Energy paintings so I grabbed an 11″ x 14″ cradle board. (It’s a rather new surface for painting – a firmer surface than stretched canvas. It’s a thin, flat piece of fine-grain birch panel, supported by wood framing. The surface is prepared with gesso for archival, acid-free paint application.)
I used Atelier Interactive Acrylics and covered the surface with cerulean blue, with a few dabs of other water-inspired colors – some greens, ultramarine blue and turquoise and titanium white for variety in value. The colors were placed randomly, with no pre-planned image in mind – only the thought of Water. Little dabs of paint squirted directly from the tube and some quick brush strokes to blend and spread the paint randomly onto the surface. Eventually the circle shape revealed itself and all I had to do was clean up the edges to emphasize the shape of the circle. I hung the piece on the wall and studied it, turning it in different directions until I saw something that wanted to be developed, amazed that the shapes evolving were so representative of the theme. And this is how this painting directed me towards its completion.
Then I entered it in the poster contest. The winning image would be used for the poster for that year’s festival, as well as the t-shirts that would be sold during the festival, and post cards used to promote the festival. You can only imagine how excited and honored I was to learn that I had won the contest!
At the time I was a member of the Cedar Keyhole Artists Co-op Gallery and as a full-time member I worked 3 days a month, as all the members took turns keeping the gallery open. The “Keyhole” is located in a beautiful building on 2nd Street in Cedar Key and was purchased, and later donated to the City by one of the founding members of the Keyhole, under the condition that it always be used for the Arts in Cedar Key. The Cedar Key Arts Center was formed and is headquarted on the second floor of the building and all of the members of the co-op are also members of the Arts Center, as well as other artists who live and/or support the arts in Cedar Key.
I was working my shift one day, soon after learning that my painting had won the poster contest. There was a special exhibit in the Arts Center featuring local men artists. The theme for the show was “It’s a Guy Thing.” That day artists were bringing their work in to be part of this special exhibit. When Kevin Hipe came downstairs, the minute I saw him, I knew I must paint his portrait! I introduced myself and asked him if I could take his photo and paint his portrait, and he obliged.
I went home that day and immediately began the portrait of Kevin, and finished it two weeks, just in time to take it with me for Kevin’s approval when I worked in the Keyhole again. He seemed to be pleased with the painting and I asked him if I could show it at the festival and he agreed, and then went around the village telling his friends to come in and see his portrait. (Kevin works in several media: Oil on Canvas, Collage and Assemblage.) Here’s a link to an interesting story I found about him: https://cedarkeynews.com/Archives/OLDSITE/Features/843-255.html
Travis Parks, Acrylic on 11″ x 14″ Canvas
Later that day Travis Parks came in to see Kevin’s portrait and he asked if he could take it to the library across the street to show it to his friend Molly, who manages the library. When he returned with the painting he stood shyly by the counter, telling me how much he and Molly liked the painting. “No one has ever painted my portrait,” he said.
I considered that an invitation! “I would love to paint your portrait!” We went out to the courtyard and I took several shots of him. Travis is well-known to everyone on the island. One of his murals graces the wall on the opposite side of the courtyard from the building that houses the Keyhole co-op and the Arts Center. He told me that he spent several summers in Hawaii painting murals for big hotels there. Many more of his murals can be seen on buildings around the island. Here’s a link to an article about Travis’ art: https://cedarkeynews.com/Archives/OLDSITE/Arts+and+Entertainment/1276-225.html
After I finished painting Travis, I started photographing every artist who came into the Arts Center while I was working a shift at the Keyhole. I decided it would be fun to paint as many of them as I could before the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, where I would display them along with the original painting that would be featured on that Festival’s T-shirts, Posters and other promotional material.
My next blog will tell the story of the other artists’ portraits I did for this Festival.