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Flagler County Art League’s Color Splash Returns with Brash of Brush

| September 8, 2012

Judy Matthews’s ‘Tempest,’ one of some 100 works on exhibit at the Flagler County Art League’s ‘Color Splash’ show in September. Click on the image for larger view.

Lions, tigers, and bears. Abstract, representational, and nonrepresentational. Any and all of those names and terms fit under the theme of “Color Splash,” the Flagler County Art League‘s newest show, opening tonight (Sept. 8) with more than 100 pieces.

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“Certainly, what entrants did was very colorful,” the league’s Bob Ammon said of the medley of styles he hung and curated. “The work has improved. There’s no question about that. People have gotten much more creative in their thinking. There are some really striking things that will knock you on your butt when you see them. I’m glad I’m not judging.” The improvement is in reference to last year’s work (the league’s 2011 “Color Splash” was in January).

Judging falls to Bob Dorman, a realistic Florida freelance painter, who, according to his biography, “is responsible for perhaps hundreds of greeting cards as a vice president and creative director of two major greeting card companies.” His subjects range from massive, bounding swordfish that conjure Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea to Southwestern cowboys and the jungles of Rudyard Kipling rendered with brutal realism.

“When there’s such a loose theme, that allows a lot of leeway to interpret,” Ammon says. Theme shows are restrictive. Ammon is trying not to have too many of those to avoid scaring people away, or sending them down the balcony to Hollingsworth gallery’s more esoteric shows. Those more inclined towards abstract work might keep a “people” themed show at arms length.

John Robak specializes in acrylic historical paintings. One of the painting he’s entering in the league’s show is a tight depiction of Fort Matanzas. Three soldiers stand at ease, bantering before a ready cannon and a calm blue Florida sky. “I don’t exhibit this genre much because art judges are looking for experimentation and interesting uses of the medium,” Robak says. “My focus is on historical accuracy, and I consider myself more of an illustrator than a wow-em-at-the-gallery painter.” Robak has two other pieces in the show–a colored pencil piece based on an agricultural farm re-enactor and a small acrylic of a Flagler Beach-Key West colored Bungalow. Robak currently has a four-panel mural on display at the Government Services Building in Bunnell.

A painting by John Robak. Click on the image for larger view.

Photographers are now routinely part of the league’s shows, too, such as Karen Neville. Originally from the New York area, Neville attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and worked as a graphic designer her whole career. “When I first moved to Palm Coast, I didn’t know a flower from a weed,” she says. “My new backyard was so beautiful, the result of hard work from the previous owners. Since then, I studied the beauty of these flowers and plants and tried to capture that awesome beauty in photographs. The colors of nature can’t be surpassed.”  Her “Spring Time Explosion,” a collage of the myriad flower types she’s encountered here in Palm Coast,  embodies that love of floriculture.

Joan Howard who usually enters acrylics or watercolors into league shows, decided to dabble with colored pencils this time around, entering a Key West golden hen. The “Color Splash” theme gave Howard room for  experimentation. “I like to try different mediums for unusual subject matters. It’s fun to go back and forth between different mediums. It keeps you on your toes,” she says.

Some of the work, whether realistic or abstract, can be determined merely by the viewers’ distance, with a close-up viewing resulting in a myriad of dazzling colors while a few paces back you have a vibrant representation.

Virtually any league show could be called “Color Splash,” but in this case, Ammon says, “the subjects and styles really go from one extreme to another.”

The success of  show parallels the success of the Art League: In September, for the first time, the league will finally be able to pay teachers, Art League President Ann Delucia says.  Class sizes are exploding, generating more income which will be shared with the instructors.  Consequently, the league has expanded its education program. The first Monday of October, for example, begins the Creative Kid Workshop Series, which will run each Monday of the Month. These  events invite children from ages 6 to 12, each accompanied by one adult or guardian to spend quality time together while they learn about art. October’s workshop is called “Big Hands Little Hands, and the Magic of Clay,” and will focus on technique and also the history of using clay and glazing techniques. Future Creative Kids Workshops  include “Medieval Mondays” and “Meet the Masters.”

For kids and adults alike, Delucia says, “our goal is to take our members to the next level. Push the envelope. Get people to try new mediums. We need to show the leaders in both the city and county that culture is significant to the vibrancy of the community.”

