A select group of veteran Florida artists will be honored from 6-8 pm on Friday, July 14, at the Brooksville Gallery 201. This gallery, located at Brooksville City Hall, was opened to highlight local artists and give them a platform to display their creative works. This new exhibit is the first of its kind. The Featured Artists Exhibit will showcase the beautiful masterworks of a quartet of individuals who bring beauty and color to our community and beyond.
The quartet of artists is Diane Becker, Lyn Bechtel, Paul Shaskan and Desiree Kantrim. These four luminaries of the Hernando arts scene will display and sell an extensive collection of their brightest artistic creations throughout the summer at Gallery 201. On the first floor of City Hall, they will debut their exhibit at a joint July 14 reception that also will celebrate the opening of the second floor I-Identity exhibit as well.
“These are four very different artists whose work has been featured extensively in our gallery,” said Gallery 201 Coordinator Pedram Moghaddam. “These are some of the most experienced artists in our area. We want to bring attention to these artists so that we don’t forget our past. We can’t forget where we come from.”
Desiree Kantrim of Brooksville is a lifelong artist who doodled and colored pictures throughout childhood, going on to learn pottery and sculpting with clay, design and weave using textiles and paint on canvases. Citing nature as her key inspiration, she has belonged to the Art Center COOP, the Orange Park Art Guild and the Jacksonville Artists Guild. Her award-winning work was displayed in the Karpeles Museum and the Beaches Fine Art Exhibit.
Her paintings range from coastal landscapes to abstracts, and she has been a participating artist in the Brooksville Main Street Mobile Mural program. Desiree stated, “As far as what I am planning to hang, it will be a mix of traditional as well as abstract pieces. It’s hard to express the feeling you have when something that is a thing of beauty that inspired me to put it down on canvas is appreciated by a larger audience. I am excited to have been chosen for this exhibit and grateful for the chance to exhibit some of my work.”
Paul Shaskan of Brooksville is a self-taught artist with a passion for bold, bright colors and clean lines, which he splashes creatively across the canvases of his oil paintings on masonite surfaces, using painting knives and brushes. A 40-year veteran of the brokerage industry, he has devoted much of his 25-year retirement to the creation of more than 250 paintings. He also has painted Mobile Murals and has participated in the Brooksville Main Street Art and Wine Stroll and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council’s Art in the Park, even serving as the event chairman for Art in the Park.
“I never met a color I didn’t like,” Paul shared with a laugh. “I specialize in landscapes and seascapes, with subjects captured everywhere from my native New York to Arizona to Florida.”
Shaskan looks forward to displaying his works as a part of the Featured Artists exhibit at Gallery 201. “Pedram is doing a great job for the arts community in Brooksville,” Paul continued. “It is so nice to have him include me among these four honored artists.”
Brooksville’s Diane Becker is an accomplished portrait artist who can transform a cherished photograph or a live-posing session into a work of art.
Even as a child, Becker entered portrait drawing contests and studied art throughout her schooling years. After graduating from the School of Fine Art at Washington University in St. Louis, she developed a serious interest in human and animal portraiture. Now an art teacher at Pasco Hernando State College, she creates her own works with oil, pastel, charcoal, and colored pencil. She has been published in the 4th Vol. of the Artists of Florida and is listed in the Cambridge Who’s Who. She has won a number of art awards, including Best in Show in the Nature Coast Art League show at Art in the Park, presented by the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. Her work has appeared in various public buildings, and she was commissioned to paint two outdoor murals, both featuring pioneer doctors of their respective cities. She has also served as a participant in Brooksville Main Street’s Mobile Mural program.
“Every portrait is still a challenge. Every face has so many dimensions,” she said. “And as much as I love portraits, I also love to paint landscapes and still lives. I always love to capture what I’m seeing.”
Becker is honored to be a Featured Artist. “It is a pure pleasure and a surprise,” she said. “There are so many good artists out there, and I was chosen.”
Lyn Bechtel was initially trained as a child at the Chicago Art Institute, then majored in biology and art in college, and after graduating, went to medical school for a master’s degree in Medical Illustration, which she then practiced while pursuing a fruitful career as a Ph.D. teacher in Old Testament studies. Upon retirement, she finally returned to her love of watercolor painting, moved to Homosassa, and started showing art here in Florida. Now locally, she has been a featured artist at Art in the Park, Nature Coast Art League shows, in the Mobile Mural program and in the Florida Watercolor Society online show.
“I love to paint a great variety of different subjects,” Lyn expressed. “I love to paint places, to capture the beauty and emotion of each setting–even during the pandemic, I liked to paint the places I wish I could go.”
Bechtel is pleased to be a Featured Artist.”I’m quite privileged to be chosen,” she said. “I’ve been showing art at that gallery for quite some time.”
Admission is free at the Featured Artists’ reception, where light refreshments will be provided.