Walking into the studio of artist Peter Sargent, guests see a wall filled with personality. Detailed graphite drawings of giraffes, zebras, dogs and children stare out from behind framed glass. Each drawing consists of clean shades of black and grey composed on white paper. Each subject is so true to life, that you could almost feel the texture of the alligator’s skin, or hear the giraffe chewing the plants in its mouth.
Sargent sits at a table drawing a portrait of a dog, using a photograph as reference. Looking between the drawing and the photograph, the dog seems to have much more character and personality in the pencil drawing.
“The drawings have more life to them than the photographs,” Sargent says. “You get such expression in the eyes. I’m working very hard to bring out the personality.”
The drawings are incredibly detailed and expressive, with each subject caught in a moment in time.
“My favorite medium is pencil; I like the feel of pencil,” Sargent says. “With ink it is black or white. With pencil you have shades of grey.”
Sargent is no stranger to detailed drawing techniques. He had an architectural practice inLondonfor 20 years and was a specialist in the leisure business. He designed sports centers, theme parks, hotels, extravagant pools and similar projects and had a firm of 60 people working with him.
When he retired and moved toFloridawith his wife Sharon, he began drawing for enjoyment.
“I drew like this before I became an architect, and you don’t forget; it’s like riding a bike,” Sargent says.
When Sargent began drawing for enjoyment, he said he did not think of selling anything. His wife urged him to consider commissioning and selling his work. He began drawing houses and found that many realtors liked to commission him to draw houses they had just sold to give to the new owners as gifts.
Houses led to pets and children and now Sargent does a mix of commission work and also creates his own drawings to sell on his Web site and in his studio at the Center for the Arts Artist Studios at the Promenade.
“I love the dogs and the children, they are all so different,” Sargent says. “You are not drawing the same thing all the time.”
Sargent also works in colored pencil and, in complete contrast, he carves wood. In his studio at the Promenade his abstract, natural, wood carvings are displayed in the window and his drawing line the walls.
“As an architect you draw to express yourself, but you are also working in 3D,” Sargent says. “Wood is a wonderful material to carve in, it is softer and easier to control than stone.”
The artist says when looking for a piece of wood to create a sculpture from, he looks for a nice grain and a nice color.
As he sits in his studio, the sound from the outdoor waterfalls drifts in, creating a calm environment. He has been working in his studio at The Promenade for 18 months.
“I really enjoy being here, it is a terrific environment and a quiet place to work,” Sargent says. “You don’t mind being interrupted because people are coming in to buy your work.”
He says that a lot of his profit comes from commission work, but he enjoys creating his own pieces.
“As an artist you always have to decide if you want to do things to sell them or to express yourself; you do commercial, or you do what is inside of you,” Sargent says. “It is a much more pleasurable thing to do what is inside of you. I enjoy my art.”
Sargent’s work can be seen at his studio at The Promenade at BonitaBay, space 138 or on his Web site at www.peter-sargent-art.com.
I’m don’t know why I’m always amazed at the ability of children to see and create art. Children live in the same world where art comes from; that Neverland of the human mind where all magical things are created.
I took my daughter to the Tools in Motion exhibition at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs and we walked around looking at all of the fun and whimsical art. This traveling exhibition showcases art created from everyday objects such as tools. There is one huge piece on the wall that consists of many vice grips welded with steel.
When she saw it, my daughter said “Look, fish!” She was correct, the piece, titled “School of Fishes” is by the artist Arman. Born Armand Pierre Fernandez in Nice in 1928, the artist came to be known as Arman due to a misprinting of his name in 1958. Arman is well known in artist circles throughout the world. During his life he created hundreds of modern works in metal, and in paint. His pieces can be found in museums and collections throughout the world.
“School of Fishes” (as part of Tools in Motion) has become an audience favorite. Everyone that walks in, whether they are 2 or 92, comments on these fish that shimmer and shine as they swim across the wall. Arman accomplished that outstanding feat that artists can do; he transformed something simple into a brilliant work of art that strikes a chord with everyone who sees it.
