Thank you to everyone who came out in support of Tampa Bay Watch and our environmental restoration projects and children's educational programs at our 2017 Bay Life Art Show! Together, we can restore our ecosystem so that we all benefit--not just today but for years to come!
A few moments from the event:
Our thanks to the event sponsors and contributors:
Printing generously donated by
About the Artists
Karen Baker, CPS, PSA, PSTB
A representational artist, Karen Baker paints what inspires her the most--the world of nature and its ever-changing landscape in all seasons. Favorite subjects cover a wide range of interest from the tropical waterways and marshlands of the South, to old farm buildings, hillsides, open meadows and mountain vistas of New England. She is also known for her colorful floral paintings, particularly the Poppy Series which features sweeping fields of colorful flowers and now numbers over 160 paintings.
Though her primary medium is soft pastel, she also works in acrylics but in a more abstract manner. Her paintings are composites of many visual resources, as she paints both in the studio and outdoors, creating finished pieces from plein air color studies, sketches, photo references and more importantly, her imagination, which she believes produces paintings most expressive of an "inner landscape.”
Throughout her career, her artwork has gained recognition and won numerous awards from national and regional shows, magazine competitions, and plein air events. She is a signature member of Connecticut Pastel Society, Pastel Society of America, and Pastel Society of Tampa Bay. She is represented by galleries in New England and Florida, where she teaches ongoing classes in plein air, landscape painting, and the creative process. This is her third year participating in the Tampa Bay Watch fundraising event.
Water is the most important resource on our planet. It sustains us physically and its fluid movements soothe our minds. Water has many complex qualities – from its ability to erode granite to our reliance upon it to softly clean our skin. It can be bent with static electricity, while also being famous for its own refractive properties. Water can either satiate or inundate our thirsty croplands, indiscriminately dismantling our future or reaffirming the confidence we have in our mastery over nature.
When creating these paintings, the complex nature of water, and our equally complex relationship with it, is always present on my mind. I intend to create peaceful, meditative pieces that formally focus upon the interaction of surface and depth, plant-life and cast shadows, color and light.
It is my hope that viewers will approach these paintings for their beauty and walk away with a greater awareness of their own relationship to water, the crucial role it plays in the continuance of life on this planet, and the responsibilities that come along with its use.
I was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado State University in 2001 and then worked in galleries and as an Art Consultant in Denver, CO for seven years. I grew up on a dairy farm in western New York. Prior to my university studies, I lived in Egypt for one year as an exchange student and, upon my return, worked as a cowboy in Wyoming for two years. My wife, daughter and I live in St. Petersburg, FL and spend our summers living in Oak Island, NC. My work is represented locally by the Darrell Edwards Art Gallery in Southport, NC.
My painting theory is simple.....try to capture the essence of a scene. In doing so I hope to give the viewer enough visual information to stir their imagination. My challenge is creating work that raises the awareness of our disappearing wilderness. By painting in oils I create the wide variety of colors and textures that depict a sense of purity and timelessness.
I find great delight in viewers sharing their ah-ha moment.
Bill Castleman’s plein-air paintings capture on canavas his love for his native Florida landscape. Born in Pensacola in 1940, Bill has been an artist most of his adult life. After serving as a technical illustrator for the U.S. Marine Corps, Bill went on to study art at The Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, graduating with a certificate in design and illustration.
He had careers in aerospace and advertising before beginning a teaching career that lasted 25 years.
Bill’s work marries his talent and energy with his enthusiasm for the outdoors. His characteristic deft touch with his paintings inbues each scene with a freshness and vitality that invites the viewer to visit time and time again.
Bill’s work can be found in the Art Expo in St. Pete Beach and at the annual February Bay Life art show at Tampa Bay Watch on Tierra Verde.
Melissa Miller Nece is regarded as one of the foremost colored pencil artists in the country. Her enthusiasm and humor have made her a favorite speaker for arts groups around Florida, and she has inspired many others to try colored pencils through her classes and workshops. She has been teaching colored pencil, drawing, and oil and acrylic painting at the Dunedin Fine Art Center since 1990. She has taught many workshops around Florida, and as far away as New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. She has also worked in and taught college level graphic design.
