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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Melrose Florida Adventure, Finding Art

Anastasia State Park
St Augustine Beach, Florida
12x16 inches
oil on Birch panel
shipping 20.00

Friday I took a day trip with my mother and sister and of course, Studio Dog, my French Bulldog, also named Henry. Studio Dog is his stage name, since he is quite famous, at least in his own mind. :>)

We decided to go east, exploring the little towns of Windsor, Earlton, and Melrose. They are all quite small and Melrose is the most interesting and the largest of the three. It is a sort of lakeside bedroom community for Gainesville and quite artsy in populous and style. Well know architect/author Ron Haase lives there along with several local and regional artists. There is a lovely little local gallery on State Road 26 called the Melrose Bay Gallery, and another called Bellamy Road. They seem to be connected in that they often have themed shows together. I am to have a one woman guest show there in 2010, featuring my Farms and Ranches Series.

There is a fair amount of Victorian architecture there with a couple of nice parks and the lovely lake Santa Fe dotted with old cypress trees and boat houses on stilts. It is a scruffy old town full of character, with some newer upscale homes carefully landscaped. There is a quaint little strip shopping center with a coffee house, some gift shops, bait and tackle shops and two or three restaurants, around town from down home, to pizza, to the elegant and interesting Blue Water Bay Restaurant HERE

By elegant, I don't mean the facility, which is a typical looking seafood restaurant. What I mean by elegant, is the attention to detail, with white linen cloths, real linen napkins, fresh flowers at each table, outstanding bar and restaurant service, and delicious and interesting cuisine. We had shrimp and Grouper with sides of Mango cole slaw and red beans and rice, both absolutely delicious. the fish and shrimp were cooked to perfection, just done. The plate presentation was nice, the dessert key Lime Pie was excellent and tart with real whipped cream, and the coffee excellent.
They have a full bar , separate from the main dining room, which is a nice idea. The bar is dark and cozy, with booths for dining as well. I was also quite impressed with the wait staff who were very knowledgeable about local activities, and the restaurant history. Our waitress was attentive without being annoying and very solicitous to my elderly Mother. I appreciated that so much.

The walls were decorated with art from local artists and that made me happy that they support the artists in their community. There were colorful and interesting stained glass fish in the windows to brighten the restaurant with splashes of color. It was an outstanding dining experience.

Finding Art Outside of the Formal Gallery Scene

Commercial galleries are only one of the ways to find good quality original art. Small local Cooperative galleries display a variety of art from inexpensive amateur paintings to well know regional artists work. Restaurants and cafes often display emerging artists paintings as well as business offices, libraries, and bookshops. All of these alternative spaces have interesting shows and themes.

These days more and more professional artists are using their web sites as Internet galleries to show and sell artwork directly to patrons. In fact, my web site and studio sales far outweigh my traditional brick and mortar gallery sales now. I always offer full satisfaction and shipping all over the USA. Most artists do these days. You can purchase work instantly from your favorite artist no matter where you live. I have an agent who handles all of my International sales as well. Art is shipped around the world ever day now. There are so many more opportunities to buy original art than there ever were in the past.

See and purchase my paintings HERE with a full money back guarantee.

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