Through my work with the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, I have come to recognize just how strongly the Art Center is committed to bringing art to children. This exhibition isn’t specifically for children, but people are encouraged to bring their children. On Saturdays there are free family activity days from 1 to 3 p.m. During this time, Youth Education Director Jordan Smith gives parents and their children a tour of the exhibition and then creates projects with the children. Each project uses tools to create art.
This is just one of the many ways that local children can be exposed to art. During the week Smith can be found teaching youth classes at the Center for the Arts and also going out into Bonita schools with his Art Goes to School outreach program. With this program he, and volunteers, create art projects that they teach to area school children. On April 16, the Center for the Arts will hold its free Arts Worldwide event at the Promenade, where children and families can come and create art and experience music and dance from many cultures. In May there is a free theater production with the Youth Theater Department under the direction of Craig Price. In June it will be time for summer camps. This year camps will be offered in clay animation, theater, cooking, painting, pottery, movie making, fashion design and more. Camp catalogs are available now at the Center for the Arts.
Many of the youth programs are free. Those that are not free have scholarship dollars available.
Having lived in many communities, I feel very lucky to have a place like the Center for the Arts where I can bring my child to experience art. As she stood in the gallery looking at the piece “Dread Lock Box” by Bradford McDougall, she said “It’s a lady.” The piece does resemble a woman with blond hair. It is a box made of steel with yellow electrical wiring for hair.
My husband asked my daughter, “What is it made of?” To this she replied, “It is made of art.”
Tools in Motion: Works from the Hechinger Collection will be on display at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs through April 30. It is free and open to the public. Family Activity Days take place each Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Information is available at www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling 495-8989.
If You Go What: Bonita Springs National Art Festival When:10am to 5pm March 12-13 Where: Promenade at Bonita Bay Admission: Optional $5 donation Information:495-8989 orwww.artinusa.com/bonita
Barbara Groenteman wouldn’t call herself a tree hugger, but she says that the inspiration for her paintings is mostly drawn from the beauty in Southwest Forida.
“There isn’t a better place in the U.S. where you can go and see so much fantastic wildlife and botanical life that can take your breath away,” Groenteman said. “My art is about catching a moment in time and bringing the beauty indoors in the form of my watercolors.”
Her paintings use a soft color and bright light to capture not only the beauty of the birds, but also their personality. There is an expressiveness in the eyes of her subject matter that seems to be trying to convey a message to the world.
Groenteman lives in Naples where she can be surrounded by the lush tropical beauty and wildlife throughout the year. She is one of 211 artists from throughout the United States and Canada that will show and sell their work this weekend at the Bonita Springs National Art Festival.
The March 12 and 13 festival has seen a rise in local artists. There are 17 artists hailing from Bonita Springs, Naples, Estero and Fort Myers.
“This percentage speaks highly of the artists that live in the Southwest Florida area,” Barry Witt, Festival Director, said. “The best of the best apply for this show and it is tough competition.”
There is a large diversity in the type of work that these artists create. Of these 17 artists, the public will find photography, watercolor, oil and acrylic, mixed media, jewelry and furniture artists.
Bonita Springs Artist Dick Cunningham finds his inspiration throughout the United States. As a photographer, he travels the country in search of natural beauty. Festival goers will notice all parts of the United States represented in his booth. Cunningham’s work is filled with color showing the stark contrast between the red rock valleys of the west, the lush green forests of the east and the snow covered trees of the north.
“I enjoy the natural environment and like to capture the beauty and diversity of our country,” Cunningham said. “I do about 35 shows a year all over the country and also have a gallery in Bonita Springs. The Bonita Springs show ranks as one of the best quality shows in the country and being so close makes it an additional plus.”
A very different artist, Christiane Hampel, creates intrinsic jewelry.
“My inspiration comes from the wide variety of shapes, textures and surfaces that can be found in nature,” Hampel said. “I might be walking through a forest or a meadow and find organic forms of such beauty that drives me to express these impressions in jewelry.”
Hampel was born in 1974 in Hanover Germany and her interest in jewelry began at a young age. With degrees in both goldsmithing and jewelry design, Hampel began showing her work in the United States in 2007. She opened her first studio in 2008 in Naples.
“I’m so happy to be a part of the Bonita Springs National Art Festival as it is one of the highest rated shows in the country,” Hampel said. “I enjoy being featured with other quality artists striving to inspire in the medium of their choice.”
