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NCAL Artist of the Month

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As visitors to the Spring Hill Branch Library pause to admire “What Waits in the Mist,” the beautiful, atmospheric artwork currently on display just inside the library entrance, they can also respect the fantastic artist who—after a mere two years in his creative vocation–is winning honors and accolades.

The artist is Brandt Emerson, Nature Coast Art League November Artist of the Month. It is the mission of the Nature Coast Art League to promote the visual arts and support artists in Hernando County and surrounding areas.

“This painting turned out as interesting as I had hoped it would. It is titled ‘What Waits in the Mist’ painted in acrylic on a canvas,” said Emerson. “Living in a fairly rural part of Brooksville, I have developed a fondness for the green trees that are all around us and the wildlife that lives within. For this painting, I was thinking of how the woods would look after a natural force such as a wildfire would change its appearance and how it would alter the mood of an observer, wondering what’s out there.”

Emerson is proud and humbled to be distinguished as the Nature Coast Art League’s Artist of the Month. “Being named Artist of the Month is quite an honor because artists in the Nature Coast Art League, who I think are all better painters than I am, voted for this,” he said. “I smiled for the rest of the day.”

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A lifelong craftsman, Emerson is new to the fine art of painting.”I am a very new painter, painting seriously for less than two years, starting with watercolors as they are not easy to master and I wanted a challenge. My mother was an artist, so I was exposed to various types of artwork and artists at a very young age,” he said. “I had little interest in painting, but I was more interested in expressing myself by making small machines out of metal and wood. After a career of working as an engineer in manufacturing, I became interested in directing my creative instincts to the field I was exposed to as a boy.”

Furthermore, Emerson’s artistic pursuits have made a substantial difference in his personal life as well. “An interesting side note: I met my wife, Hedy, in an art class that I took about 45 years ago,” he said. “My career kept me from pursuing an artistic path, but I kept Hedy all this time. Taking that class was my best decision ever, and I still remember some of the lessons learned.”
Emerson’s creative palette comes complete with many favorite media and subjects. “Watercolors are the most difficult for me, but when they come out right, I get the most satisfaction. Acrylics seem to work the best, however,” Emerson said. “I have painted a number of trees in various settings, so it would seem to be a favorite subject. Living in a wooded area provides quite a bit of inspiration.”

Aside from the library, Emerson’s work can be seen elsewhere in Hernando County. “I have another painting in the current show held by Brooksville Gallery 201—Meeting of the Minds, titled ‘First Meeting,’” he said. “And yes, it also features trees but has a much lighter feel about it than ‘What Waits in the Mist.’”

Emerson also ranks as a high-standing officer in NCAL. “I joined NCAL about a year and a half ago and was recently elected to be vice president of the Nature Coast Art League. In that position, I take over when the president is not available, as I had to do at our September meeting,” he said. “I will also be helping to coordinate the Nature Coast Art League entry for Art in the Park being held this March. We will have a large tent displaying the art created by our members and expect a great show.”

Emerson foresees a bright future for the league this season. “Growing the membership of NCAL is one of my goals as VP, and I want us to continue having great demonstrations and classes given to the group by local artists,” he said. “Becoming a better watercolorist is a major goal for me, along with improving my rendering of people. I also plan to create ceramic artwork in the near future. Clay has such a wonderful tactile feel.”

Even as he paints beautiful landscapes, Emerson is also tackling some large-scale craft projects. “When I retired from my engineering job at a medical device company in Largo, I knew that a challenging project was needed to channel my energy and creativity. So, I designed and built a sixteen-foot-long wooden sailboat in my workshop,” he said. “The project took about two and a half years, using wood from oak trees growing on our property for much of the trim on the boat and sailing it on local lakes. I enjoy making furniture and other wood projects, as well as boats. I have been working on a two-person kayak for several months now.”

See “What Waits in the Mist” by Brandt Emerson throughout November at the Spring Hill Branch Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

The next Nature Coast Art League meeting is at 10 a.m. on November 20 at People Helping People, 1396 Kass Circle, Spring Hill. Lynne Simon will host an art demonstration titled “It’s All in the Eyes. Pet Portraits Come to Life.” A single membership to NCAL is $40. A family membership is $50; mail checks to Nature Coast Art League, P.O. Box 6284, Spring Hill, FL 34611.

“What Waits in the Mist” by Brandt Emerson.
[Credit Jana Withers, NCAL]

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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