TGIF: Florida Lighthouse Day Getaway

Enjoy a day of fun in the sun. This lighthouse getaway features a day of celebration at two of Florida’s evocative lighthouses and much more. Experience snorkeling, shellings, swimming and exploring nature. You’ll discover shaded pavilions along unspoiled pristine beaches. 

Don’t miss this special opportunity. Limited spaces are available for climbing Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and the historic Gasparilla Lighthouse on April 21. Only 108 people will be permitted to climb the Gasparilla Lighthouse and the Port Boca Grande lantern room is open only on this one day a year. 

Savor cake and lemonade and join in on a host of festivities. Children nine and under are free but must be 44 inches. The cost to climb each lighthouse is only $5 per person. Cost for parking at Gasparilla Island at Florida State Park is only $3. 
For more information visit https://www.charlotteharbortravel.com/event/florida-lighthouse-day/1925/.
https://https://www.elainemarieartist.com/home/gallery-shop/

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TGIF: Life Decoded at South Beach 


Celebrating the ease with which I found a parking space at the Miami Beach garage, I was hopeful for a great day. Tourists laughing and chattering against a backdrop of palm trees, were signs of good things to come. This is the South Beach that advertisers promote. Life at its best. But having lived there for 4 years I knew there was a darker side. Skyrocketing homelessness and rampart crime. But just for today, I held those thoughts at bay. 


On the way from the garage, I found myself spellbound by H&Ms window display: Denim Decoded. Using a few bare essentials of clothing they had put together an astonishing look. How clever I thought. If only my life could be so genuine and simple. Life Decoded. Stripped away of all the complexities with only the bare necessities remaining. Simplicity at its best. 


As I stepped into H&M a transformation took place. I was no longer weighed down by the troubles of this world but carefree. Leaving the store my purse was $30 dollars lighter. But it was worth the investment in this new way of being. 


With a new sense of calm and joy, I strolled along a walkway beside the beach. Tents for the wine and food festival blocked the view. But it didn’t matter I knew a few minutes later the ocean would appear. 


At the Bass, I laughed and marveled at the exhibits. The sculptures of “Vocabulary of Solitude” by the Ugo Rondinone brought back to mind my fascination with mannequins on display at H&M. How could these lifeless characters inspire me and an artist? Like Michelangelo releasing the soul of his sculptures from stone, Rondinone had endeavored to do this with polystyrene foam. While at the museum, I met with a friend and asked about the expanded education center. I was excited to hear how the community had embraced the new programs and exhibits.


After I left the museum I headed to the Art Deco District. I was hoping to find a building I had once drawn. No luck. So I decided to sketched the Royal Palm Hotel. 

Now it was time to leave. I placed an order at Pizza Rustica and braced myself for the drive home. Surrounded by a sea of cars I withdrew to a reservoir from my peaceful day. When traffic became a parking lot, my serenity began to dissipate. A few minutes later I got a call about the sudden death of my cousin. Saddened, I thought about my day and all the things I relished. I was glad God had given me a day to enjoy the simple things in my life: art, friends, shopping, dining and the beach. Life decoded. 

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Tweets 

Lightship 95 on the River Thames in London.

The  recent public outcry about the Obama’s official portraits has generated a lot of social media buzz. People seemed puzzled and even angered by the artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

I’m not sure there’s anything the artists could or should say to the critics. They’ve already said it. I mean a picture is worth a thousand words or in today’s vernacular a thousand “tweets.”

Artists are accustomed to being misunderstood and misinterpreted. I find that often in my personal life.

I discovered this recently after I wrote a feature in the United States Lighthouse Society News in early February. After reading the article my sister said, “Now I understand why you paint lighthouses.” Initially, I was a little taken aback because she has been with me on at least four lighthouse trips.

