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I am so excited to share my combination of Art & Community Service in Florida.   If you are new to my blog I need to bring you up-to-date on my project:  Circle of Friends & Stars, an Art Program serving adults with Autism, Down Syndrome & others with Intellectual, Learning & Developmental Disabilities.  An ART / DANCE / MUSIC / ARTS & CRAFTS / THEATER “SPECIAL” ACTIVITY CLUB.  We meet every Saturday at the Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts in Plantation, Florida at 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.  If you have been following over the years, you already know what’s going on.  What I’d like to share is the Artwork being created during our CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS SEASON at the Circle of Friends & Stars.

Feather Butterfly

“Butterfly in Feathers”

June 1st to August 31 of each year the Club concentrates on art projects for exhibit purposes.  During the Creative Expressions Season the Club produces the most interestingly creative projects that I am especially proud of and must share with my readers.  The feature project of this season will be our Butterflies in Feathers.  We will be present 4 butterflies; 2 in feathers and 2 in glitter.  Shown here is Debra Miller who has been working for 5 weeks in order to be ready for our 1st Art Exhibit on August 10, 2013 at the BB&T CENTER in Sunrise, Florida.

We invite you to share our program with people you know that are seeking creative activity for their adult special needs children in the South Florida basin.  Call us (305) 469-6009 for more details and get directions to our Clubhouse.   I am working 35 hours per week on this project and invite volunteers to come out and serve our special needs opportunities.

Jeff2

Jeff’s “Sunflower” 11 x 14 acrylic on canvas board

 

Follow our updates on Facebook:  Circle of Friends & Stars or visit our website: http://www.circleoffriendsandstars.org

Email:  cofriendsandstars@gmail.com

Operational Site:  Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts, 7080 N.W. 4th Street, Plantation, Florida   33317

The new year has proven to be more demanding than previously anticipated and, like most people, I got caught up in the “getting things done right now posture; however, I really wanted to get back to my blog to share some exciting news and just spend time here.

Am still painting and have completed a few new pieces that I’d like to share with you – many of the paintings are reworked.  Meaning, I painted them several years ago and, after taking art classes, can now repaint them for future exhibit.  One piece in particular that I love is, “Entrance To Sapphire Beach“.  This paintings was done in 2004 when I lived in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and updated a few months ago with astonishing results.  This painting was hung in the Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts in Plantation, Florida for 2 months and was part of my exhibit entitled, Caribbean Dream.   Entrance to Sapphire Beach is 18 x 24  acrylic on canvasboard.

Entrance To Sapphire

As an avid sailor, I was returning from an all day sail and laying on the bow of the boat when the captain decided to head home – I turned over on my stomach and just looked over at the rich colors reflected in the Caribbean Sea…  blue, aquamarine, shimmering in the afternoon sun.  The splashing of the water sprayed on my face as we made the turn between St. John and Red Hook.  I sat up as my eyes were directed to an opening in the landscape and immediately knew I had to capture the moment.  That opening was the entrance to Sapphire Beach; the home of Sapphire Beach Resort.  Sailing in any direction back to St. Thomas a boat can enter Sapphire through this opening which is much larger than it appears from my vantage point.

As we approached St. Thomas, the islands got bigger and the entrance opened wider to allow yachts to enter and dock within a safe harbor.  Spending lots of Sunday afternoons listening to local bands play the best music to crowds gathered from across the islands brought back memories.

So glad you could spend this moment with me and look forward to posting soon.

From The Garden

From The Garden

I am so happy to have the opportunity to have fans, friends and family that follow my progress through life.  Wanted to take this moment to say “Thank You” for your support and looking forward to a New Year to create, share and learn.

Working on new pieces for a show in February, 2013 and took a look at my very early pieces and decided to rework a few.  I was always in love with them when I created each one, but now that I’ve taken classes it is so much easier to retouch a few pieces.

The “Sun Flower” will be exhibited in the February Show and my “Cali Lilly” are still in progress.  Can’t wait to finally complete them.   Need to add a golden light on the inside of the flower.   It is so exciting working on each piece and bringing it to completion.  Stay Tune!

Cali Lilly

Cali Lilly

Please join the Circle Of Friends & Stars Facebook Page and follow my passion.  Arts in Action for adults with Autism & Down Syndrome.  The Activity Club provides an art outlet for our Stars.   One project I am very proud of is our Clay Jewelry.  The members took their time and created the most beautiful pieces which are used for exhibit and fundraising.  Consider donating to help our Club increase the opportunity to our special population.   Write to:  Circle Of Friends, 7080 N.W. 4th Street, Plantation, Florida  33317 for a brochure and make your check payable to:  Circle Of Friends.

