Palm Aire artists showcase their talents in Sarasota | Eastern County

For Ellise Elmore, the Palm Aire Art Association’s 39th Annual Art Show brought something vital to its members.


Elmore, the association’s co-chair and a former interior designer who has been painting for 18 years, said the event, held this year from Feb. 14-20 at the country club, showcases members and, above all, , their improvement as artists.

Take Cheryl Zaccagnino, for example. Zaccagnino had exceptional drawing ability when she decided to venture into another medium by taking co-chair Joy Pendergast’s watercolor course. Her results as a painter initially did not rival her talent as a draughtsman, but after several attempts, she created works of art which she presented at the show.

June Paton stands next to her favorite photo, which depicts a bird of paradise.

Zaccagnino had been working on a “study of value”, a painting with a single pigment mixed with water to create different shades. Her talent as a designer served her well because she had no trouble establishing the main lines of her work. But then she struggled with the right consistency of water and pigment.

Determined to improve, she practiced many times and it didn’t take long before her practice made a difference. “At first it’s a bit frustrating,” she said. “I think at the end of the day it will be a lot more fun.”

Elmore said the collaboration between budding talents like Zaccagnino and those with experience makes the art show important to association members.

“As an artist, you can show off what you’ve been working on and creating, and some artists are just getting started,” Elmore said. “It’s something they had wanted to do but never had the time. Once they start, it leads to validation. It just inspires them to keep going.

Marcia Knight shows off the skills she practiced in retirement.

At the art exhibition, there are no set requirements for skill, medium, style, or subject matter. The only rule is that artists must be members of the Art Association of Palm Aire or employees of the Palm Aire Country Club.

A variety of pieces line the walls of the makeshift art gallery that has been installed in the lobby of the Palm Aire Country Club. Visitors will find Florida landscape paintings, wood carvings, a motorcycle fender painted with a dragon and a fish design.

“I don’t think we’ve ever turned down a play,” Elmore said.

Marcia Knight had loved painting since fourth grade, but with a career in marketing and later interior design, she never found the opportunity to explore her passion until retirement. She is currently taking art classes at the State College of Florida and her husband, Bruce Knight, even built a studio for her. “It’s fun to have a studio that I can just mess around and stay in,” she said.

Visitors to the show will find its nature scenes vibrant, including “A Quiet Place,” which features a single
snowy egret with its distinct white feathers on the green of a swamp.

June Paton is the organizer of the art exhibition, but unlike her sister Joy Pendergast, she is not a professional
artist. A former legal secretary, travel manager and corporate conference organizer, she said her talent lies in making things work.

“She’s a pretty talented girl,” Paton said of her sister. “Too much for me to compete with. I gave up because she
was too fast and made it look too easy.

Photography is an area where June feels she can contribute. “I just posted something so I could go to the reception,” she said cheekily. “You can’t attend the reception if you don’t have work on display. I like doing it. I can’t wait to show them off. »

Pat Hanly stood next to a colorful array of beaded jewelry, adorned with a necklace she made herself based on Shelley Nybakke’s ‘Until I Can Breathe Again’ design, an array of strands that twist and coil to intertwine with each other. “My husband says ‘fun for the faint of heart,'” Hanly said, but she wants viewers to know the hours and expense involved in creating her articles.

Jeri Susi stands next to her “little future baker”, which she created from an old photograph.

Hanly begins a piece by tracing the design onto grid paper, then threads Fireline fishing line through the crystals, intertwining different strands as we weave the threads together. When her eyes get tired due to the extremely microscopic scale of the work, she uses 400% magnifying glasses.

All the crystals are from Swarovski, which means the items are expensive to produce, and she said she doesn’t sell as many of them in Palm Aire as she did at the yacht clubs she was previously a member of. But she loves the show.

“People see another side of you,” she said. “It’s been fun trying to organize the display.”

Geraldine Susi has long been passionate about the idea of ​​offering something unique. She noted that her past projects have included a papier-mâché zebra and giraffe and a quilted elephant.

A former teacher and reading specialist in Fairfax, Va., Susi has written and illustrated her own children’s historical fiction books to help students better understand their past, with titles such as “For My People: the Jennie Dean Story” and “Looking Through Great- Grandma’s Eyes”.

Each of his pieces exhibited this year offers a different character. One is the “Forever Bonsai Tree” made of fine, tightly interwoven threads, one is a watercolor titled “Future Baker”, which depicts a baby playing with a rolling pin, and another is a circle of nature vegetables highly detailed still life that she titles “A Study of Color, Shape, and Shade.”

Elmore said proceeds from the show will go to the Ruth Levin Scholarship. Named after the club’s founding member, it is presented annually to a Ringling College of Art and Design student, selected by the college. This year’s winner was Paige Drewett, who primarily focuses on creating realistic scenes and is considering a career in brand design.

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