The Artists’ Group at SFCC Highlights November Artists
For painter, Betty McCarthy and jewelry designer, Kathleen Morgan, creating beautiful pieces of art has been a part of their life for as long as they can remember. These two artists and The Artists’ Group (TAG) at South Florida Community College may be the best kept secret in Avon Park. Located in the Hotel Jacaranda, TAG consists of talented local artists who teach and showcase their paintings, pottery, hand-painted glassworks, jewelry design, and drawings to the community. TAG is showcasing these two artists, McCarthy and Morgan, and their art pieces in November.
McCarthy, a charter member of TAG, is an artist proficient in all painting media, as well as sculpture and hand-building clay. She has studied art for many years and at several colleges throughout the state, most recently at SFCC. While proficient in several medias, most of her current work is in watercolor. McCarthy said her earliest art influence came from her mother who used to draw during McCarthy’s childhood. After a successful 36-year professional photography career in Orlando and Avon Park, she changed her focus to painting, drawing, pottery, and sculpture. She said, “I enjoyed photography, but my first love has always been art.”
She said she is always looking for interesting compositions which appeal to the eye of the viewer and translate well to canvas. A major theme in her work is the flora and fauna of the Florida landscape. Current pieces featured in TAG are landscape paintings from a trip to Bok Tower in Winter Haven. She said that the members of TAG enjoy going on field trips to find inspiring pieces to paint.
McCarthy will teach a Play with Clay workshop in December. She said she has been sculpting clay since the early 1980’s. Workshop participants will learn different techniques for using self-hardening clay, about the coil method, and how to use diverse pottery tools. This workshop will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, noon – 4 p.m. and costs $35 per workshop with a material fee of $5. McCarthy will also teach a hand-building clay class on Wednesdays, April 6- May 4, 2011.
Morgan, also a charter member of TAG, is a jewelry designer and teacher. She is known for her large acrylic paintings and unusual hand-painted glassworks. “I find all types of art appealing and love to learn new techniques,” Morgan said. She has been painting with acrylic and mixed media for over 10 years, and her paintings typically focus on landscapes, buildings, and streets. In Florida, her paintings can only be viewed at TAG Art Studio and Gallery.
She has always been interested in creating different types of jewelry, but became interested in Chainmaille jewelry three years ago. She said her daughter’s Renaissance themed wedding was the inspiration to learning the Chainmaille weaving technique. Chainmaille is the art of weaving metal rings and originates from before the Renaissance era. Hundreds of different weaves can be used to create Chainmaille style jewelry, and the spiral, helm and box chain are a few of her favorites. “I like making Chainmaille jewelry because it is handmade from start to finish. You create the entire piece of jewelry from a straight piece of wire,” she said.
She will teach this technique in a Chainmaille Wire Jewelry workshop in December. This workshop will concentrate on making jump rings, ring double weave and the mobic flower. It will be held Friday, Dec. 10, noon – 4 p.m., and costs $35 with a $5 material fee. Morgan will teach a Beginning Jewelry Class on Friday, Jan. 14 and March 11, 2011, noon – 4 p.m., and the classes cost $35 with a $7 material fee.
“Everyone at TAG fits so well together and it is a great place for artistic collaboration. Our goal this year is to let people know we are here and what we offer,” Morgan said.
TAG artists include Betty Heim, retired art teacher; Louise Weis, Wauchula artist best-known for her Florida landscapes; Betty McCarthy, retired photographer; Nancy Adams, retired veterinarian whose oil paintings and watercolors depict her love of animals; Cecilia Smith, acrylic and oil paints artists and Kathy Morgan, acrylic painter, jewelry maker, and art glass creator. The TAG Art Studio and Gallery is located at 19 East Main Street, Avon Park. For more information, contact TAG at 784-7346.