All hand-made Clay Jewelry

All hand-made Clay Jewelry

 

I am so excited to share the good news of my upcoming Art Exhibit.  In this show, I will showcase my new paintings.   Not sure if many of you realized that I am a self-taught artist.  In 2010 I met an instructor, Brent Miller of RemBrent Academy of Arts in Plantation, Florida who saw my work and immediately said, “I love what you’re doing and would like to help you fine tune your work”.  I, of course, jumped at the opportunity to finally learn to paint under the supervision of an artist.

On Saturday, October 6, 2012, I will have the privilege of showing YOU my new pieces.  Please come out and see the artwork, meet new friends and chat with a glass of wine.

Where:  Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts
 Address:   7080 N.W. 4th Street, Plantation, Florida  33317
 Cost:         $10.00  (donation towards Special Needs activities).    You may write a check payable to:  Circle Of Friends.   Circle Of Friends is an activity club serving Teens (16+) and Adults with Autism / Down Syndrome and others with learning and developmental disabilities.

As a Caribbean artist, I have endeavored to create paintings which show “Island Life” from a primitive perspective.  When I started out, I use to paint on rocks, driftwood and items I found on the beach.  Actually, my first canvas was taken out of the trash.  Neighbors were relocating to the states and threw out a painting they didn’t want.  I saw it sitting by the trash can and picked it up, painted over the scene and created Island Woman”  18 x 28  acrylic on canvas (1990).

Island Woman

I have chosen “Caribbean Dream” as my theme because this is my dream come through.  Today, it gives me such joy to share my artwork which shows growth from 1990 to 2012.   My feature painting, “The Doors”  24 x 36  acrylic on canvas (2012) will be on exhibit for two (2) months.  October 6 through December 4, 2012.

The Doors

“The Doors” is indeed a labor of love.  In this presentation, I wanted to show Caribbean life before electricity.  The woman coming from the country walking all the way to downtown to sell her fruits and vegetables.  The structure, created in the 1700’s Caribbean, was probably built from sea sand.  Today, these buildings are still standing, but are showing the wear of the century.  Notice the cracking of the arch over the doors and the raw construction of the doors.

See you at the Exhibit!

I was recently the focus of an article by DUO Magazine (July, 2012 issue) and wanted to share it with you.

Dixie Lee as her family affectionately knows her was born on the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. As a child Dixie loved helping her mother around the house and as the daughter of a Baptist Preacher, she learned to share with those in need and volunteered working with the youth doing arts & crafts. Her mother, Frances Hedrington, has been an example of “going the extra mile” and encouraged her to get involved in work around the church doing missionary outreach.

In the early 1970’s she moved to Harlingen, Texas to attend the Valley Baptist Academy where the true concept of helping those in need, doing special projects in the community and expanding her missionary outreach goals were fine-tuned. Upon her graduation from the Academy and returned to her island home where she attended the University of the Virgin Islands.

In 1979 she was chosen to be a Tourism Representative to the United States and had the opportunity to move to Los Angeles, California. While in Los Angeles, she volunteered with the Los Angeles Women’s Shelter run by Emmit & Dorothy Adams until she returned to the Virgin Islands in 1984. In 1985 she started her own business, Dixie’s Secretarial Services, which gave her the opportunity to train, for free, lots of young women from the islands in proper secretarial / office procedures. The reward she received was seeing all or most of those trained move into upper level administrative positions in major companies on island and around the world.

In 1991 Dixie moved to Miami, Florida to study real estate. While in Florida she and her husband welcomed a son, Brandon, who was deaf. She immersed herself into the deaf community and tried to get him the best medical attention. Learning sign language and other forms of communication brought her closer to another opportunity to volunteer. She volunteered her time to families with deaf children – working on obtaining benefits, IEP process and helping them navigate the system.

As a victim of domestic violence she chose to leave the marriage and soon found out there were lots of programs for the poor females and, of course, the rich could afford to remedy their domestic and financial situations themselves; however, learnt rapidly that the mid-income female did not have a safety net. She eventually relocated to Virginia where the opportunity to start a program for transitional housing to women in dangerous domestic situation became a “real” focus and she attempted to start a group, The Safety Net. Her new life in Virginia flourished and she opened a beauty shop, Sheer Magic, in Portsmouth, Virginia. Providing free hair and make-up to domestic violence victims attempting to seek employment and restart their lives.

In 2005 she gave up a beautiful position as a Paralegal with a large law firm and moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands to volunteer as the Director of Operations at the V.I. Baptist Mission, Inc., where she, along side her new husband, Carl Miller, worked tirelessly. In addition to her duties of Dir. Of Operations, she opened a computer lab for the surrounding neighborhood and taught computer classes to economically disadvantaged youths, started an Art Program and gave more time designing and publishing of handouts, brochures and flyers for the folks in her community.

In 2007 she began volunteering at the Rare Earth Studios in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands as an office administrator and although she has now relocated to the State of Florida she still maintains the Web page and Facebook pages of the Studio.

