Art races
February 14, 2018


The energy in the room was palpable in the audience, but the four artists were quiet and honed in on the canvas before them.

The Fort Myers Beach Art Association held its second annual Paint-Around Wednesday, pairing up four talented artists to make four paintings - rotating canvases every 15 minutes. By the end of the hour and a half time slot, every artist had left their mark on each painting.

This year's award-winning artists are Tracy Owen-Cullimore, Lisa Grinter, Neil Walling and Michele Barron Buelow. Each came prepared with their canvas and a photo or print to work off of: Cullimore started a portrait of a man smoking a cigar, titled "Happy Hour;" Grinter began "Shrimp Boats;" Walling's painting began as an abstract sunset titled "Green Flash;" and Buelow chose a landscape of "Lover's Key." This year, every artist painted with oil. Each artist has his or her own style, so the challenge was to mesh four styles to create four masterpieces.

Buelow said she was nervous at first, but once she got into her groove, she thought it went well. Instead of molding the painting before her to fit her style, she assessed the painting before her and tried to mold her own style to adapt to the the styles that touched the canvas before her.

"I got to use my own colors, but I tried to paint like they did," she said. "Tracey's was light. Neil had lots of color. I tried to adapt."

Buelow, who is normally a pastel artist, said she practiced her work with oils before the event. Each artist had their own unique challenges during the event.

While the artists toiled over their paintings, the attendees gathered to watch them work.

"It's amazing to the evolution of the paintings," said Helene Savicki of Cape Cod. "The most interesting thing to me was, when the artist got their painting back, they worked hard to bring the painting back to what they were trying to do originally."

Savicki and Becky Neidetcher of Cumberland, Mass., attended the event while spending the month with their friend and association member, Millie Pereira.

Kathleen Taylor could sympathize with the artists; while this year she was a guest, last year she was one of the four in the Paint-Around.

"You don't know there's anybody in the room," she said of her experience. "Each time it rotates, it feels like you're doing a whole new painting."

The event was a fundraiser for the association's student scholarships for Cypress Lake High School's artists. Besides a silent auction of items and raffle prizes, the four paintings went through their own silent auction after being framed at the end of the night. The event, which was sold out at 119 tickets, raised $2,800 for the scholarship fund.


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