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Artful Life

Somewhere Between Duty and Distraction

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Photo by Tara O’neill

Artful Life By Tara O’Neill Here’s one that definitely doesn’t apply to just artists, but certainly requires some artful adjustments: The Home Office. You know, the one that modern technology promised would help us shed the scales of The Work Place and allow us the freedom and flexibility to work from our own nests? May I just say, it ain’t that easy. In fact, it can be really hard. How, for example, is one to stay focused (yes, the f-word) when the kittens need feeding – and then play-time, dang they’re cute – and there’s that laundry to do, the ... Read More »

Pride Through Association

Historically significant fishing cottages at MarGood Harbor Park, Goodland. PHOTO BY TARA O’NEILL

Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I’m so proud to be part of the Goodland Arts Alliance, a tiny, yet phenomenally effective, organization that is dedicated to its mission to “preserve, promote, and advance, the cultural presence in the Village of Goodland through art, history, and education.” I am proud and honored – my fellow GAA members are dedicated, focused, and hard-working souls with a tenacity that exceeds rationale. Sunday, March 8, 10:00 – 4:00, the GAA, a 501(c)3 cultural non-profit, along with Collier County Parks and Recreation, is sponsoring the 3rd annual outdoor Harbor Arts & Music Festival at picturesque MarGood ... Read More »

The Art of Forgiveness

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I have an artist friend, Sally, who not only is a very supportive friend, but also is one of the most grounded people I know; sure of who she is and confident in her art. During a recent conversation she assured me she had not always been this way. “Let me show you something I keep around as sort of a touchstone.” She bounced out of the room and returned with a self-portrait as a young girl in pencil. It was a life-sized head shot and was really good…if it hadn’t been torn in places and ... Read More »

The Art of Spontaneity: Wet Paint Live!

Enjoying visitors during Wet Paint Live! 2011 at Goodland's Boat Park. PHOTO BY GEORGE VELLIS

Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com One of my favorite events, “Wet Paint Live!,” is coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 11. I enjoy all my art events, or I wouldn’t do them, but my particular fondness for this event is owed to the impact “Wet Paint Live!” has had on my artful life. Spontaneity — straight up or on the rocks — that’s the drink that refreshes! The day of “Wet Paint Live!” dawns with local artists painting at various outdoor venues and finishes the same day with a generous reception and guaranteed lively live-auction at Rose Auditorium (Marco Island History Museum). ... Read More »

Conversational Drifts

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Some of my favorite conversations — whether I’m actively involved or just eavesdropping — consist of one bright topic setting off a circuit of others. There are times when linear conversations — those that start with one topic and finish with it before moving to another — have their proper place, but it’s exhilarating to listen as creative ideas spark like electric arcs from one to another freeform. A recent article by David Pitt of the Associated Press on the spate of piano store closings around the country has ignited an impressive nationwide debate as to ... Read More »

Keeping the Faith

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I am writing this just a few days before the beginning of another New Year. Of course, by the time you are reading it, the Big Day shall have passed, the confetti cleared, the headaches healed, and the resolutions well underway. It’s now a time for soulful reflections and forward thinking. A time of promise and promises. As I look about my artful community I see a great flurry of optimistic activities: Cultural organizations are gearing up for a spate of new activities and events to delight and enrich the public. The newest kid on that ... Read More »

I’ve Looked at Clouds From Multiple Sides Now

Cloud 6, oil on canvas by Tara O'Neill

Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com A dear friend and fellow artist was visiting from Europe last week, and it was delicious to fill so many conversations with artful topics. After visiting my home gallery, she was moved by a collection of cloud paintings of mine and shared her thoughts about the rising popularity of clouds as subject matter in western art. Was it a rising trend? I had not heard. (Growing up in flat-as-the-ocean Florida, clouds have always seemed a natural obsession.) Tell me more. She named several European artists, well-known and obscure, who are now dedicating yards and yards of ... Read More »

The Accidental Speaker

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I am an artist. I am not a public speaker. I can talk about my art to any group, but beyond that I’d rather chew glass. I am actively involved in several cultural non-profit organizations. I am not an organizer. If you’re wondering about my organizational skills just ask my husband. (Hint: He does the bookkeeping in our home, and for good reason.) So, how is it I recently found myself standing at a podium with about 70 or so Goodland residents seated in neat rows before me and three highly-respected Collier County representatives on ... Read More »

No Problems, Just Solutions

Young Artists Acadamy students  drawing in the gallery of Marco Islands Center for teh Arts. photo by Tara O'Neill

Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I am so fortunate. Despite the days that close in utter weariness due to facing a multitude of challenges, most mornings dawn with the waking certainty of how fortunate I am. For one thing, I now use the word challenges, where once I would have used the word problems. One recent shine of fortune was to be invited to instruct at the Young Artists Academy at Marco Islands Center for the Arts. The Center’s executive director, Hyla Crane, was challenged with resurrecting a bygone program that instructs dedicated 12-18 year old artists Saturday mornings for ... Read More »

The Art of Seeing

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ARTFUL LIFE Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com “What I have not drawn, I have never really seen.” — Frederick Franck, “The Zen Of Seeing”   I recently visited my dear friend, Barbara Sills, who lives in the Orlando area. There’s lots going on in Orlando — all the time — and Barbara is never at a loss when it comes to trying new and interesting things. In fact, she’s downright intrepid. I’ve known Barbara nearly 40 years, and she still never ceases to surprise me. Although I try to expect the unexpected, my friend managed to thoroughly gob-smack me on this last ... Read More »

Would You Like Mustard with Your Monet?

