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Art Association to unveil 100 new works

By Staff | Jan 2, 2019

Starlin Sherwood and Pam Flaherty sort through a box of mini-masters that will be unveiled on Jan 10. JESSE MEADOWS

Local artists are hard at work making miniature pieces of art.

The Fort Myers Beach Art Association will unveil 100 brand new, never-before-seen works by member artists at its annual Open House and Art Bazaar on Jan. 10.

These five-by-seven “mini-masters,” painted by some of the FMBAA’s 200 members, will be sold for up to $10 each.

That’s a steal for an original work of art, when other pieces in the gallery normally sell for hundreds of dollars.

“It’s been so competitive in the past, we had to do a lottery,” said Pam Flaherty, the FMBAA’s publicist.

Starlin Sherwood with a mini-master she painted exclusively for the event. JESSE MEADOWS

Member Michele Buelow organized the first mini-master event.

“We started it because it was kind of a rough time in the economy, and we needed a way of bringing in a little extra income,” she said.

Buelow, who works with mixed media, has created five pieces for the mini-masters sale.

Members Kathy Taylor and Judy Tartaglia are in charge of rounding up mini-works from their fellow artists.

“People are working hard right now to get them done. We were at about 50 a week ago, and we’ve got to have 100,” she said.

Tom Flaherty experiments with alcohol inks during live demonstrations at last year’s Open House event. PHOTO PROVIDED

Taylor has painted nearly 30 of the mini-masters herself.

A watercolor plein-air painter, she likes to paint what she sees outside, like palm trees, beach scenes, and boats at Bowditch Point.

But lately there’s been more than just sand and sea in front of her.

“You know the construction on Estero (Boulevard)? It’s a mini! There’s a big steam shovel and orange barrels, it was parked right at the end of our street, and I thought, how long is this going to be here? Long enough for me to paint it,” she said, laughing.

The ongoing roadwork made it harder for people to find the gallery, so they’ve been holding their Art Bazaar at Santini Plaza in recent years.

“But we thought, we want to bring it back. We’re doing all our activities at the building this year,” she said.

Sales from the Art Bazaar will benefit the FMBAA’s scholarship fund for students.

While the Art Bazaar goes on outside, and the mini-masters are displayed for sale in the side room, the main room will host multiple artists doing live demonstrations in various mediums, like batik, pastel, and alcohol ink, a particularly popular kind of fast-drying dye that creates a marbled stone effect on tile.

This is the heart of the association: a place where local artists can share their craft.

“We learn from each other. I’ve met some wonderful friends. That’s a very important part of it. That’s what really keeps you coming back. You can sit at home and paint, but it’s not the same thing,” said Taylor.

Member Starlin Sherwood joined the FMBAA three years ago in search of a hobby.

She prefers big brush strokes and bright colors, but she’s still trying to figure out what subject matter she’s passionate about painting.

“Right now I’m just trying to learn the basics. I talk to as many artists as I can, and they give me confidence,” she said.

She’s painted more than six mini-masters for the sale, and she feels like it’s been a good way to reach outside her comfort zone.

“I’m not really good at doing anything small, I’m a loud, big painter. I like to paint big, so it kind of constrains me, but it’s good for me,” she said.

Taylor advises anyone who wants to snag a mini to come early – the event starts at 9 a.m. in the Gallery at 3030 Shell Mound Blvd.