This is the 22 Bonita Springs National Art Festival. The festival is held each January and March at the Promenade at Bonita Bay. The January 2011 festival ranked number 10 in the country for Fine Art Festivals.
The festival will take place from 10am to 5 pm Saturday March 12 and Sunday March 13 at the Promenade at Bonita Bay. There is an optional $5 donation for this show that is entirely run by volunteers. Proceeds from the show stay in Bonita Springs and benefit the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.
Here are comments from a few more artists that will be a part of the festival.
I am a Naples based photographer and the majority of my work is done in the western everglades which is within very close distance to us. I find that in less than an hours drive/hike you can leave the hustle and bustle behind and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that is the Everglades. My goal is to help bring the real beauty of Florida to more people so they will better understand the importance of protecting this fragile ecosystem.
I make my images with a blend of old and new technology. I use an 8×10 inch wooden view camera with large sheets of film. I then scan my film and print digitally, this method allows me to create very large HD images that are almost like being there.
My inspiration comes from nature, I love wood and twigs and branches and there are so many different types of natural materials in this area. I say that I like to recycle Mother Natures cast-offs and make something decorative and functional. I have been making baskets for over 35 years, I started making baskets by taking old baskets apart to see how they were made,and did a lot of experimenting with different materials. I have developed a style of baskets that are unique and not like any others you may have seen before, using lathe turned bases, rims, and lids of different hard woods, then I have drilled, and woven between the rim and base. I finish off the lid with natural local materials and a burl finial for a handle. I also demostrate, work on baskets while at the show.
I find my inspiration in the beauty of the world we live in. I create vibrant and distinct color combinations to capture on canvas beautiful scenery from around the world. However my pieces, filled with scenes both familiar and unfamiliar to my audience, explore the depth and potential of our human condition; hopefully causing my viewers to reflect and question where they are now and where they wish to go.
I am inspired by experimenting with new ideas and techniques every time I began a new painting. My art started as a child that I pursued through high school, college then continued a career with General Motors Design Staff, then accepted a teaching position in the art department at a community college in Michigan. I began doing art festivals along with man shows in the early 1970’s, however, I am now limiting my time to the top festivals such as the “Bonita Springs National Art Festival”.
My work is a clean, clear, modern, color bursting out contemporary way to display landscape photography.
I love what I create and since I do all the work myself it gives me much satisfaction looking at the finished product. My landscape photography is well known in this area and for the folks that have not seen it before I offer crisp, and clear landscape scenes that float on the wall without frames.
I have been coming to the Bonita Springs Art Festival for 7 years, but the
experience never gets old for this Neapolitan. The Bonita Springs Art League is really a beacon. It attracts more of the connoisseurs who have a nice feel for what’s in the artwork. I never tire of talking to people who are intrigued at how my paintings go from concept to concrete form. It’s amazing how much interest there is of the visitors’ desire to unearth the creative process. It’s really an enjoyable experience. Although there will be big ticket items for serious collectors, there will be opportunities to pick up original pieces at affordable prices
It is the often overlooked little unusual aspects of nature that grab me and send me into my creative world of painting.
My hope is that my paintings will inspire the viewer to look closer and enjoy the beauty when they are out in nature. I am inspired to paint these observations so that others may enjoy my vision.Growing up in a rural environment, I was encouraged to be artistic by my oil painting mother and engineer/designer father. Art materials were readily available for my use. My father grew many different types of flowers and this put me on the path of loving art and nature. I began drawing before I could talk.During “season” in Florida, I participate in many art shows around Florida. I also do several shows up north in the summer.Having lived in this area for eleven years now, I have built a following of customers who patronize the Bonita Springs shows. It is always a pleasure to participate in this highly regarded show. I am presenting my latest original at the Bonita Springs show.
What is it about a piece of art that makes it compelling? Is it a study of technique and execution, or is it the simple evocation of emotion? For an example look at the work of Viviana Santamarina. She has taken a common item (paper), and woven it into something truly amazing. It is a sculpture. It is a statement. It is a story. Perhaps it is a bit of the artist herself.
