These Local Artists And Their Masterpieces Make Our Community A Haven For Art Lovers

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If these 10 local artists aren’t on your radar, they should be. From stunning glass work to interpretative photography to vibrant oil paintings, their work inspires creativity and makes our community a haven for art lovers.

by Amy Lynne Hayes Nov 2015 Also on Digital Edition

Norman Sunshine

It was the women of Palm Beach who caught his eye. But not in the manner one would assume. Norman Sunshine was drawn to the mature women in the area, noticing their radiance with an artist’s eye. “They seem to revitalize at this age,” he says, undoubtedly noticing in them the same sense of self-care as the women in his native Los Angeles. He took photos of the women, and turned them into digital works of art—almost watercolor-esque in their final rendering. Highly proficient and prolific in many mediums, Sunshine has bridged the gap between traditional fine artist and creator in this technology-driven era.

 

What is your favorite medium?

Digital—it’s a valid tool in the artist’s box today.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just beginning to explore the arts, what would it be?

Do 40 of them. Have a big body of work, and then show it. Then people can’t deny you’re serious.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Here’s four: composition, color, draftsmanship and emotion.


Phil Capen

I always enjoyed drawing as a kid,” Phil Capen says. “[I] took a class in high school but never thought of it as a possible profession.” And then, he sold his first watercolor painting. Capen studied under Charles Hawe, a retired commercial artist who was also living in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, where Capen had taken a position as a science teacher. “He taught me the basics of composition, value and color, though most of the classwork was pencil and charcoal drawing,” Capen explains. His vivid coastal scenes reflect the landscapes of both Florida and the Bahama Out Islands.

 

What is your favorite medium?

I like watercolor a little more than oil, but it is too hard on the back to do large pieces. In the late ’90s I started to work in oil and have continued to do that to the present.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

A piece is finished in my eyes when I get tired of it and start thinking of a new and different subject.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Balanced, asymmetric composition.


Geoffrey Smith

Stuart residents will be familiar with his work. The iconic 18-foot Stuart Sailfish that graces the fountain feature downtown was created by his hands. “My sculptures raise awareness for the animals and the realization of how fragile our environment is,” Geoffrey Smith says. “This motivates people to protect it.” Wildlife plays a central theme for the artist, a San Francisco native who moved to Florida after completing an art degree in Montana. Today, his pieces are commissioned and displayed in permanent collections in multiple states throughout the country.

 

What is your favorite medium?

Drawings, clay sculptures, bronze, stainless steel and glass are all mediums with special properties. Clay and bronze are century-old mediums that give me the ability to create large-scale monuments such as the Stuart Sailfish.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

The process of sketching, creating the study, and maquettes are equally as important as the finished piece of art, and must be completed before starting to work on the final design. The sculpture is finished when I have given it my all and I don’t feel it can be improved upon.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Wildlife. Contemporary. Representational.


Georgia Abood

One could say it’s in her blood. Her mother was an artist, and she followed the same path. “I discovered a natural passion for art at a very early age,” Georgia Abood explains, referring to a creative childhood spent in Mill Valley, California. She moved to Stuart 35 years ago and opened Alizarin Crimson Art Studio, where she teaches art students of all levels. Abood paints exclusively in oils, using a variety of techniques to create her compositions. Her skills earned her one of six spots in the upcoming show “Masters and Mentors,” hosted by the Courthouse Cultural Gallery Committee from Dec. 10 through Feb. 6.

 

What is the biggest challenge artists face today?

Our greatest challenge today is keeping the public informed on the value of fine art. In our world of technology we must remind people that a painting made by hand is more valuable than something a computer whips out.

If you could invite one artist to dinner, who would it be?

Claude Monet, for sure. We would talk color, creating movement in painting, light.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

I can’t describe my “style”—I will leave that to the art critics!


Grant Williams

All it took was one trip to Florida in November to plant the seed. Grant Williams traded the cold of his native Ohio for the warm winters of South Florida, bringing with him a passion for art that started at a young age. “My second grade teacher showed my class the picture I drew of The Little Engine That Could,” he says, recalling the first moment he discovered his interest in art. It blossomed into a career of both creating and teaching art to the next generations. Acrylic paint and mixed media are his preferred mediums today; his vibrant aquatic and coastal scenes now hang at Art on Park in Lake Park and Village Art Studios in Tequesta.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just beginning to explore the arts, what would it be?

Stick with what you like to do and don’t be discouraged by those who think you should have other goals.

