Florida’s Local Color

 

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Florida’s mangrove islands are mysterious and curious.  They are filled with an abundance of pristine wildlife often living amongst an odd collection of debris that remains tangled in the web of roots that bind the island.

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The Boca Grande Railroad Station – 1928

A  landmark that has survived in Florida’s landscape.  Beautifully repurposed and filling a community’s needs in the 21st century.

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 Byrd’s, Florida in the 50’s

Fish camps were distinctive architecture in Florida’s coastal communities. Rivers, bays and inlets often had these worn buildings teetering out over the water.  Respites for hungry and thirsty boaters – with a characteristic scent of bait lingering about them! 

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Saturday Matinée, Florida in the 50’s

Visually documenting a place in Florida’s past offers a look at what helped to shape the character of a community.  It’s a typical movie house in the 1950s in Florida with a wonderful twist!   The Greatest Show on Earth premiered in the theatre with Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart and Betty Hutton in attendance.  Elvis performed here and Ringling Bros. used the facility as their infamous clown college for years!  Today the building is Sarasota’s Opera House.

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The Casino, Florida in the 50’s

A landmark lost – dependent on photographs, paintings and writings to be remembered. The Lido Casino was designed by architect Ralph Twitchell and built as a WPA project.  It opened in 1940 and was demolished just 29 years later in 1969.  The iconic eight foot tall concrete sea horses are the most remembered architectural detail of the building. 

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I choose the subjects of my paintings in part because I feel some responsibility as an advocate for historic preservation.  It is my way of contributing to the chronicling of the history of our state and showing off the rich and varied fabric of each city, town and waterway that distinguishes it.

Circus, Circus, Circus……..

 

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I live and work in a city that was the heart of the circus for decades.  John Ringling moved the circus winter quarters to Sarasota in 1927 in an attempt to bring notoriety to a city devastated by the real estate bust and mending from the hurricane of 1926.  He most definitely succeeded!  Until very recently, if you opened any Florida guide book it touted Sarasota as the home of the circus.

I love doing art related to the circus.  In the past I’ve had the honor of being commissioned to create art for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus and for The World Circus Federation.

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With less than a two week window, I designed and installed a 78 foot mural on the front of Robarts Sports Arena.  It was the return of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey® Circus to Sarasota after a long lapse.  The Gold Tour was premiering its newest show.  It was January 17, 2008.

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As many Januarys go in Florida, 2008’s was a chilly one with temperatures down in the 40’s and gusting winds.  The weather was indeed a challenge for us as was the climb up and down ladders and onto scaffolding several times a day – especially for me, I’m a ninny about heights.

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Photo credit: Rob Mattson, Sarasota Herald Tribune

Yes, that is me sitting on the cold metal scaffold platform detailing the elephant’s harness just hours before the official opening.

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In 2008 the sports arena had seen better days.  The mural was to be temporary – to spruce up the building for the premier.  It was expected the arena would be demolished to make way for a new facility any day.  Seven years have passed and the building still stands along with the “temporary,” not too shabby mural.

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The Circus Ring of Fame announced its inductees for 2015, whose names and biographies will be featured on plaques in St. Armands Circle.   Among the inductees are: H.S.H. Prince Rainier of Monaco, creator of the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo.  The ring was created to pay tribute to the performers and outstanding supporters of the circus.  It is located in Sarasota in the center of St. Armands Circle.  This Saturday, January 10th  the inductees and or their representatives will  join in a discussion about the circus at the Sailor Circus Arena.  The event is open to the public and begins at 9:30.  The induction ceremony takes place on Jan. 11 at 2pm at St. Armands Circle. The Sarasota Circus Band plays beforehand at 1:30.

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“Rehearsal” Commissioned for World Circus Day by Princess Stephanie of Monaco for the Federation Mondiale du Cirque

The Festival was founded by Prince Rainier III in recognition of the importance of circus arts as part of European and, indeed,world culture. It is held in Monaco in January every year.  I am so very honored to have been selected by Princess Stephanie to create this piece and to exhibit at the festival.

December 2014………

 Christmas in paradise…………

XC_beach Thank you to all my new and returning customers.  It has been a pleasure working with each and every one of you.  The season has been busy and tremendously fun!  I’m packing pieces off to the Netherlands and across the U.S.A. to brighten walls and bring smiles to lots of faces!

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Support the arts!  A gift of art, an art museum membership, or tickets to a performing arts event make especially wonderful presents!

If you are short on cards you can still shop mangroves and mangoes or d.a.gordon dart online.  If you are in Sarasota, stop by the studio.  We still have a number of cards, ornaments, mugs and of course the extra special gift bags and eco – Good Bags!

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I send warm wishes to all for a peaceful and happy season of giving and sharing and unlimited opportunities in the new year to offer change and make a difference.

I personally plan to relish the coming days, finish some long overdue commissions, cut some fantastic sculptures and with any luck,  break ground on a new home!

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OH….and of note…… soon to be released book…………

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Thank you Fiona Green and the Edinburgh University Press for selecting one of my New Yorker drawings for the cover design.  Look for a copy at your favorite bookstore soon!

Once a Year

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December is upon us ……………Gotta say I’m thankful to have finished my last custom illustration order last week.  Now it’s time to finish a few overdue paintings and enjoy the spirit of the season!

If you are looking for a unique card to send this year….I created a few new ones that I’m especially fond of.  To view these and more go to mangroves and mangoes and d.a.grodon dart at Zazzle.

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Remember, you can customize the cards with your own message inside.  You can even add a photo and a year-end catch up letter! It is quite amazing what you can do with the cards or, short on time? Just order the cards as they are.

