Swordfish Snacking was a challenging and rewarding painting for me. I grew up on the ocean, mostly surfing and snorkeling, and even though I had fished several times, I wouldn't have considered myself someone who fished. After we bought our own boat 2 years ago, now with two young boys who we wanted to share the ocean with, my husband and I took up fishing. Diving would have been too much time in the same place, while waiting for mommy or daddy to come back up, and though I can't wait to eventually surf with them, they're really not quite ready for that.
So, the last two years have been youtubing, learning from friends, watching Local Knowledge, and experiencing it for ourselves as often as possible. Many people have commented on the change in subject with my artwork to more fishing related material, but like most artists, I paint what is going on in my life- and right now that is fishing! (The bird phase seemed to happen because I was so big and pregnant, mostly driving for friends while they dove, or just planting myself in a bean bag on the boat watching birds).
I am so proud to be featured in 154 units at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The artwork was chosen to help create a tropical modern meets old Florida vibes. It even includes a retro, sea foam colored mini fridge for their guests' enjoyment and convenience.
Ben Hicks and I have been friends since our very first Art Show together about three years ago. We both liked all things ocean and surfing, we were both making a career of something we loved, we were both expecting little groms of our own soon... We still have so much in common, and so does our art. When I started this painting of Boca and Deerfield, "The Hatchling Charge", it didn't immediately occur to me that I was painting Ben's life as a photographer. As most of you know, his main subjects are waves and sea turtles and Boca is his main stomping ground. I am always so inspired by the way he captures the character of those babies charging it, making their way to the ocean after already digging out of a shell, AND a deep hole in the sand! I try to create a character of my own while painting, but Ben is revealing that baby's actual character, and telling the story in the moment. It is no secret that a painter needs good reference photos to make the composition, subjects, colors, and shadows believable in his or her paintings, but I look to Ben for more than that. I want my paintings to also open up a new view into the lives of these creatures that we share our beaches with. How does he do it?
We may be similar, but we each have very different ways of expressing ourselves through visual art, and I thought it would be fun to describe the "behind the scenes", or "in the minds of" the artwork with paintings and photographs side by side. Ben is joining in, and will be writing in italics.
This painting was a huge honor to create. Not only was it exciting and challenging to fit all of the historic symbols of Florida, but I also loved the fact that it was a very special, and thoughtful gift from a sister to her brother, and the brother just so happens to be Harvey E. Oyer III. If you have children in Elementary school here in Florida, you will no doubt learn about him soon, as your child embarks on a journey through Florida history while reading "The Adventures of Charlie Pierce."
These books are used for 4th grade reading throughout several counties, and after voraciously tearing through one of them to prepare for this commission, I know why. They are incredible, historical accounts of places that we all know and love, in a time that many of us know nothing about. Some of the stories have been passed down through five generations, because Oyer is actually the great-grand nephew of Charlie Pierce himself! Each subject in the Painting represents one of the books that he has written: "The American Jungle," "The Last Egret," "The Last Calusa," and his newest addition, "The Barefoot Mailman."
Again, it was such an honor and great pleasure to work on something like this, and to have had the opportunity to learn more about our history through such an entertaining page-turner. I actually purchased one for my jupiter history buff friend, and all four for my son, (he may be far from reading age yet) but I know he will thoroughly enjoy them one day! Check out the book series website here, and learn more about the author.
Thank you, Christian, for trusting me to make something special for your brother to commemorate his amazing works.
Carly Mejeur is a floridian artist, inspired by her ocean hobbies and travels. This Blog is for news, events, and just for fun. Click here for the artist's Bio.