Painting the town: Marco Island's Wet Paint Live has art lovers walking the streets

Artist Joan Scherer adds flowers to the shrubs at a Goodland home. Wet Paint Live 2014 had artists scattered all over Marco and Goodland Wednesday, painting canvases to be auctioned off that evening at the Rose HIstory Auditorium. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

Photo by LANCE SHEARER // Buy this photo

Artist Joan Scherer adds flowers to the shrubs at a Goodland home. Wet Paint Live 2014 had artists scattered all over Marco and Goodland Wednesday, painting canvases to be auctioned off that evening at the Rose HIstory Auditorium. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— It’s official. Goodland is the most artistic corner of Marco Island. With 18 area artists spreading out all over the area for Wet Paint Live 2014 on Wednesday, seven of them chose to make the fishing village that sits outside the city limits the subject of their brush.

Wet Paint Live, sponsored by the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce and their Leadership Marco program, combines painting “en plein air” and fundraising. Participating artists choose a spot, put up their easel, and create a painting in one day from start to finish. The resulting works are signed, framed, and delivered to the Rose History Auditorium for sale to the highest bidder. This was the seventh annual outing for the Wet Paint Live event.

If Goodland is the “artiest” spot on the island, then the creative juices are most concentrated at Mar-Good Harbor Park, where four artists chose to paint.

“Goodland is just charming, with all the cute little places,” said Joan Scherer, painting one of them, a cottage across the street from Mar-Good. “Marco is getting so cleaned up, it’s hard to find a good place.”

The artists need to plan their day with time not only for painting, but also a significant amount of schmoozing. The locations for all the painters are mapped out on a flyer, and a steady stream of visitors makes the rounds, with many making a point of tracking down each and every artist. Scherer, who teaches painting, along with many of her fellow “wet painters,” had visits from group after group of her students.

Painting outside does have its perils. Mary Moran, set up at the Goodland Boating Park, reported that a gust of wind sent her easel, with canvas and all her paints, flying to the ground. Judy Chinski’s watercolor almost blew into the water, making the “wet paint” more than just a name.

Many of the painters seemed to be flashing their “artistic license,” using an artist’s prerogative to improve the scene before them or bring it in line with their vision. Gail Trent Risner, also painting at Mar-Good Harbor, stayed mostly faithful to the cute-as-a-button home in front of her, but did eliminate an inconvenient tree.

Popo Flanigan painted across the street from the Little Bar, but the resulting canvas was a still life featuring the vase of flowers she brought with her, rendered in an Impressionist style.

“Everybody does buildings. I wanted mine to be different,” she said.

Tara O’Neill made wholesale changes to the cottages she found in Goodland, placing them along a white sandy beach.

“Hey, I just increased their real estate values by 300 percent,” she said. Perhaps she was channelling the Corona beer commercials, which urge everyone to “find your beach,” although she did indicate a preference for a piña colada, and mentioned that to significant other George Vellis.

Chinski left behind her gallery at the Esplanade shopping center, and painted a waterscape of a Goodland canal in more vibrant colors than met the eye. The Esplanade also had four painters, Judy Hawthorn, Phyllis Pransky, and Betty Newman, Chinski’s gallery mate.

Newman’s painting took top honors in the evening auction, bringing in $1,100 under the hammer of volunteer auctioneer Chris Lombardo, who threw in a little standup along with his auctioneering.

“He’s a show in himself,” said chamber executive director Sandi Riedemann. Between 125 and 150 showed up at the Rose auditorium to bid on the canvases, mingle with the artists and enjoy the buffet donated by Kretch’s.

At press time, the total amount known was not raised “we’re still counting the money,” said Riedemann but all proceeds will go directly to scholarships for area high school students.

The chamber’s next major function will be the business expo, scheduled for March 31 at the Marriott.

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