Friday, January 9, 2015

Going it alone in Palm Beach

Church of Bethesda by the Sea
It’s probably no secret that I love to travel almost as much as I love to paint. This year the planets aligned and I met a wonderful couple who reside in Nantucket in summer and spend winters in Palm Beach. They also happen to be huge collectors and support artists by providing week-long residencies. I call them my “art angels”. 

I’ve decided that at this point in life I’m coming from a place of yes rather than no. So when I was invited to stay in Palm Beach the week before Christmas I wasted no time in booking a flight. I know… I’m supposed to be at the mall buying presents to put under the tree. I quickly learned to embrace on-line shopping. 

I was a bit apprehensive going it alone. Exploring for yourself is all very well, but sometimes the right guide can make all the difference. The Oil Painters of America website proved to be a great resource for connecting with other painters. The wonderful Manon Sander was extremely welcoming and provided me with a wealth of info on painting groups and locations in Delray, Jupiter and Palm Beach. 

St. Edwards Church
Painting a nocturne with Manon

Violetta & Manon, Delray Beach
Painting on Ocean Boulevard

I was unaware of how active the arts community is in Florida. Manon invited me to an opening reception at the Delray Center for the Arts, where she took Best of Show. While there I had the pleasure of meeting Violetta de la Serna, from Plein Air Magazine. She told me about the exciting paint-outs happening this spring. "The Forgotten Coast" scheduled for May, features some of the finest painters in the country. I'm planning on taking part in the Plein Air Festival at the Lighthouse Center in Jupiter this March. I'll also be offering a figure workshop during my stay in Florida, but more on that in my next blog. For now it's back to the studio! As sit here in Boston watching the snow fly by my window, I hold on to those treasured memories of sandy beaches and palm trees and people who became instant old friends. 

The Breakers decked out for the holiday
Visit Manon Sander website here: 

When Life imitates Art

The sun is just about to set over the Pacific ocean and I’m sitting on the deck at the Hotel Laguna with old friends. A glass of wine beside me, I’m basking in the glow of a scene which has been captured in paint countless times. 

Sunset at the Hotel Laguna
As the sun sinks below the horizon in it’s riotous display of color, I’m left to ponder the philosophical position of Oscar Wilde; Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life. Although others have watched the same sunset for centuries, does one notice the beauty and wonder of the iconic California scenery and light because poets and painters have taught the loveliness of such an effect? What is found in life and nature is not what is really there, but is that which artists have taught people to find there, through art. 

Crystal Cove Beach, Newport
I always spend a day or two in the OC before heading up to Santa Barbara for the annual Great American Figure show at Waterhouse Gallery. This year my husband came along and it was great to visit favorite haunts from our years in CA, including St. Francis by the Sea, the church where we were married.

Pamela by Richard Schmid
It was great catching up with with Molly Schmid, Hsin Yao Tseng and of course Diane and Ralph Waterhouse. Molly's father Richard had a painting in the show which was an early work from the fifties. It was quite interesting to see how his painting style has evolved. I also had the pleasure to finally meet Matt Smith (one of my favorite landscape painters) and Jove Wang, who's mural-sized painting was masterful!

Matt Smith and his wife Tracy
Hsin, Molly & me

Diane Waterhouse
Jove Wang