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5 Responses for “Flagler County Art League’s Color Splash Returns with Brash of Brush”

  1. w.ryan says:

    We do what we do and all is welcomed was the notion when “Color Splash” was conceived. This was because the exclusion of modern art like what is shown at the Hollingsworth and also the SECCA Tree Studios seemed the norm with FCAL. Traditional art is what’s in vogue at FCAL. Most everyone there strive toward realism. The other show themes the first year at FCAL at it’s new local were to introduce or reemphasize Van Gogh and other modern masters as art to open up the acceptance of change and creativity. What the Hollingsworth is is a Professional gallery that the Art League members should want to possibly show at eventually through the nurturing of the Artists in their art classes. Basically the theme shows was an exploration to realize for themselves every artists possibilities. Though I am happy that FCAL has revisited “Color Splash”. The meaning from what I’ve read above is lost. Second Saturday is a partnership of the Art Galleries at City Market Place and eventually throughout Flagler County. It wasn’t meant as a competition. The fear that permeates the air at FCAL about The Hollingsworth taking artists is not warranted. As an Artist I praise creativity. I am open to exploration of technique in both the classical and the modern sense although my emphasis is on realism. I can say the same for all of the artist that are at the Hollingsworth who are also FCAL members and have my philosophy. I would hope that creativity and the appreciation for art is what is stressed at FCAL. In this way we all benefit in the development of the up and coming artists that have yet to make a true decision on their creative direction.

    • S.S. says:

      W., I am really puzzled about what you wrote here. There is no fear at FCAL about Hollingsworth pirating artists. A number of artists show in both places and belong to both SECCA and FCAL. FCAL loves and appreciates the many SECCA artists, and a number of FCAL members also enjoy impressionism. There is no rule about what type of art FCAL members must create. The idea is to show all art that members and other show entrants enjoy creating in the hope that visitors/patrons will enjoy it, too, and to keep on improving professionalism and skills. Second Saturday certainly is a partnership,not a competition. FCAL members visit Hollingsworth at that time, not just their own show. They look forward to seeing both shows. JJ and Mercedez do a fabulous job. FCAL members promote both shows when they invite their friends to openings. You are a very talented artist. I think it’s time to let go of some issues you had with FCAL in the past and embrace the partnering possibilities. We are all in it together, so to speak i.e. giving the arts a higher profile in Palm Coast.

      • w.ryan says:

        S., It may have been unfair of me to lump everyone in the above statement together. Certainly your appreciation for the arts is without bounds. There are others that are open to every interpretation of art. This includes Bob. I was puzzled as well. What my comment was was a call for unity. I responded to what was written about chasing people away and the fear of sending people down the balcony. I have been on both sides and know what I see. My concerns were unity as FCAL Pres then for reason that were founded. Some people have moved on and new ones are in place.
        I also feel that you are very talented and I love your work. But I am driven not by any issues. Both FCAL and I have benefited mutually from what I had done a couple of years ago. We’re both better and stronger now. FCAL has grown to have some amazing artists and I have time to work on my art. I emphasized unity when I was Pres and I still stand by it. You took the words out of my mouth. My slogan was as FCAL Pres.”We’re all in this together”. Sorry for how you feel about what my comment was. You’re still all world with me!

        • S.S. says:

          W., thank you for your kind words. But I have never seen anyone discouraged from going to see the other gallery’s show, ever. It’s part of the fun of the evening. Separately, I commend Xavier on his fine photojournalism in the current Hollingsworth show.
          As for unity: Did you see the great thing Tom Gargiulo did for the opening of the bike show? He positioned bicycles all the way down to FCAL and back to Hollingsworth, with balloons, so visitors would be drawn to both galleries.

          • w.ryan says:

            You bring a lot to the table. Spectrum does a great job and the cross members bring unity. This is what Tom, Arlene, JJ and I were planning that faithful day we met in order to see how we can bring unity to what was once a fractured community. There is still more to do in order to speak with a unified direction. Tom became a lifetime member because we shared the same philosophy of being in this together. It took a while for his action to be recognized. I will say that this new executive body has stepped it up in the right direction. It was always our intent to have this Second Saturday and a shared Arts experience for the general public. Thanks (X did do some good work up)

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