Artist Bios

Jason Parodi

Gallery Manager / Artist Member

Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Jason has called Florida home since 1994, finding his artistic sanctuary in the vibrant community of DeLand. A dedicated painter and sculptor, he finds joy in the process of bringing his creations to life, infusing each piece with his unique perspective and passion.

His creative journey is fueled by a diverse array of influences, ranging from the timeless elegance of Renaissance masters like Michelangelo and Da Vinci to the whimsical imagination of Salvador Dalí and contemporary artist Todd Schorr. Each artist inspires Jason in their own way, encouraging him to explore new techniques and push the boundaries of his medium.

Jason’s artwork is a reflection of his deep connection to both the natural world and the realm of imagination. Through his paintings and sculptures, he invites viewers to explore a world where reality and fantasy intertwine, evoking a sense of wonder and nostalgia.

As Jason’s artistic journey unfolds, his personal life also takes new turns. Recently, his daughter embarked on her own adventure, venturing off to college to pursue her dreams. With this new chapter opening in his family life, Jason finds himself drawn even more deeply into the pursuit of his art. With the newfound focus on his craft, he dives headfirst into his studio, eager to explore new ideas and techniques. Each brushstroke and sculpting gesture becomes a form of self-discovery, a journey of exploration into the depths of his creativity. As he delves deeper into his art, Jason finds solace and inspiration, forging a path that is uniquely his own.

In early 2024, Jason took a bold step forward by founding ArtWorks DeLand—a hub of creativity and collaboration. Here, he works alongside a talented team of artists, fostering a supportive environment where creativity can flourish and community can thrive. Together, they celebrate the power of art to unite and inspire.

Karen Tweedie

Gallery Manager / Artist Member

A native of California, Karen now spends her time in her studio in DeLand, Florida.  While working as a teacher of the deaf, Karen launched her jewelry business in the 1980s with a collection that featured American Sign Language hands signing “love” and “friendship”.  Working full time as a designer and goldsmith for the past 20 years, Karen’s work incorporates precious metals and gemstones, and non-traditional materials as well.

Recently, Karen joined forces with a group of dynamic and forward thinking artists and opened a co-operative gallery in her town, ArtWorks DeLand.  Consisting of the work of 30 local artists, she is one of the gallery managers and her work is available in the gallery.  It is located at 111 W. Indiana Avenue in the oldest commercial building in DeLand’s historic downtown.

Unlike many jewelry designers, Karen is a metalsmith who forges each of her pieces herself from design through to the final polish and stone setting.  “I am fascinated by ancient architecture and jewelry and those shapes become woven into my own designs and link me to centuries of metalworking traditions.”  The spiral shape occurs often in her pieces.  This ancient symbol of eternity has been evident in jewelry for thousands of years but has a contemporary feeling still today.

Karen uses pearls in many of her jewelry collections. Pearls are selected by hand for their color, shape, and luminescence.  Holding the degree of Pearls Graduate from GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, Karen creates pearl jewelry for any occasion.

Melinda Cummings

Board Chair / Artist Member

As an artist originally from DeLand, Florida, my creative journey is deeply rooted in my local heritage and the vibrant ambience of my hometown. Growing up surrounded by the rich tapestry of DeLand’s history, I’ve developed an intrinsic connection to its character and charm. It is within this backdrop that my passion for transforming found objects into wearable art thrives.

My artistic expression finds its muse in the array of treasures I unearth during my wanderings through DeLand’s streets and markets. From the Wednesday Flea and Farmer’s Market to local yard and estate sales, I eagerly seek out vintage items and forgotten relics that whisper stories of the past. These discarded fragments become the raw materials for my craft, each holding a unique history waiting to be reborn.

At the heart of my creations lies the art of repurposing. I love the challenge of breathing new life into seemingly obsolete objects, salvaging their beauty and restoring their significance. Broken rosaries, antique watches, and old costume jewelry find new purpose in my hands, as do squashed bottle caps and oxidized industrial hardware I find in streets, parking lots, and sidewalks. Yet, it is the allure of old keys that holds a special place in my heart, symbolizing the potential for unlocking hidden treasures within the mundane.