Yet perhaps I took for granted she understood why I painted lighthouses. We visual artists aren’t always adept at verbal explanations because we rely on our paintings to be our voice. In any event, I hope my article amplifies what compels me to paint lighthouses. You can read my article entitled “Lighthouses as Inspiration” posted on February 2 on United States Lighthouse Society News at https://uslhs.wordpress.com

Black History Month Exhibit

Black History Month Exhibit: Unsung Heroes

I am the featured artist in the Dallas, Texas Frito Lays “Unsung Heroes” exhibit for Black History Month. It is a showcase of everyday Americans who through their quiet influence and sacrifice have bettered the lives of others. My “Unsung Hero” is my aunt Mabel Helen.
I love the quote by Alex Haley that says “Family is a link to the past and a bridge to the future.” My aunt Mabel Helen has been the embodiment of that quote for me.
Her portrait is part of my reflective series, “Mentors and Memories.” The series pays homage to my Aunt Mabel and others.
Perhaps more than any other family member besides my father, her support gave me the confidence to launch into my future. My Aunt Mabel’s home was a lifeline to me during my childhood. She was the first person to get me hired as a professional artist. She helped me and other young people find direction and hope.
The “Unsung Heroes” exhibit is closed to the public. It is on display through February 28.

For affordable African American Art check out my paintings at Fine Art America

TGIF: Save and Stay at a Lighthouse

Faad Lighthouse in Ireland.

Stay at Fanad Lighthouse in Ireland. It was voted one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world.

Lighthouses have transformed themselves into travel destinations. Located on spectacular shores with awe inspiring views, a lighthouse getaway offers more value for your dollar than the average vacation

The United States Lighthouse Society offers a list of lighthouse accommodations by state. Lighthouse Friends offer comprehensive information on lighthouses. I recently used their website as a resource when planning my New York Lighthouse Trip. The Great Lighthouses of Ireland gives visitors a chance to explore and to spend a night at a lighthouse.

If an overnight stay is not in your plans, lighthouses offer festivals, kids activities, special events, tours and more. Most events are free with the cost of admission. It generally cost less than $10 a person to visit a lighthouse. Admission fees help to maintain and preserve lighthouses.

40% off on Groupon for Hillsboro Lighthouse.

Groupon offers up to 43% off from Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation.

Not only do you get a lot of “bang for the buck,” your admission goes toward a worthy cause.

Ring in the Holidays

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse near Palm Beach, Florida.

Ring in the holidays at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse’s Holiday Shop and Sip Social on Dec. 6 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Enjoy holiday shopping with wine, tasty treats and free gift wrapping. Special discounts benefit the lighthouse. Purchase unique gifts for the kids and that hard to please someone on your Christmas list. Get a free Lighthouse ornament when you become a member of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. RSVP at 561-747-8380 x101

St. Augustine Lighthouse in North Florida.

St. Augustine Lighthouse in North Florida.

Join the Luminary Night celebration at St. Augustine Lighthouse, Dec. 6 from 6-10 pm. Get free admission, visit Santa and witness over 1,000 dazzling candles. Catch the Christmas spirit while enjoying holiday music. For more information, call 904-829-0745.
https://www.splashandcolor.com/home/spotlight/

 

 

 

 

The Bass: Talk of the Town

 

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Before renovation, The Bass displays Public Art during Art Basel. 

The Bass solidifies its position as an art leader in Miami by bringing a fresh way of seeing and experiencing art. The grand reopening of The Bass heralds a new age.

After being closed for 2 1/2 years, The Bass opens with much fanfare and anticipation on Sunday. Before its temporary closure, the museum had transformed itself to a hotspot for contemporary art.

Now it artfully and skillfully showcases its old masterpieces alongside contemporary art. Botticelli, Rubens, El Greco and Van Dyke take center near contemporary art and challenges visitors to rethink their perceptions about art.

Instead of discarding the past, The Bass preserves it in a fresh and exciting way. The Art Deco building that houses the Bass is revitalized with new exhibition spaces, expanded lobby and education center, and grand staircase.

Designed by Russell Pancoast in the 1930s, it is one of the oldest buildings in Miami Beach. With the new expansion, the old and new form a fascinating dialogue.

As William Murtugh states “…at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present with a mutual concern for the future.”

The Bass has done that in a bold and brash way.