Santamarina knits paper into sculpture, using pencils as her knitting
needles. When you look at a piece up close you see traces of graphite,
which adds a subtle change to the look of the piece. Her figures are all
doing something, whether it be climbing a ladder to look into a mind, rowing a boat of paper, or climbing out of the pages of a book. It is fun to just stare at the pieces and try to figure out what is happening. Find more examples of her work here: http://vivianasantamarina.blogspot.com/
Santamarina will be one of 211 artists participating in the March Bonita
Springs National Art Festival on March 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The festival is to be held at The Promenade at Bonita Bay located at 26821 South Bay Drive.
Some familiar artists will be returning and attendees will see many new faces as well. The January festival ranked number 10 in the United States.
The January and March festivals have always ranked in the top 20 in the
United States out of thousands of art festivals that are held each year.
The event typically draws 20,000 people or more. The Art Fair Source Book, which is one of the main sources for festival rankings, ranked Bonita Springs as Number 10 in the Nation for the January festival. The Bonita Springs National Art Festival is entirely a volunteer effort because this allows the Center for the Arts to keep the cost of the festival extremely low. This allows the Center to use all of the proceeds to fund programming for more than 6,000 at risk youths in the community.
In 2010 the Center for the Arts gave more than $70,000 in scholarships to area youth to participate in dance, painting, photography, clay, theater and more. The amount of scholarships doubled in 2010 due to the state of the economy. The Center for the Arts makes scholarships available to not only low-income families, but also the middle class.
The Center for the Arts offers one of the only free youth theater programs in the area. Students are currently in rehearsals and busy designing sets and costumes for their upcoming play “Not-So-Grimm-Tales” that will take place in May. This is one of many programs that remains free because of proceeds from the festival.
The Bonita Springs National Art Festival benefits the Center for the Arts and is one of the largest fund raisers. Proceeds from the festival help provide scholarships, exhibitions, classes, Live! performances and keep the lights on. There is an optional $5 donation at the door. All of the money raised stays in Bonita Springs and enables the Center for the Arts to offer community programs, low-cost youth and adult art programming and community events.
Since the first primitive human discovered that a rock could be used to crush, chisel and scrape, people have been enamored with tools. We invent and reinvent the wheel finding ways to use and reuse every invention. One popular exhibition challenges artists to think of tools as art. And so with “Tools in Motion” we get a fun and witty traveling exhibition where every day objects are used to create wonderful art.
Can an ordinary hammer become a work of art? What can the imagination do with a box of nails? During the traveling exhibition, Tools in Motion: Works from the Hechinger Collection, local families will explore the concept of tools as art.
The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs in will host this traveling exhibition organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC, featuring 20th-century art that celebrates repetition and motion in common, everyday tools and hardware. Tools in Motion will be on view at the Center for the Arts Campus from March 4 through April 30, 2011.
Each Saturday of the exhibition the Center for the Arts will hold free Family Activity Days for children and adults. Families will be given a quick guided tour of this fun and whimsical exhibition and then will complete art projects that introduce the idea of tools as art. Activities will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays March 5 to April 30.
The exhibition features 50 witty and light-hearted works based on familiar forms— hammers, saws and wrenches—transformed into art of great imaginative power using materials including wood, glass, metal, paper and stone. The artists in the exhibition range from emerging to world renowned, including notable figures such as Arman, Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg and Jacob Lawrence.
Spanning a wide range of styles, the collection and exhibition honor the dignity of everyday tools, where form and function are inextricably linked. The abundance of bright colors and vivid textures are enjoyable for visitors of all ages.
The works for Tools in Motion were selected from a collection originally owned by the late hardware-industry pioneer John Hechinger Sr., whose father started the Hechinger hardware chain in 1911. Hechinger began collecting contemporary art related to tools to display around the company’s headquarters to inspire his employees. Early on, Hechinger discovered that the collection’s distinct focus strikes a rich chord of modern art.
This exhibition was organized from the Hechinger Collection of International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC. International Arts & Artists in Washington, DC, is a non-profit arts service organization dedicated to increasing crosscultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally, through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public.
