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Artist Reception for "Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air"

Artist Reception for “Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air”

My weekend of Art & Culture began with the Artist Reception on Thursday April 10th, 2014 for Art Outside the Walls: en Plein Air, the exhibit at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach that showcases the artwork of the group I co-founded, Plein Air Palm Beach (PAPB).  This is an exhibit I have been working on all season. 


It is runs from April 11 –June 7th, 2014 and can be seen during regular hours of the Cultural Council; Tuesday –Saturday 10 AM – 4PM.  It is a joint project with the Cultural Council and Plein Air Palm Beach showcasing the work of local area and visiting artists.



We painted out in the 10 different locations, chosen from the members’ favorite places to paint in Palm Beach County, over the course of ten weeks, between December and February, going to a different location every week.  Sometimes the weather did not cooperate but that did not stop the hard core artists.

During the course of this project, over 80 different artists participated and well over 200 paintings were produced.    Not only was I a participating artist and organizer of the paint-outs, but together with Ralph Papa, co-founder of PAPB and Nichole Hickey, Director of Artistic Services at the Cultural Council, I helped plan the actual exhibit.  So by the time the opening reception rolled around, I felt like a celebrity walking in on the red carpet. The natural high and floating feeling I got from this Artist Reception will keep me going for awhile.

The Reception


The artists I work with in PAPB are tremendous and all have been very supportive and encouraging during this project. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach, as usual has been very professional and is always a pleasure to work with.  I have been an artist member of the Cultural Council for the past two years and highly encourage other artists to consider becoming members as well.  It is so nice to have professional organization working for arts and culture in our area.


The second part of my arts weekend was my participation in the Atlantis Spring Fling Art Show and Sale.  It is a very nice community event that includes an art show.  It was fun to be with a group of artists and have a chance to show my work and even made a sale.   With two other exhibits ongoing besides the above, most of my work is currently out being shown in exhibit.  Not really a bad problem.  Thus, I brought mostly artwork from my cruising travels to the Spring Fling Show.  Sometimes I feel like I’m not painting enough but when I pulled together my work for Spring Fling I realized I had quite a few paintings.  Side benefit of preparing for a show and sale like this is that it really helps to get the artwork inventory organized.  Besides it was fun to be chatting with other artists and Atlantis gave us a nice dinner to boot.


Finally, on Palm Sunday, I attended Seraphic Fire concert of Haydn: Last Seven Words.  A good friend and I have season tickets and originally we were supposed to attend on Thursday in Boca, but that turned out to be the night of Cultural Council artist reception so we decided to reschedule to Sunday in Miami.   The weather and traffic tried to thwart my plans; we encountered heavy rains and, at one point, a sign saying all lanes on I95 closed.  So we had to get off and take the scenic route to Miami Beach.  No problem, but we made it with only a minute to spare.  The anxiety of the weather and traffic melted away as soon as Seraphic Fire began to sing.  I was transported for a brief time to a place of sheer pleasure and beauty.    After the concert, we took the scenic route back part way as the traffic was still snarled on 95.  However, by now the sun was out, and we got to enjoy the ride and each other’s company.


My weekend immersion in art was complete.

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First Place: Kerry Eriksen “Gator” Oil on canvas

It was a great day. Starting out very foggy, which cast a magical glow on the everglades, and later turned sunny and warm, it was a great day for plein air painting. Twenty-five of our artists showed up to paint, and while visitors for the day listened to talks at the pavilion, they could see the artists painting the beauty of the refuge. At the end of the day, we gathered in the visitor’s center theater for a meet and greet the artists.

It was great to see all the work produced that day all up on the artists’ easels during the gathering. While we were chatting with the visitors, the juror for the exhibit, Maxine Schreiber, circulated around and judged the works presented. When Steve and Maxine presented the awards, Maxine commented that she was impressed by the quality of the artwork. I have to agree, I am always humbled to have my artwork being displayed along with the truly great artists we have in Plein Air Palm Beach.




PAPB Artists at the Meet & Greet


The Winners were:

First Place: Kerry Eriksen for “Gator” Oil on canvas

Second Place: Lorrie Turner for “Foggy Morning” Pastel

Third Place: Linda Apriletti for “Willows and Lifting Fog” Oil on Linen

HM: Stan Dornfest for “Joyful Loxahatchee” Acrylic on Canvas

HM: Sal Sidner for “At the Pavillion” Oil on Canvas board

HM: Elfirda Schragen for “Two Trees Trail at Loxahatchee” Oil on Canvas


There will be an exhibit of the paintings produced the day of Festival in the  visitors’ center of the Wildlife Refuge that will run from March 5, 2014 – April 30th, 2014. Be sure to visit the exhibit “Plein Air Palm Beach Paints Loxahatchee” and the take a look around the refuge that inspired the artwork, you won’t be sorry. Twenty-five percent of sales of any artwork will go to Friends of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, a very worthwhile organization.

