PHOTOS: Art in the Esplanade – Left Bank Art Fest holds first 2012 show

Dozens of artist showed their stuff to hundreds of art lovers Sunday at the Left Bank Art Fest. The monthly gathering, held through the season at the Esplanade on Collier Boulevard, benefited from a “Goldilocks” day – not too hot, not too cold, just right.

“This is perfect,” said watercolorist Eloise Barrows, showing her works to Mary Dumais. “It’s not warm enough for people to come to the beach, but it’s very comfortable walking around.” Barrows said she had done eight paintings last week, preparing for the show, and putting a strain on her husband, who gets the job of framing them.

Photographer R. Clark Lindberg, who tends to point his camera at natural scenery both in Southwest Florida and New England, noted the lack of football fans.

“Not a lot of Green Bay Packers shirts around,” he said, although that won’t be an issue for “cheeseheads” this coming weekend.

Some of the artwork on display took much longer than Dumais’ watercolors to produce, and the time involved was reflected in the price. Ben Foster of Lander, Wyoming, displayed a series of realistic animals cast in bronze, including one whose range spreads all the way from his home to Marco Island – the coyote. Foster’s coyote, with his head upraised to howl, was priced at $5,900.

The rough-hewn abstract sculptures by David Campbell of Stonelegance, along with the fish peering out from within some of them, were carved from calcite, and the bright sunlight glowing through them brought out the beauty of the stone.

Also working with stone, but on a smaller scale, Erika Newton’s artworks are small enough to be worn as pendants. Each of her designs is one of a kind, she said.

“I never repeat.” She gave a dissenting opinion on the weather. “Business is good, but I’m so cold,” said Newton, wrapped up in a pink cap and scarf, as if ready for Barbie’s sleigh ride.

Nina Kirker, working with her husband, makes birds from PVC pipe, attaching them to stands including natural cypress knees. One piece, a pileated woodpecker, was tagged at $109.

Perhaps the youngest artist exhibiting at the Left Bank Art Fest was Tyler MacDonald. Still in high school, the junior at Lely High School showed a collection of gorgeous nature photographs, from aerials to underwater, and focusing on the fauna of Southwest Florida in between.

The Left Bank Art Fest is put on by the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts. The show is deliberately low-key, said MIFA founder and president Sandi Johnson, with low exhibitor fees to encourage new artists to take the plunge.

MIFA is a 501(c)(3) registered charity, whose website is The next Left Bank show at the Esplanade will be held Feb. 12.

© 2012 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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