Dixie, going the extra mile…

Upon her arrival in Plantation, Florida in 2009, she refocused her interest on the deaf community and teaches art classes to “after-school” high /middle school students. She volunteered her administrative skills in March – Aug, 2011, with the start up of Camilo’s Creative Corner and most recently, she volunteers 10 hours per week to a club for teens and adults with Autism, Down Syndrome, Mental Retardation and other learning disabilities along with several special friends, more specifically known as the Circle of Friends which meet each Saturday at the Schacknow Museum of Fine Arts, in Plantation, Florida. In addition, Dixie volunteers her graphic design skills to the Museum and its affiliates.

Dixie remains committed to volunteerism and encourages as many people as possible to give whatever time they have available to their community. Dixie currently lives in Sunrise, Florida and takes great joy in knowing that her efforts are helping others.

Painting this new piece of artwork stirred my heart. My sister, Ruth, on a recent cruise, went to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and took a picture of my favorite swimming spot on the island. She sent a text to tell me, “you would never believe the picture I just took for you”. I couldn’t wait for her return to see all the pictures from her vacation. When she finally returned and I had the chance to view the pictures, I immediately knew I was going to paint it. I pondered for a few days. Each time I walked into my studio, I looked at the picture and it came to me. I grabbed a canvas from the rack and sketched the scene. For another few days, I looked at the drawing then began to put paint onto the canvas in order to bring the picture to life. I started with a wash (covering the entire canvas with the colors that will be used in each location). Stepping back and taking a deep look, I knew the direction to take.

Beginning with the sky, I created the background then folded the clouds into the beautiful Caribbean sky. Stepping back and taking another look, I was able to move forwards by adding the water in the foreground. My reason for putting in the sky and water together is my way on saving paint; as the colors were already mixed. You can follow the step-by-step project on facebook. Visit: A Journey Into My World of Art, click LIKE and post a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Pleased with the results I then proceeded to add the small islands. They were especially interesting to me as I added color and shadows – I had to remember to add more white to the paint for the island directly across from the beach and reduce the color to the island in the distance; giving a better feeling of depth.  Truly inspired and fully aware of the amount of hours that it will take to complete this piece, I pushed forward.  Touching up, adjusting colors, adding and taking away clouds, I was happy with the background and decided to begin working on the foreground beach and trees.

A technique I picked up from my art instructor, Brent Miller of the RemBrent Academy of Fine Arts in Plantation, Florida, I stepped back, sat down and studied the progress.  The clouds were forming nicely along with the islands & was pleased with the water.  So it was now time to begin working on the trees.  I wanted to paint 3 different type of trees on the beach.  My highlight was going to be the Sea Grape Tree (the lighter of all the others).   I got up and went back to my canvas and with sheer creativity, I worked on each tree: 1st the palm in the behind the others, then fired up the next tree and took more time working on the Sea Grape Tree.

Totally happy with the trees, I wanted to add some “real” sand to the canvas.  I picked up a cup of sand from Ft. Lauderdale Beach to use in this paining.   When I added the sand which created a nice feeling to the painting, I thew in a few small shells and darkened the sand a bit more under the trees.  Stepping back again, I was now ready to begin adding leaves to each tree.  Mixing a variety of greens, yellows, oranges, reds and purples (yes purple!), I formed and blended all the colors into the leaves.  This is the largest of all my paintings and took more time than I have ever taken before.   Ladies and gentlemen, I present…  “Relaxing Afternoon”.

COURTYARD II

As promised, I would like to share the second in a series of two (2) paintings entitled the Courtyard.  A few weeks ago, I shared the Courtyard (20 x 24) and would like to introduce her sister painting, Courtyard II.

When I began thinking about painting a second piece to the Courtyard, I didn’t want the story to end.  Living inside a structure like this has to be a pleasure everyday.  I imagined the cool breeze flowing throughout the large arches.  The access to the beach just outside your home is one of the greatest feelings anyone could experience.  When I lived in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, I had the opportunity to swim 3 to 4 times per week and can appreciate opening a back door and walking onto the beach.  Just look at the movement of the waves slapping onto the sand.  A nice, long walk on the beach or those that enjoy running would simply increase the pleasure.

Courtyard II 20 x 16 acrylic on canvas (2012)

The construction of that structure is impressive – look at the hand-cut panels on the door; they were probably cut from a Mahogany tree and carried to the location before assembly.  The stone on the courtyard’s floor molded with sea sand and a sort of glue must have taken time to put together – it’s not like today that you can stop at Home Depot and pick up a palette or have it delivered for installation.  Each time I look at this painting, it makes me feel free.   The freedom is walking through the entire structures of the Courtyard and now Courtyard II and finally going out the door unto the beach.

Courtyard and Courtyard II were on exhibit at the Schacknow Museum of Fine Art in Plantation, Florida for 2 months.  They are available for purchase on my artist website.  Visit: http://dixie-lee-hedrington.artistwebsites.com/