Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Old Home Week at the OK Corral

 Monday I delivered four paintings to the Art Council of Southwest Florida’s Coconut Point Gallery. It was like “old home week” as artist’s renewed their friendships and shared their latest artwork.

There was a twinge of hope and excitement in the air. It is “Season” in Southwest Florida. That means the return of the “snowbirds;” those tourists that return each year and add billions of dollars to Florida’s slumping economy.

A grand opening Friday night with a wine and cheese reception will kick off six months of opportunity and continuous showing for the artists. The location is even better than last year: between Panara Bread, hopping with activity, and the World Bazaar.

Each artist volunteers at least one day a month for retail sales. The best part is a new nook by the window where artists can paint during the down hours and attract curious passersby while catching up on projects.

Artists are an odd lot. There is an unexplained camaraderie that forms bonds, even though we’re all very different. Artists see the world differently. Our perceptions and thoughts are colored by this strange obsession we have with color, form, and texture.

When I was younger, I wondered why I was so fascinated by nature and by the turns and twists of the human form. This interest has led me first into freelance writing, and then into the art world. Portraits, though difficult, are one of my favorite things to paint; followed by animals and birds in particular.

The next few months will be a whirlwind of activity moving from gallery to gallery and getting to know other artists in the community. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The world is a sometimes a frightening place. There are extremes and contradictions everywhere you look. Exquisite beauty contrasts with pain and ugliness. Violence occurs often in conjunction with bursts of kindness and gentleness. Deception and trickery abound, and the gullible, the innocent are often caught in this web of seduction which later becomes a prison of self-inflicted chains or victimized suffering.

The world we artists paint may be ugly, truthful and real, or it may depict the softer side of innocence and beauty. What we paint becomes our signature; our style. What we paint eventually defines us.