Melissa is president, a ten year merit signature member and a CPX signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America. CPSA has an international membership of about 1600 artists; its mission is to promote colored pencil as a fine art medium. For eight years previously, Melissa was CPSA’s ways and means director; in that position she cultivated a strong working relationship with art materials manufacturers and distributors. Previously, she served two terms as president of CPSA District Chapter 113. She is also a signature member and board member of the Miniature Artists of America, a member of the Florida Artist Group, board member of the Professional Association of Visual Artists and a member and past board member of the Miniature Art Society of Florida.
She developed a mixed media technique featured in a step-by-step article she wrote for the October 2012 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Other publications that feature her artwork include CPSA Signature Showcase, Modern Masters of Miniature Art in America, Creative Colored Pencil Portraits, American Artist and Drawing Highlights magazines, The Best of Colored Pencil, volumes 2, 3, and 5, and other books. She has worked with several manufacturers of art products who have used her work in advertising, packaging and promotional materials. Her drawings and paintings are in many private and corporate collections, including the city of Clearwater, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, and the Pencil Museum in Keswick, England.
Melissa finds inspiration in the Florida environment, particularly its beaches: “I find our Florida environment to be an endless source of subject matter. I see the beach as a stage for human activity. When there, we observe countless little plays, scenes being acted out by characters in colorful costumes, in lighting that might be dramatic, bright and cheerful, or soft and subtle. My artwork aims to capture some of those scenes, bits and pieces of little dramas that are filled in by our own interpretations, our own experience. We observe, and in our memories we hear the steady rhythm of the waves, the screech of the gulls; we smell the sunscreen and salt air; we feel the hot roughness of the sand. At the same time, we should be reminded how precious and fragile our beautiful environment is, and that we need to respect and protect those special places.”
Safety Harbor, Florida
A 1970 graduate of Ringling School of Art, Sarasota with a full scholarship from the State of Florida, Bill Renc worked in advertising for several years, and in 1977 went into fine art. His drawings, paintings and intaglio prints won numerous awards at juried art festivals from Florida to the Midwest during a twenty-year period from 1977-1997. In 1993 he co-authored and co-illustrated the book At Water’s Edge: The Birds of Florida, which illustrates Florida birds in their natural environment. In spring 2012 he published a new book Painting the Town - and the Beaches, a fully-illustrated book about Dunedin and the central Gulf Coast environment.
As owner of The Painted Fish Gallery in Dunedin with his wife Linda, Bill has concentrated on painting the Florida landscape in oil and watercolor. Having spent much of his childhood in Pompano Beach immersed in the coastal landscape, fishing and drawing, he still loves marine life and it creeps into his artwork quite often. Paintings of fish lurking in unexpected scenarios such as front yards, doorways and gardens have delighted collectors of his work. Bill undertakes both public and private art commissions, and has created original paintings for such events as the City of Dunedin’s Centennial, the Clearwater Folk Arts Festival, the annual Abilities of Florida Wine Tasting & Auction, and most recently the Spring Wine Tasting & Dinner for ServiceSource Foundation in Washington DC.
Bill Renc is a 1970 graduate of Ringling School of Art with a full scholarship from the State of Florida. Bill currently concentrates on painting in oils and watercolors. For many years he exhibited paintings, drawings and intaglio prints, winning awards a major art festivals. Having worked in landscape, portraiture and figure studies, Bill’s subjects now focus mainly on the Florida environment, wetlands, shorelines, and saltwater marine life of all kinds.
Bill and his wife Linda own and operate The Painted Fish Gallery in the heart of historic downtown Dunedin. The 1700 square-foot gallery which they founded in 1995 features their own original collection of fine art and prints.
Joyce Ely Walker
Joyce Ely Walker lives and works in Palmetto, Florida. She received her B.S. degree in Art Education from Florida State University and did graduate work at the University of South Florida, Rhode Island School of Design and the Maryland Institute College of Art. She taught at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she recently completed a 35-year teaching career.