There is nothing quite like the sound of live string music. No matter how many times you listen to the strings on a recording, it just doesn’t touch the experience of listening to strings live. When listening live, the vibration of the strings sends an energy through the air. It is almost electric. It creates a response in your body that is indescribable until you experience it.
I was a child the first time I went to a live string performance and I was hooked. The emotion of the music pulls and tugs at your body as you sit in your seat. No matter how many times I listen to a recording on a CD, it just doesn’t compare to that live experience.
This coming Tuesday, a cultural jewel in the form of a string quartet will visit Bonita Springs. The Bergonzi Quartet will play at Live! at the Promenade on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. The Bergonzi String Quartet, named for the illustrious violin maker Carlo Bergonzi, celebrates its 11th anniversary as Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Miami. Recognized as one of Florida’s cultural gems, the Quartet has also held the same position with Festival Miami and a visiting quartet at the prestigious Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach. The Quartet regularly tours North America and has begun a series of recordings of the Mendelssohn chamber works for strings. Many will recognize violinist and concert master Glen Basham of the Naples Philharmonic.
Tickets to the Bergonzi Quartet performance are $30 for Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs members and $35 for non-members.
The Bergonzi Quartet is just one of many performances that will come to Live! at the Promenade, the performance series offered by The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs in conjunction with The Promenade at Bonita Bay.
The indoor performance space at The Promenade is equipped with a stage and lighting as well as comfortable chairs and tables. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres accompany each performance.
On Feb. 10 Flute Loops will present “Flute Cocktail.” Audiences will discover all types of flutes from around the world with this group of flutists. They will have bass, alto and soprano flutes, piccolos, penny whistles, recorders and more.
On Feb. 24 the Bonita Bay Singers will present an evening of song. This large choral group performs pop, Broadway, patriotic and other varieties of music.
The Live! series continues throughout the year with dance, music and theater performances of all types. Information and a full brochure of performances is available online at www.artcenterbonita.org, by calling 495-8989 or at the Center for the Arts 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, Fl.
I am not an artist. I haven’t taken an art class since middle school.
But, I love art. I think that art is the most interesting thing that
This year my New Year’s resolution was to take a painting class. I
enrolled in Patty Kane’s beginning watercolor class at the Center for
the Arts of Bonita Springs and am currently in week three.
Watercolor goes against everything my brain says. My brain says, “put
that red circle there.” I set out to do this on wet watercolor paper
and end up with a pink abstract shape running everywhere. My brain
says, “paint a yellow flower with a green leaf.” I do this but the
colors run into each other. This is when I surprise myself. Instead of
taking the brush and trying to fix the “mess”, I just let it go. I let
the paint run. I begin doing something else. I am surprised later to
see that what I thought would be a mess, really made the painting
quite interesting. My vase of flowers still doesn’t look much like a
vase of flowers, and it appears to be sliding sideways off the paper,
but that’s ok. I’m happy with the lessons because I’m learning how
this mysterious world of watercolor works.
I also find that painting is extremely therapeutic. It gives my brain
a little down time, which is much needed. I leave the class feeling
calm and focused and am able to perform other tasks in my life with
much more efficiency and enthusiasm.
It took me a year of staring at the course catalog to figure out which
course I wanted to take. I always knew I wanted to take Kane’s
watercolor class, but the times didn’t always work out for me. I
finally just jumped in and made it work.
Choosing which class to take, can sometimes be difficult. It is hard
to stare at a list of names and classes and figure out what fits your
need. I find it helpful to seek out the instructors and talk to them.
They are always open about what they do in their classes and are
helpful at finding a fit.
There are a few ways to do this, but one of the best ways is probably
by attending an Open House. The Center for the Arts hold Open House
events once a month during season. The next Open House will be held at
6 p.m. on February 4 in conjunction with the Annual Members’
Exhibition. At the open houses artists are present showing and selling
work. Instructors are there showing work and talking about their
classes. Many of the artists that aren’t instructors have been
students and taken many classes. I find that everyone is very willing
to talk about what classes worked for them and why.
The Open Houses are always free and always held in conjunction with an
opening reception for a new exhibition. There is always complimentary
wine and hors d’oeuvres. The events are open to the public, no
A full list of programs and events for the Center for the Arts is
available online at www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling 495.8989 or
at the campus at 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs.