BY PAULA MAUD DAYTON
It started out as a desire to learn something new. I found a painting class and did my first acrylic painting of a sandhill crane — except it looked more like an emu. Oh, well. I knew that none of my skills was ever learned immediately or without practice and also encouragement.
In addition to a class to give me practice, I found the Deltona Art Club to give me encouragement, guidance, lots of tips and tricks, and friends who also enjoyed art. It was a wonderful discovery. Today, I am the president and so proud to have the art of many of our members displayed at the Enterprise Museum during October and November.
The Deltona Art Club was started in 1968. The group has varied in size and mix of skills and experience, but the goals have not changed. It is a welcoming and encouraging group that draws people from Deltona, DeLand, DeBary and Orange City.
However, some members are not so close. One longtime member continues to participate even though he now lives in Cocoa. In addition, the group draws artists who visit the area during the winter months from places like Wisconsin and Illinois and even a more distant Reykjavik, Iceland.
Using a range of skills and methods, the artists enjoy lots of mediums, including acrylic, watercolor and oil paints, pencils, pens, inks, alcohol ink and other interesting substances. The surfaces may be canvas, boards, paper, glass, ceiling fan vanes and even walls.
Some artists enjoy the light through stained glass, and others enjoy the complexity of beads and wires. They may use modeling paste and painting knives, in addition to brushes and fingers.
Words like dabbing, scrubbing, perspective, abstract, light, mix, shade, hue tone, contrast and composition are part of the regular vocabulary. For a club of creative folks, it is all just fun, and we laugh about our collections of art materials.
To highlight just a few of our artists, take Barbara Gizzi, who wanted to learn if she could paint by experimenting on gesso-covered large garage-sale canvas, using cheap brushes and leftover colors of latex house paint. Her skills and enthusiasm grew to using acrylic paints to create a large variety of painting, including a preference for using only a palette of white and gray paints on a black background to paint animal and family portraits.
Tina Roberts-Smith found a tutorial on alcohol inks, and she began exploring.
“I love the vibrancy and unpredictability of the inks,” she said. Tina did a demonstration at a spring meeting, and our members just soaked it in. Tina says she is exploring more and more applications she can share with the club in the future.
Our artist Joy Brand received a book on drawing from her husband as a way to deal with a sedentary illness. She expanded into graphite and then acrylic painting. She enjoys painting whimsical frogs and turtles, as well as graceful mermaids and serene landscapes.
Lise Crossman drives a school bus following a routine route, but her art is varied and fun, ranging from collages to acrylic painting and also colorful jewelry.
Susan Furrie is a lifelong artist who always has a sketchbook with her. It has allowed her to document her life and extensive travels in her books. She is outside almost every day, sketching and painting the Florida environment she loves.
Susan recently said, “Being an artist can be a lonely pursuit, but being a member of the club gives me a place of encouragement and has provided opportunities to share and display my art.”
She is skilled in many mediums and methods, and she openly shares her knowledge with our other members.
The club meetings always contain one common element — sharing! Our artists may share their latest project or a good tutorial or class they experienced, a technique they tried or a good art show or museum they visited. Everyone looks forward to the sharing.
Several times a year, we may enjoy an outing to a nearby museum or to meet outside in one of our wonderful parks to sketch or paint. Art challenges in some months also ask our artists to use their current skills or try something different to help grow skills. It is all for fun.
Stop in at the Enterprise Museum during regular hours 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday-Saturday to see the show through Nov. 26, or attend the show reception 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, to meet some of our artists.
The Deltona Art Club meets the second Wednesday of the month from September through May. The meetings are at 9:30 a.m. at the Deltona Regional Library. You can find the club on Facebook, and there we hope you will “like” us.