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county contemporary
I recently applied for and was accepted into the County Contemporary: All Media Juried Art Show.  I am deeply honored to be among the group that was accepted by Juror Mark Richard Leach, Executive Director, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  A representative of the Cultural Council told me they had a good response and had received over 450 entries, of which 44 were being showcased in the exhibit.  Again, I felt honored and excited to be part of the exhibit.  This exhibit opens June 14 and runs until September 7th and is located at Palm Beach Cultural Council located at 601 Lake Avenue, Lake Worth, Florida 33460.  For more information see http://www.palmbeachculture.com
A time-honored challenge for artists is to get ones work exposed to art admirers and collectors.

In pursuit of this goal, I entered the County Contemporary Show as it was sponsored by the Palm Beach Cultural Council.  Ever since I became a member earlier this year, I have been impressed with the dedication and professionalism of the Council.  The Cultural Council does impressive amount of promotion for the exhibits and other events that are held there.    It is also just a wonderful space for an Art Exhibit.  I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent Artist as Author exhibit held there and the corresponding lecture series.

When I first got active in the local artist community here in South East Florida, I joined many groups and began to exhibit with them.  I found this a good way to get my feet wet, and I learned a lot about shows and juries.

I soon became a bit disillusioned as it seemed that the same people were always winning.  While that would be acceptable, if the show and hence all the artwork in it was actually getting exposure, the venues were rarely publicized, and foot traffic to see the exhibit was purely by chance.

When I analyzed that it seemed this, in many cases, to be due to big-fish-in-a-small-pond situation.  With member-only shows in local groups with membership numbers of approximately 150-250, and not all of whom would be entering a particular show, the role for newcomers seems to be mainly supplying the prize money in exchange for a miniscule chance of winning.  Even with these shows being juried and thus the prize winners truly deserving of the, it becomes a bit of a catch 22.  Newer members do not think it is worth the bother to enter and yet the group needs to get a certain number of entries to pull off the show.

To try to address this problem that small groups face, different groups have tried various solutions, such as:

    • Limiting the number of times year an artist can win a cash prize.
    • Having the juror select the group of painting that will be the prize winners and then the group leaders decides which artist gets which prize.


    • Coming up with special awards so that insiders who volunteer can be awarded.


All of these solutions pollute the small pond in my opinion.  So at the end of the day I guess I’d rather be a small fish in big pond as long as I like the pond I’m in.

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My husband, John  and I were at the opening of the  Artist as Author: An exhibition of artists in various creative disciplines who are authors and it was splendid.  It is presented by Cultural Council of Palm Beach County at the Councils headquarters at  601 Lake St, Lake  Worth. The exhibit will be there until  May 18, 2013.

Must see this exhibit

It was fun to drive up to the valet, turn over our keys and enter a magical space of art and culture.  Elaine Meier is the guest curator for the exhibit and has this to say about it:  “Artist as Author is a celebration of creative talent as well as an exploration of the relationship between the arts and the written word.  The artist participating in this exhibit work in multiple disciplines but they all share a passion for excellence… and a Palm Beach County address.”

The exhibit is fantastic and the opening was a wonderful opportunity to see the work, meet the artists/authors and be with others who appreciate culture in Palm Beach County.  There are fourteen artists as authors in this exhibit, all of them captivating.  I guess the one that really caught my eye was Sandra Thompson. She is known for her quintessential paintings of Palm Beach. I was immediately drawn in to paintings and felt like I could walk around in them all day.  My eyes did feast on them for some time.

Great job by all at Cultural Council of Palm Beach with this event.  To find out more information about the exhibit see  Artist as Author Exhibit

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A friend of mine was visiting from Maryland and wanted to go to Art Palm Beach Show.  I’m so glad she asked as it was a marvelous show.  That’s one of the great benefits of visiting friends; they open eyes of possibilities.  It’s like when John lived in New York City; he hadn’t visited any of the sights until I came down from Boston.

It’s the 13th time the event has been held and it’s billed as a dynamic event in America’s premier winter destination, hosting international galleries.    It’s a wide-ranging presentation including contemporary art, photography, video, installation art, public sculpture and design.  One nice touch is part of the proceeds of the food and beverage sales go to the local art community.  It almost made a four-dollar bottle of water worth the price.  After spending that much, we made a point of savoring it as if it were a fine bottle of wine.

