On February 9 and 10 Temple Beth David hosted its fourth annual Nature Coast Art Show. Twenty-three artists representing various media and styles exhibited and sold their works. Some were professional artists with many years of experience. Others, like “emerging artists” Barbara Humphreys and Doug Roth are just starting out in the field.
Ms. Humphreys, a wife, and mother of two young children just moved to Hernando County last year. She studied animation at the Art Institute of Nashville.
“My style is more of illustration than fine art. I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a crayon. I doodle on everything,” Ms. Humphreys states.
She works in acrylics, pen and ink and pencil using a protective overlay like Mod Podge (a clear acrylic) to protect her work from UV rays. Ms. Humphreys has received several commissions for portraits. Her goal is to write graphic novels and has already created some of her characters.
Doug Roth, a retired dentist, has been painting since the late 1970s, but since his retirement has really immersed himself in his art. He is self-taught, sometimes learning from YouTube videos. His style is impressionistic.
“I use watercolors and alkyd [a mixture of oil and acrylic.] I work mostly from photos I’ve taken and enjoy nature scenes,” Roth comments.
Jenean Best has been creating beautiful dichroic fused glass jewelry for ten years. Basically, it’s a sheet of glass with minerals fused into it. She is self-taught and each piece is unique. Ms. Best explains how the process works.
“I cut sheet glass. There’s a base color, the dichroic is in the middle and then there’s a sheet of clear glass on top. The jewelry is kilned at 1400 degrees.”
Ms. Best has also been creating chain mail for four years and works in aluminum, sterling silver and copper. The chain mail is a beautiful accompaniment to her glass jewelry.
Jackie LaDrig from Clearwater had a wide assortment of glazed pottery on display. Her unique creations are a combination of art and chemistry. For each piece, she uses a different shaped crystal in the glaze which gives the piece its interesting patterns.
“The patterns emerge when you fire it [the piece] and the patterns depend on the temperature of the kiln. The pot is spun on a wheel, the clay hardens and then I put it back on the wheel to trim it. Then I fire it in the kiln and chip away parts of the piece. I fire it, trim it and fire it again. It’s a long process,” Ms. LaDrig comments.
She has been doing this for twenty years and is constantly learning new techniques and experimenting with different types of crystals. She explores more chemistries to develop new glazes.
Those who attended the exhibit were given ballots to vote for their favorite artists and the winners were announced at the end of the show on Sunday. First place went to Lynne Simone; in second place was Peter Gerbert and Joanne Wildman received Honorable Mention.
First place winner Lynn Simone has been active in the Hernando County art scene for many years, having been involved with the Spring Hill Art League. However, this show was the first one she had done in about ten years.
“I was thrilled just to be there, let alone be voted People’s Choice,” Ms. Simone remarks.
Her favorite subject matter is animals and she specializes in custom pet portraits.
“Capturing the personality of the animal and evoking an emotional response from the owner is the greatest reward for me.”
Ms. Simone believes creativity is a process and that artists experiment, make mistakes, learn and grow. She now teaches art and feels that teaching has “really brought me to the next level in my own work.”
The twenty-three artists who exhibited at the Nature Coast Art Show are just a small sample of the level of talent and variety in fine art that we have in Hernando County and the Tampa Bay area. If you missed this show you can catch some of these artists, as well as many others, at the upcoming Art in the Park on March 9 and 10.