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving………..

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Wishing everyone a day of thanks and giving!

and after Thursday……

Turn on the Christmas music and begin to enjoy the very best time of the year!

Think about sending cards to those you rarely see.  Brighten someone’s Christmas with a very special card you have taken time to add a personal message or update to.  Zazzle, the company that creates cards from my designs allows you to customize, sign and even add your words to one or a 100 cards.

To view cards go to:

mangroves and mangoes or d.a.gordon dart

Posted in Art

Good Bag Sighting in France!

I love seeing where my art appears.  This time it’s in France!  Wish I was there!

This particular Good Bag features my drawing of the tower of John Ringling’s residence, Cà d’ Zan in Sarasota, Florida. The bags are 100% recycled material and made by a terrific company in New Hampshire owned and run by women- Enviro-Tote.

Good Bags can be purchased online at the mangovesandmangoes Etsy Shop and they are available for the holidays at my studio.

These bags should no be confused with the reusable gift bags made in China and sold through Zazzle.  These bags are washable and last forever!  They are made from eco-spun fabric, a sustainable material created from recycled plastic soda bottles! They are absolutely the most responsible bag on the market today.

Trick or Treat and Turkey too……….

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Fall offers up great opportunities with Halloween and Thanksgiving for me to grab my pen and doodle some more!  Zazzle has applied a few of my designs to their new, reusable gift bags and I am very impressed with the printing and the bag quality…………..

You’ll find these bags and more on the feature page in mangroves and mangoes’s store.

They are perfect to give alone or to put a gift in.

 

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They fold into a compact square and open into a large gussetted size.

They reuse wonderfully for groceries!  Check out and bag clerks at the grocery stores love to see them!

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Zazzle produces nice quality items I’m proud to license my art to.  They constantly offer discounts from 10%-60% off!  Always check their page – http://www.zazzle.com/coupons for the latest coupon codes.

 

Winter is on its way so winter designs, holiday, and Christmas bags will appear along with the latest holiday cards and more.

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Zazzle stores featuring products with my designs are:

mangroves and mangoes and Sarasota Florida and d.a.gordon dart.

Summer 2014…….

Rediscovering some previous work……………..

In the late 70’s and 80’s I was represented by a number of galleries. In Florida it was Brubaker Gallery.   I was comfortable being a gallery artist. It allowed me the freedom to paint full time and leave the business of art to the gallery directors. That was indeed the upside.  The downside was often never meeting who was purchasing my art.

During those years I had a number of one-person shows at Brubaker.  I came across this newspaper clipping on Google reviewing one show in November 1979…….

Screen shot 2014-08-05 at 3.46.52 PMYup, I still think I’m that 28 year old!

It’s thirty five years later though.  Now I’m reunited with or meeting for the first time many of those purchasers or their children who are discovering my studio and stopping in to introduce themselves. It’s a pleasure to speak with them, to learn about the paintings they own and in some cases, see some of the old work!

I thought I’d share a few.   One early piece was recently reproduced in a very limited edition of prints and is now available here at the studio on canvas or paper:

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In the 70’s and 80’s I traveled every summer to places I could photograph and draw “stuff” and I do mean stuff – random, usually common items that would become the subjects of my spot drawings for The New Yorker and other periodicals.  This particular place on Route 1 in Maine was an absolute treasure trove for items I drew.  It was also a place that was keenly familiar to the gentleman that purchased the painting of it in the 80’s.

This summer two paintings that sold through Brubaker Gallery are visiting the studio on consignment:

Animal ParadeThe Animal Parade

Sledding hillThe Sledding Hill

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Final drawings for several sculptures including “Jitterbug”, my dancing rabbits have been completed.  The designs are larger and spectacularly more fun at seven feet:

JitterbugF_2And Lily is featured in yet another of the latest sculptures:

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The 2014 Christmas line will get some attention soon:

Bch_xmas-detfltAnd I’m at the easel a few days a week with three canvases in progress.

Wishing everyone a relaxing summertime with good friends and family!

June 2014 Update

New installations……

Walter’s Frolics

On Sunday May 25, 2014 a new sculpture was unveiled to some very tough critics……

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“Walter’s Frolics” is a three part installation.  The medium is 3/8th inch powder coated aluminum.  This is the fourth installation in the series Walter.  Three installations are in Sarasota. The fourth is in Los Altos, California.

It was an honor to be commissioned to create this piece for a couple that has amassed over time a very impressive and fantastic collection of art.

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“Walter, Who, What?” is awaiting a home.  Measuring 3 feet out of the ground, this piece requires no professional installation and is easy to move and relocate.  It is powder coated 3/8″ aluminum plate.

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“Walter’s Covey” is ready for cutting.  Walter and his umbrella are six feet tall and truly magical!

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Coming soon….

Due to arrive any day to the Palm Avenue studio from the sculpture studio is “Lily”.  This is a tabletop / garden sized piece, measuring four foot in length.

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Exhibiting….

Onexhibit6-14Art Center Sarasota is open Monday through Saturday from 10 – 4

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In the shops….

 Last week I received samples of the drawstring backpacks from mangrovesandmangoes zazzle online shop

bp3x3I’m impressed with the quality and I especially like the lightweight cloth.

bp1-3x3If you have a favorite dart design that you would like to see on a drawstring bag, let us know and we’ll see if it can be produced.

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Summer is vacation time and your pets are often left in the care of others.  Two of our favorite cards for pet sitters are……….

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In appreciation of our Dads…..

 

5x7fathrs-dayHappy Father’s Day

 

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Gillespie

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