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Local art exhibits limn color of Florida

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By Mitch Traphagen and Pamela Traphagen

[Video below]
Florida is all about color. The light spectrum in the Sunshine State opens possibilities that exist in few other places. A turquoise or pink house seamlessly blends into the bright blues and greens of Florida in ways that an identical home could simply not do in Kansas or Indiana. Color in Florida is vibrant and alive year around.

In South County, two art shows have focused on color and on highlighting the talent that thrives in this area. The art is not focused specifically on Florida but it is most certainly influenced by it. Color is abundant, particularly in the works regarding life here.

At the SouthShore Regional Library, watercolor paintings from the Kings Point students of artist Diane Simon are currently on display. The paintings show the spectrum of vision and talent, but mostly they reveal insight into the artists’ mind’s eyes.

“The display consists of my beginner watercolor class which I’ve been teaching 2 years,” said Simon. “Some of the work on display is from some of my long-term students and other pieces are examples of only six weeks of study. I provide them with a detailed drawing and I teach them how to manipulate the brush, color, water, and techniques to make them feel the subject — whether emotionally, texturally, or [with] specific techniques. The first time we mat them, you can see the revelation in their eyes and they are immediately encouraged to try again.”

If paint media were Olympic sports, watercolor would be the luge. It’s fast and unforgiving, and you have to “go with the flow” so to speak. The water dries so quickly that, once you have the brush in hand, you don’t have time to sit and figure out what you’re going to do — and there are no do-overs. There is no white in watercolors, so you have to plan ahead for where the highlights will be; you can go darker in color, but not lighter. Mistakes can’t be erased or painted over like they can with oils or acrylics. However, watercolor is known as the medium for “happy accidents” and the artist learns to incorporate these into the work.

“Typically, it is less forgiving than oil, acrylic, pastels, or pencil,” Simon continued. “That being said, it is with a sense of accomplishment when a student masters the amount of paint and water correctly to accomplish what can easily be ‘fixed’ when using other mediums. I truly believe that if you have a desire to paint, the feat is almost guaranteed to be successful, for it is all about attitude.”

In Sun City Center, the Art Club is hosting a new exhibit entitled Wild About Color. The show opened with a reception on September 1 and features artists ranging from beginners to masters. The exhibit covers all mediums from watercolors to oils and acrylics. All of the works of art on display are available for purchase, offering visitors the opportunity to obtain unique art from the pool of understated but incredibly diverse and rich talent within the community.

“Everything on display will have a price tag on it,” said gallery director Eunice Agnello. “This is an opportunity to support wonderful local artists and it is something that lasts forever.”

Additionally, the gallery is offering note card prints of some paintings for a small fee.

The SouthShore Library and SCC Art Club exhibits are free of charge and open to the public. The library is open seven days a week, the SCC Fine Arts Gallery is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The library is located at 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin. The SCC Fine Art Gallery is located in the Community Association complex near the corner of North Pebble Beach Boulevard and Cherry Hills Drive.

Contributing writer Pamela Traphagen is a freelance editor and artist in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Special thanks to the Baltimore Sun for bringing the word “limn” to light.

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