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Nothing like starting your day with a good laugh. Last week, I heard a joke on National Public Radio. I agree with you: NPR isn’t famous for it’s hahahas. What does the artist say while working? “Would you like fries with that?” I just laughed and laughed, especially because at the time I was just parking my truck at the restaurant where I hostess part-time, and I’m an artist. They say the trick to good joke-telling is timing. You betcha. Another time, I might have reacted differently. But, I love my hostess job. I work ... Read More »

Flat Out Gorgeous

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ARtful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Chances are that if you’re reading this in the paper, you live here year-round, or you are someone revolutionary enough to visit Florida in summer — when the really exotic stuff happens. Yes, it’s hot; it’s buggy; it rains alot. But, the number one complaint among Floridaphiles is that it’s so darn humid. Some days are like breathing through a wet army blanket, but it’s easily worth it to experience the extravagant theater of summer skies. Are you on Facebook? Facebook is flush with South Florida sky photographs, and not just sunrises and sunsets but ... Read More »

To Thine Own Self…

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I recently overheard a conversation between two professional photographers. One emerging; the other well-seasoned — both artistic. The seasoned artist is fabulously known for a certain genre of photographs, with a few variants, and is quite successful. The emerging artist utilizes a wide-range of subjects. “I admire your dedication to your subject,” says our emerging artist. “Don’t worry,” says the seasoned artist, “you’ll find your niche.” “I hope not!” says the emerging artist. And I said, “Bravo!” I was witnessing, and admiring, a sense of adventure in the emerging artist that was too strong to ... Read More »

Language Has a Slippery Slope

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Is there really no escaping the fate of eventually sounding just like our parents? Is today’s music really just noise? (I know mine was to my parents.) Are kids today really wearing horrible statements for clothing just to get a reaction from “us” (as we did to “them” 40-50 years ago)? Is language truly a dying art? Zounds, methinks not. Oh right, no one says “zounds” anymore, and “methinks” it’s amazing that spell check has nothing to say about, well, about methinkings. Or zounds. Huh? Like everything else, language is, of course, constantly evolving. I ... Read More »

Why We Do It

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Self-deprecating humor is not in my DNA. I figure the rest of the world has enough opportunities to critique us that we don’t have to steal anyones’ negative thunder. That being said, I seldom miss the chance to laugh at myself when I do or say something foolish, and for that, there’s plenty of opportunity. Recently, I had a happenstance chat with Linda Chambers, an artist I greatly admire and a fellow instructor at Marco Island Center for the Arts. She commented on how stridently I market my work and myself. “I have to,” I ... Read More »

The Story of the Story of Belle

Lady Elizabeth Murray and Dido Elizabeth Belle. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

ARTFUL LIFE  Tara O’Neill  taraogallery@marcocable.com I haven’t seen the movie “Belle,” but I can tell you it is a testament to the power of art. It’s a period film rich with elegant costumes and lavish sets embodying the true story of a mixed-race daughter of a British admiral who became an unwitting force of change in 18th century societal mores and instigated the end of slavery in the British Empire. A fascinating story — tremendous, really — but for me the more interesting tale is how the story came to be told, and the movie made. So here it is: A ... Read More »

A Meeting with Mr. Misguided

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill You are NOT going to believe what happened to me. This story begs the question: If someone is misguided, then who or what guided them there? I recently participated in a Naples event called “An Evening on 5th.” It involved visual artists and musicians scattered up and down the avenue to enhance the dining and shopping experience of the out-and-abouters. Sounded nice. I rather like talking to folks when I’m at my easel; I feel the more information the public has about the creation of art, the better for artists. The event was well organized, although ... Read More »

Harmony, Discord and Composition

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Artful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com Passion vs. serenity; active vs. static; harmony vs. discord. These aren’t just the building blocks of artful compositions, but of all human relationships. What we seek is balance – and it’s not one-size-fits-all – it’s personal. In color theory, the juxtaposition of color-wheel opposites – oddly called compliments – creates a super-charged vibrancy (just put a dot of purple paint in the middle of a yellow sun and watch for a solar explosion). Color-wheel neighbors, however, create a calmer, more soothing composition. Elsewhere in visual arts, a horizontal line is perceived as static, a vertical ... Read More »

It’s only fair

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ArtfuL Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I have been judged and juried; I have judged and juried. Both roles are difficult. But, in the name of fairness, both are required of an artful life and, by my tally, a civilized life. I have juried multiple art exhibits and never is it easy, mostly because there is so much good work… How, after agonizing over 1st and 2nd place recipients, do you choose from the eight to 10 remaining contenders for 3rd place? Unlike jurors in a courtroom, jurors of art are invited; they are invited for their expertise and, oddly, their ... Read More »

Reclaiming Clarity

Dawn over Myakka River State Park, viewed from tree-top boardwalk. PHOTOS BY TARA O'NEILL

ARtful Life Tara O’Neill taraogallery@marcocable.com I am interrupting my regularly-scheduled column to report on a fiercely fabulous and impromptu experience… Yes, I did have another column prepared for this issue, but a recent trip to Myakka River State Park seems to have trumped my previous topic. The park is near Sarasota and just barely ten miles off Interstate 75. Needless to say, the park is hypnotically beautiful: old-growth trees, plentiful wildlife, a serpentine river, a sparkling lake and a treetop boardwalk from which you can see for miles. All of this can be viewed online. Along with multiple campsites, it ... Read More »