Fellowships and residencies have provided a wide variety of landscape material for her plein air work. Among her fellowship awards are the Surdna Art Teachers Fellowship and grant, the Marie Walsh Sharp Foundation Fellowship,Colorado Springs, Colorado Jentel Foundation Residency, Banner,Wyoming, Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences residency,Dillard, Georgia, Alfred Summer Place, Alfred, New York, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts residency, Sweet Briar, Virginia, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont, Brush Creek Ranch Arts Foundation residency, Saratoga, Wyoming, and the Julia and David White Artist Colony Fellowship in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica.
Her work is included in numerous public and private collections, including the permanent collection of the Tampa Museum of Art, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, the Poynter Institute of Media Studies, and Merrill Lynch Corporation.
Sandra Williams paints nature with the passion and dedication of one whose life has always been focused on the incredible order and beauty of this planet and the creatures on it. Her goal is to create an emotional relationship between her subject and the viewer.
Born in south Texas, Sandra grew up always near the water where her interest in the marine environment led to a BA at the University of Houston and an early career in Marine Biology. She moved to Florida in 1977, where she paints the birds, fish, animals, as well as the plants and landscapes of the tropical environment.
With a keen eye for detail, her commitment to authenticity has led her to research and document her subjects. She is an accomplished nature photographer. Having traveled extensively and eager for personal contact with her subjects, she only paints subjects that she has personally interacted with and understands them or it. She has spent hours underwater with manatees, tracked water birds through thick mangroves, and explored coral reefs off the Florida Keys and in the Caribbean. In many hiking and camping trips to Wyoming she has studied bears, moose, elk, bison, wolves, and other mammals and birds. She visited Puffin colonies by Zodiak off the Alaska Coast, and explored rainforests in the Northwest, Brazil, and Jamaica. She has monitored borrowing owl colonies and nesting sites of skimmers, terns, ospreys, eagles, and other threatened species. For many years she has worked in rescue and rehab with birds and animals and built butterfly gardens.
Sandra works mostly in acrylics on canvas and board. Her miniatures go from 1 ½ inches square up to 5 x 7. She is also a recognized designer and creator of fine jewelry using natural components such as fossils, gemstones, shells, natural crystals, and gemstones she has personally faceted.
For several years she has worked to develop a tonal technique in her paintings, whereby she uses a minimum of colors and creates a misty, dramatic fog and light effects. These paintings are very time intensive as they often involve 25 to 40 or more washes and repainting numerous times to get just the right balance of values and contracts.
As the recipient of many awards including environmental art and stamp collections, Sandra has consistently guided her art to aid conservational and environmental projects.
Debra Thomas-Weible is a native Hoosier and transplant to Florida these past 33 years. She earned her bachelor's degree from Duke University and her medical degree with a residency in Ophthalmology from Emory University. For 30 years, Dr. Weible practiced Ophthalmology in Clearwater, Florida and retired in 2012.
A lifelong interest in drawing led Debra to watercolor classes in Dunedin Fine Art Center. Her relationship with DFAC has continued and she has served on the Board for 6 years and is also on the faculty. She is also a member and past trustee of PAVA ( Professional Association of Visual Artists) and belongs to the Florida Watercolor Society with two acceptances to their annual show and multiple acceptances to their online show. She also has membership in Suncoast Watercolor Society and the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society.
Debra's love is painting animals; wildlife and domestic livestock and pets, but always enjoys branching out into figures, landscapes and still life. " I attempt to give my animals some personality and love to focus on their beautiful eyes. Telling a bit of a story, with a little humor becomes my primary goal. Seeing people smile at my paintings is the greatest compliment."
Debra has shown her work locally and statewide at:
Leepa-Rattner, PAVA Shows: Cool Art and 2Cool Art, Stirling Art Center, Ruth Eckerd, Clearwater Library, FWS (2008 and 2011), Dunedin Fine Art Center, FWS online shows 2010-2015, Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, Sarasota, FL.
2nd place 2005 and 2006 Concorso Rapido
Holbein Award of Excellence, Loew-Cornell Award FWS 2011
1st Place 2006 National League of American Pen Women
2nd place PAVA member show 2013
Merit award "Altogether Now" DFAC 2014.
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