Since she is interested in mid-century furniture and my passion is watercolor, we did a good job of covering the entire fair.   However, what we both enjoy was “Risk,” an installation constructed from sneaker parts by Fredrick Uribi.  It was a fascinating exercise in the reuse of materials with, of course, a very strong Green message.

Later in the week, I went to the Norman Rockwell exhibit at MoAFL  with a few of my friends.  Although I had seen many of the same paintings in the Rockwell museum, in Stockbridge,  MA while on my summer sketch tour, it was great to see them in the expansive space of the museum.  The highlight for me was the room that displayed every single Saturday Evening Post Rockwell did on one wall, while the series of drawings showing the artists’ process and the final painting for ‘Southern Justice” was on the other wall.  The exhibit is a t MoAFL until 2/7/2010 so there is still time to see it.

In other weekly news, I went to the Palm Beach Society’s Paint Out at the American Orchid Society.  The cold snap had wrought a sea of change on the vegetation.  Much of it has suffered severely.  Fortunately, inside the greenhouse things were still spectacular.   I spent a lot of time in there.

In the art education department, I am again taking a figure drawing class at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.    Also, I’m taking a 3 day workshop called Creative Watercolor given by Miles Batt and sponsored by the Delray Art League.  I’m learning a lot and cannot wait for a block of studio time to put into practice all these new skills and techniques.

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Time has flown swiftly.   I was juried into the Delray Art League, and John and I started participating in their recurring show/sale, “Artists in the Park.”  It hasn’t been as steep a learning curve as it is for some artists because John used to own an Internet bookstore that did live sales at shows and conventions so we’ve had a bit of experience with selling from under a tent.

The first time through we didn’t make any sales, but the “old hands” tell us that this weekend is the start of the busy season now that all the Snowbirds have abandoned their snowdrifts for the beaches of Florida.

Paint-in with PBWS

I also joined The Palm Beach Watercolor Society and I’ve been participating in their “paint-ins” and “paint-outs;” these are opportunities for the members with a live model and lots of friendly interaction.  They are held at the Boca Community Center for the paint-ins.  These have been a wonderful adjunct to the figure study course I took in the Fall and I’m planning to take again.  For the paint-outs we have been going to the American Orchid Society for plein aire painting.

Right now, I’m in a show by The Palm Beach Watercolor Society.  It was a wonderful experience to go to the reception and seeing all the work by the Society’s members.  I’m planning on entering more of their shows.  It’s a good way to get exposure and to meet the other artists.

I’ve also taken to making copies of the Old Masters in order to learn the body parts better so my figures are more natural.

In December, John and I went on a cruise of the western Caribbean that yielded a number of good paintings and a number of reference photographs that, over time, I’ll use to create watercolors that show scenes in Grand Cayman, Isle de Roatan, Belize and Cozumel.

One highlight of the cruise was the submarine cruise we took off Cayman.  The experience was like being in plein aire or plein l’eau.  Now, I regret not taking my paints on the dive, but I took plenty of photographs as we cruised by reefs, dipping as low as 150 feet at times.  It was an interesting experience, sitting dry, in air conditioned comfort as the sea bottom cruises by only a few feet away.  I’m sure you’ll be seeing paintings on my site soon that will be a direct result of that dive.

I’ve been notified that I’ll be the featured artist in the Remodernist group on the website Red Bubble.

After a bit of procrastination, I sent in my application for the Vermont Artists’ Week.  If I get in, and I feel the chances are good, I’ll be going up there for a week in April.  If all that works out and I’m comfortable with the environment and the staff, I may do one of their longer residencies.   Those seem like a great opportunity.

On a personal note, the holidays were great fun.  At Thanksgiving, five of my nieces were together in Florida and I had a chance to paint will all of them.  They range in age from three to nine; each has her own style untainted by “formal art education.”

The nine-year-old was experimental, looking to try the techniques that I had used and to test out various tools and brushes.  The seven-year-old was more objective.  She plunked down this little stuffed turkey and “just drew it,” quite well in fact.  The six-year-old leaned toward impressionism with a free flowing style.  The five-year-old was “my little Jackson Pollock.”  I’d mixed paints for them in little cups.  She picked one up and dumped it on the paper, looking back at me for some sign of approval or disapproval.  I said, “You can do that, but don’t mix them ALL together or they will come out looking like mud.”  I kept mixing colors for her and she kept dumping.  The three-year-old was just at the point where she was learning  to control her brush with the help of the nine-year-old.

I recommend painting with children if you want to have fun and loosen up.  It’s hard to be uptight about the outcome when you are painting with them; they are so free.

Right now, I’m working on finishing up my “cruise series #1.”  If all goes well, I’ll have a number of those ready for the next outdoor sale.

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