Gallery Florida

Shells


I have made “creating awareness” about the beauty of Florida’s landscape my mission. Through learning to see and to study nature by drawing and painting, we learn to love it. We humans don’t own anything really. We borrow. We can use, we can enjoy and we can be responsible for it for a period of time. When I paint outdoors, I know that I am one with the trees, the birds and the alligators. There is no separation. That is exactly what makes me feel rich. Once you have experienced this, you will think twice before you let the invasive species ruin your land and take it away. Wisdom is a precious gift.

Shells

Shells

Walking the Manasota Key Beach I found great shells and sharks teeth. Some big, some small. Sometimes I gave my finds away, sometimes I brought them home. It is not about having shells, it is about finding shells.

5"x5" oil painting on gator board, Florida, Manasota Key.

5″x5″ oil painting on gator board, Florida, Manasota Key.

Limited Palette

I decided to start using a very limited palette in making oil paintings of these shells.

School

It brings back memories of the very first painting class when I was eighteen years old, in which we were only allowed to use Ocre, and White. (may be Raw Umber too). Somehow that pleased me, because as soon as I get the whole arrange of possibilities I feel there is too much choice available. I added Alizaron Crimson and Ultramarine to my palette, but that is it. No more.

Just 4 colors

I want this limited palette because it suits Manasota Key as well. When I came here first I could not see any colors standing out. Shades of Grey for the beaches and Sabal palms at Manasota Key was the best description. (That was before the ‘book’)

Stories

I don’t want to show off my techniques as an oil painter, paintings are great masterworks in itself, true, but I want to tell a story. I love stories. I want to make book about the stories of Manasota Key.

Calusa Indians

I think a lot about Calusa Indians and how they lived. They looked for shells, just like we do. Somehow they knew how to drill a hole in them and make rope. They were wearing pearls and shells as jewelry. Pearls! Good heavens, think about it!

Long ago but not so far away.

A time span of about 8000 years makes me feel humble and powerful at the same time. They were people just like us and struggled with ecology and how to protect themselves from rising seawater during storms.

5"x5" oil painting on gator board, Florida, Manasota Key.

5″x5″ oil painting on gator board, Florida, Manasota Key.

Living on Manasota Key reminds me of my homeland with better weather. It is flat and closed in by water. The Dutch created most of their own landscape. One of the seven wonders of the modern world are the polders and dikes of the Netherlands. The Dutch have for Centuries gained land from the sea instead of going to war. We don’t like confrontation. To this day they remain universally acclaimed for their marine engineering. Because of this half of the country is below sea-level as a nation we are sensitive to landscapes in any form. The Dutch painters from the Golden Age became famous by painting their environment. Their legacy is part of the greatest masters in European Art. That is where I come from. It is my cultural inheritance. When I go out in the woods the spirits of my ancestors follow me and show up in the wind ruffling through the palm leaves. They hold my hand and from the mysteries of the earth and sky, the paintings are being born.

The art of landscape painting is to contain the majesty of the ever changing earth upon a never changing piece of board, linen or canvas. I believe is is a noble occupation, a serious occupation and a difficult occupation. Making art is not a trivial pursuit. Art creates cultural cohesion. Without art society cannot share its symbols. I dare to say that the non-verbal communication is stronger than the words we hear and speak every day. It is felt in architecture and in music. Landscape painting uses the order of architecture and the silence between the notes of music. This form of Art makes us mindful of the beauty around us waiting to be recognized. The visual arts have always functioned as an instrument of power.

The theme of my show is Be Rich. I don’t refer to rich as monetary wealth since a stack op paper gathering dust in a dark place is not inspiring to me. We all need financial security, but in the abstract, finances in itself are boring. What is interesting to me is the richness nature brings, a late glow of the sun on a dead leaf: the moving of a cloud through a stark blue sky. I believe I am not alone in my love for shapes, forms, colors and textures of this earth we call home.

The origin of the title “be Rich”  is found in the road called Bee Ridge, when you drive up North on I-75 to Sarasota.  It refers to Bee Ridge road where at its eastern end is an old landfill, now covered with grass. Behind the landfill is a park called Rothenbach. That is where I found my inspiration for the paintings around you. One day when I went to a plain air painting class of Kevin Costello, I discovered it. In the car I was repeating the name Bee Ridge over and over again as to not forget where to take the exit. Once I saw where we ended up I changed the mantra fast in “Be Rich” since the most enriching authentic Florida landscape unfolded for my eyes. Five dear looked at me with their trusting eyes. Spanish moss was hanging from old Oaks entangled with vines like garlands at a party.

I came to this area through the Manasota Beach Club, an old Beach Resort in Englewood. They made me Artist in Residence and I accepted the offer because all I wanted to do is to escape the hectic life in Miami and be quietly surrounded by nature. The idea was to bring color into the cottages through paintings. The soul of the landscape did not reach me, at first. I could not see any color in the grey-ness of dead palm fronds or the barks of the trees. It was totally disappointing and a huge challenge to come up with something colorful. I simply started copying the world as accurate as I could, using a stack of magazines about how to paint. Over time studying the vistas of this part of Florida, I opened myself up to the mysteries as they were unfolding before my eyes.

Learning to paint enriched my world. Be Rich/Bee Ridge is the result of years observing Floridian landscape. But there is no value in the work if it not shared with others. It would be like giving a kiss and nobody to receive it. It disappears in mid air. Who would want that? The result of years observing the Florida landscape with love therefore is  in this group of paintings and my love to all of you that share this feeling.

Jacobina Trump. This large oil painting is inspired by the book "A land remembered" by Patrick D. Smith. Miccosukee Indians of South Florida

The idea of land ownership is a weird phenomenon. There was a time, not too long ago, 

when few people lived in Florida. The land belonged to the cows, the wild animals and the plants. Indians moved with the flow of nature, expanding their territory where they felt they should. I don’t know the history of who started buying and selling land because at some point in time, it was nobody’s land. Patrick Smith paints a wonderful picture of this in “A Land Remembered”

Jacobina Trump. This large oil painting is inspired by the book "A land remembered" by Patrick D. Smith. Miccosukee Indians of South Florida

The idea of land ownership is a weird phenomenon. There was a time, not too long ago, 

when few people lived in Florida. The land belonged to the cows, the wild animals and the plants. Indians moved with the flow of nature, expanding their territory where they felt they should. I don’t know the history of who started buying and selling land because at some point in time, it was nobody’s land. Patrick Smith paints a wonderful picture of this in “A Land Remembered”

I think about that when I see the deserted lots on my local streets covered with potato vines, Brazilian Pepper and other invasive species. From a distance you can still see that

the native trees are suffering, with many dying off. When a Sabal Palm looses its sparkle you know something unusual is happening. To own a vacant lot and to not care at all about this decay is in my eyes a sign of disconnection from nature. Being out of touch with nature is creating lack as being the opposite of abundance. I am not even talking about vast areas of land that are developed into strip malls and paved with asphalt.