In my jewelry, the positioning of old and new side by side harmonizes naturally. Alongside the weathered patina of salvaged materials, I incorporate elements of elegance and luxury. Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, and semi-precious gemstones mingle with industrial relics, creating a captivating contrast that speaks to the duality of beauty and imperfection.

Each of my pieces of wearable art has a name and a story. Sometimes the story is based upon famous literature such as poetry by e.e. cummings and Maya Angelou, or stories by Poe and Bradbury. Often I write my own story in the form of a fairy tale or allegory with a particular necklace as a centerpiece. Stories are important because it is through stories that we connect with one another, with ourselves, and with our world.

For me, the act of creation is a transformative journey—a process where the ordinary is transposed into the extraordinary. With each piece, I strive to evoke a sense of delight and wonder for the overlooked treasures of the past. In this age of disposable culture, I find it fulfilling to craft enduring works of art that celebrate the inherent value of every object, no matter its age or condition.

Through my jewelry, I invite others to join me on this voyage of rediscovery—to witness the beauty that emerges when we dare to see beyond the surface and embrace the magic of transformation. In honoring my hometown heritage, I pay homage to the resilience of the human spirit and the timeless allure of reinvention.

Tess Blum

Board Member / Artist Member

Tess Blum has been creating art in one form or another her entire life. Originally from Philadelphia, Tess studied Textile Design at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science and fine art drawing and painting at Muhlenberg College. After successful careers in both textile design and teaching college art classes for ten years, Tess is focusing on her own original art style, including painting, mosaics, and stained glass. Offering a wide range of artistic media and techniques, Tess shows her art here in Florida at Butterfield Garage Art Gallery in Saint Augustine and ArtWorks DeLand.

Her artwork combines precise planning with the surprise results made possible by letting the materials guide the way. In mosaics, the glass is often cut to very defined shapes, but sometimes it is the “found” piece that guides the art to completion. The play of reflection vs. dullness and texture vs. sheen in each piece of glass helps to create the perfect medium for exploring the natural beauty of her surroundings in Florida. Sometimes referred to as “paintings made of glass,” these works often fool the observer into thinking the piece is a painting from a distance, only to discover intricately cut, tiny pieces of glass make up the detail in the work.

Tess is now offering classes in mosaics, stained glass, and various painting methods in her beautiful downtown Deland studio. To learn more about Tess, her artwork, and classes, follow her on Instagram @tessblumart or check her website at www.tessblumart.com.

Judi Bradford headshot

Judi Bradford

Artist Member

Judi Bradford is an award-winning artist with decades of experience. She has participated in museums, galleries, exhibitions and festivals along the eastern seaboard and taught drawing and painting at all the museums in Key West, where she lived for 40 some years. She creates acrylic and watercolor paintings, multi-media drawings, fiber art, and menu and book illustrations. She now lives in the beautiful subtropical forest and natural springs area of central Florida with her husband and two lively cats.

With an arts undergraduate degree and graduate work at East Carolina University, she also learned from many independent courses and workshops in experimental photographic techniques, visual arts, fiber surface treatments.

Judi has participated in numerous exhibits and festivals, including the ACAC Lincoln Center festival, Piccolo Spoleto, the Studios of Key West and more. She was a partner in three galleries in Key West, illustrated several books and was a studio artist at The Studios of Key West for 5 years.

Judi has been involved in numerous solo and group juried exhibitions over the years, acquiring awards, grants and honors. Notably she received the inaugural Jack Baron Memorial Award and Honorarium in 2005. She won a juried artist residency at Hickory Knob Resort State Park in SC.

Her lively and playful inks and watercolors and colorful acrylics emerge from observations of the natural world and people around her.

Tom

Tom Burns

Artist Member

Tom’s “canvas” is a walking cane and his “paintbrush” is his imagination. His work is characterized by the use of familiar objects applied to the common walking cane creating a functional and amusing art form.

With a background in tools and materials, he is able to uniquely assemble often discarded items into fun and entertaining walking canes. Each cane is made with no set plan or design. It develops in the assembly process.

Tom has lived in DeLand for the past nine years after migrating from the Midwest. His passion for walking canes began four years ago when he needed one himself. Since then, his canes have been in local art shows and galleries.

His canes are sometimes used as presentation awards or retirement gifts, as well as home decor. Other times they have been made to suit someone’s personal interests.