If you could invite one artist to dinner, who would it be?

Norman Rockwell. He was an ordinary person who was able to express and communicate feelings in people without words.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Realistic. Impressionistic. Painting.


Manon Sander

Manon Sander is no stranger to vibrant art scenes. Having grown up in Berlin, then painting murals in Chicago and studying oil painting in San Francisco, it’s safe to say she’s been well exposed to towns that value creatives. Sander has called North Palm Beach home since 2010. “My first encounter with the arts in Florida was the Lighthouse ArtCenter in Tequesta,” the artist remembers. “Through them I was able to find fun events, classes, workshops, opportunities for artists, and eventually an incredible network connecting me with artists from all over Florida.”

 

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just beginning to explore the arts, what would it be?

I couldn’t sum it up better than one of my favorite quotes by Pablo Picasso: “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

If you could invite one artist to dinner, who would it be?

This is a tough one since my list of artists I admire is quite long. But the one whose work will always stop me in my tracks is John Singer Sargent. His skill level is unbelievable; a true master.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Vibrant. Impressionistic. Representational


Lisa vom Orde

I know what it wants and what I want. We work together so well,” she says of her glasswork. Lisa vom Orde is a master at her craft, one that isn’t as widely represented in the field of fine art. As a professional glass artist, the Port St. Lucie resident and owner of Backstreet Gallery in Jensen Beach, is known for her functional, ornamental pieces. She feels a deep connection to her chosen medium, which is reflected in the final product. Orde says the final product is finished when she feels that “wow factor.”

 

What’s your first memory of doing something creative?

I have always liked to work with my hands. I still have pottery and loom weaving work I made at camp.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just beginning to explore the arts, what would it be?

Work in faith, not fear of failure in anyone’s eyes, including your own. Whatever you do it’s OK. If you love it enough and stay curious you will never fail yourself.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Organic. Reaction. Light.


Norman Berman

It’s safe to call him a veteran in the field. With more than 55 years of experience as a working artist, Norman Berman has truthfully been creating for the majority of his life. “I started making pictures when I was about 4 or 5, but began to ‘create art’ when I was a student at Abraham Lincoln High School [in Brooklyn],” he says. He followed his passion throughout his education and career as an artist and teacher, settling in South Florida in 2003.

 

What is your favorite medium?

That goes back to my high school days. I had a wonderful teacher of watercolor, Philip Frankle, and he taught us watercolor techniques. I liked and still like the fluidity and spontaneity of the medium.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone just beginning to explore the arts, what would it be?

When you find your own style, study it, find the creative basis for it, stay with it and explore it.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

How about two? My style can be called “Abstract imagist.


Anita Prentice

I babysat for an artist that taught at the Art Institute in Chicago. All that great art in their house ...” Anita Prentice says, remembering when she first discovered her love for art. “My eyes were opened to all the possibilities. From there [I had] a constant yearning to create.” And so she did. Prentice works in mosaics and stained glass, using tiny pieces of glass to create her compositions, much like a painter uses tiny brushstrokes. Her varied use of materials reflects the richness of her own experience. The Michigan-born artist spent 10 years traveling the world before establishing herself in the Casa Caprona, a historic building built in 1926 in Fort Pierce.

 

How do you think South Florida embraces the arts?

The embrace and care of South Florida for artists gets stronger every day. More people know how important a creative energy is.

If you could invite one artist to dinner, who would it be?

That’s a tough question because a group with great food and fine wine could lead to amazing conversations. If one though, Frida Kahlo ... Mexican food, stories and singing.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Color. Texture. Movement.


Cheryl Maeder

“I was living in Switzerland at the time,” Cheryl Maeder recalls. “A friend of mine gave me his Nikon Camera and that was it for me.” A New Jersey native, Maeder set up her studio in West Palm Beach eight years ago, following a 15-year stint in San Francisco. Photography and filmmaking became her favorite form of creative expression. “I want to convey to the viewer the world we see is part of a larger reality and what appears to be clear and in focus is only our perception,” Maeder explains. Her Dreamscape Series, inspired by her travels to the Mediterranean coastal towns of Spain, explores this concept as part abstractionist and part color field painter.

 

What do you think is the biggest challenge artists face today?

The biggest challenge for an artist is the challenge of creating new work, which means constantly working on areas in myself and my own growth.

If you could invite one artist to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would invite Diane Arbus. She was a visionary in the world of photography.

Describe your artistic style in three words.

Abstractionist. Impressionist. Color field painter.