Organizer Carroll Swayze is excited and filled with anticipation for the event.
“(We) have some amazing work this year,” she said. “The festival is near and dear to my heart because Boca Grande is home to me. The people on the island have supported me for my whole life and I am proud to be able to hand-pick a Fine Art Festival to present to the island. I have spent the past year trying to choose artists who fit the theme and the ideals of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament of conservation, education and sportsmanship. I have world-class marine wildlife artists coming as well as some of the finest Florida landscape painters the state has to offer. I hope that everyone will come out, enjoy the festival and meet the artists who work so hard to create their beautiful original artwork.”
Terry Denson began working with watercolors in 1995 because they would fit the limited space she had on her sailboat, Door Into Summer. She spent six years cruising from the Eastern Atlantic, through the Caribbean and along the coast of Central America. Once she returned to land, she expanded into other mediums, but she still works primarily in watercolor.North Carolinian Ron Hughes works with glass. Hughes uses a propane and oxygen torch to create seemingly organic glass flowers, and the accuracy of his flower structures has become a hallmark of his work.View More images >>
There are many artists who celebrate the tropical beauty of Florida and the Gulf, including Laurie Snow Hein. Her paintings bring scenes of the coast alive with color and light. She has been painting since she was a small child, but for many years as a child, she considered a more stable occupation. Fortunately, by the time she was ready to graduate from high school, she was convinced to follow her talent.
Terry Corcoran is a Florida artist. She has been working in oils recently, drawing from personal observation to create her award-winning paintings. Her scenes of daily life in Florida are full of color and life.
Diane Mannion is a Florida transplant, well known for her painting and illustration. She has worked at her craft for over 30 years, in watercolors, pastels and most recently oils. The energy of the state inspires and terrifies her. She sees her challenge as translating that energy into a visual medium.
Jason Marien takes art in a different direction, creating jewelry that uses coastal topography as a base. These maps are then hand-engraved into metal to make rings and bracelets. Working in gold, silver and enamel, Jason’s latest work shows the west coast of Florida from Sarasota south to Captiva, and includes the local sea life as well.
Barbara Hesse Baron focuses on the “fleeting brilliance that too often goes unnoticed” in nature. She works from her own photographs, painting with oils on canvas. This allows for layers of glazing that give her work depth and greater saturation of color.
Kelly Reark is known not only for her tarpon paintings (she designed the artwork for the 2013 Ladies Day Tournament), but also for her art showing the woods and the wetlands, the swamps and the shores of her native Florida.
Up-and-coming artists are represented, too. Dustin Cole works with unusual materials: wood, automobile paint and whatever catches his eye to create amazing fish sculptures.
There are also two artists who go well beneath the surface of the Gulf’s tropical waters.
Lori Pitten Jenkins paints bold, realistic watercolors focusing on Florida sea life and fishing equipment. As a diver and angler, she has a unique perspective on the animals that live off the shores of Florida.
Alan Feldmesser is a certified SCUBA diver who began his art career as a portrait artist. He is also an underwater photographer, and uses the pictures he takes as references for his paintings. His art is an attempt to bring the sense of peace and quiet beauty to the surface for the rest of us to enjoy.
This festival promises to be a visual delight, with something for everyone’s taste.
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