His work has helped make using a cane stylish again.

Jeanna Carley

Jeanna Carley

Artist Member

Jeanna is a native Tennessean. Her appreciation and love for art has been consistently present in her life. For Jeanna, art is play, which likely stems from time spent repeatedly sorting her 62- count box of Crayola Crayons (with built-in sharpener) for hours on end as a child. She believes there is joy in playing with color while creating art and gratitude is often the motivator behind her pieces.

Jeanna studied Interior Design at the Art Institute of Atlanta. Years later, she relocated to Chicago where she worked in various design areas and became involved in theatre. She enjoyed all aspects including performing, directing, and set design. Jeanna is also a writer and photographer. She illustrates children’s books. She has published one historical fiction novel and two children’s books to date.

Jeanna and her husband moved to Deland in 2005, relocating their aviation business to Deland Airport. Jeanna continued her theatre experiences and was involved with many of the local theatres in Volusia County. In 2015, she wrote, produced, and directed a successful comedy stage production based on her experiences with the aviation community. It was performed at the historic Athens Theatre in Deland.

In 2018, Jeanna ended her time in theatre to become a full-time artist. She has participated in numerous juried art shows across the state. She gravitates toward mixed media but works with several other mediums, including watercolor, oil, and paper collage. She uses scribble art to keep her imagination fresh and generate new ideas for art. Her passion for repurposing often shows up in her work, which is a unique and tricky balance of abstract and whimsical. If her work makes you smile, then Jeanna will smile as well.

Joan Dominus

Joan Dominus (also known as Joan Zawadzki)

Board Member / Artist Member

I am a retired nurse by profession, but I have always been an artist in my heart.  I have been showing my art for the past 30 years.  At that time, I came upon a mixed media which I have continued to develop using photography, print transfer, and watercolor.  I enjoy photographing nature on a hike, scenes I see on a walk in the city, or along adventures of travel.  I take those images and then, using several steps, print them onto watercolor paper.  I then reinterpret the images using watercolor pencil.  Sometimes the images are collected in a collage.  I particularly enjoy working in mandalas which are created to express something I wish to share. 

I also work in collage as well as fine art photography.

Patti Downey

Patricia Downey

Board Member / Artist Member

I am Patricia Downey and I live in Deltona, FL.  I spend so much time in DeLand these days that I’m beginning to feel as if I live in both towns. I have been an artist since kindergarten. 

I became an Art teacher to make a living.  I enjoyed teaching elementary school, middle school and Vocational and Technical High School. There were many wonderful experiences throughout 27 years of teaching, including Teacher of the Year.

I snuck away from education long enough to work for a t-shirt company where I learned about air brush work, image production for lithographic reproduction, and had great fun.  I painted some billboards for politicians, too.  And even some signs for merchants in Cape May and Wildwood, NJ.

I studied many kinds of art after college, including Advertising Art, Oil Painting, Stained Glass making, computer technology, and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Finally, in my retirement, I get to experience painting as an artform.  This includes art shows, part ownership and participation in this Gallery, art clubs and art travels. Plein air painting is something I see on the horizon as well. I am blessed and happy to do these things.

I like painting most. I use acrylic paints which I have so much of.  I have also worked in watercolor, pastel, and recently in mixable water soluble oil paint, which is a newer form of oil paint.

My biggest challenge is what to paint. So I base my choices on what I see in nature that I find especially picturesque.  Then I photograph what I see and if the photo looks as good as I perceived it to be, I paint it.  I also take suggestions. I hope you can connect to my work.

Adele Gerbracht

Adele Gerbracht

Artist Member

Cement artist, Mixed media artist, Textile artist, Photographer, Vintage collector, Wife and mom. Lover of animals, flowers and trees, music and dance, a kayak trip in the springs, hanging with family and friends, and a good laugh.

Organic textures & repurposing inspires me to create art pieces from jewelry to wall art, from sculpture to home & garden décor using cement, mixed media, textiles and vintage items.

Katheryn Hammer-Witty

Artist Member

Katheryn Hammer-Witty is a retired educator who worked with exceptional students in the public school system, as well as, taught at the University of Central Florida and Nova University.  She spent her formative years between the mountains in West Virginia and the sunny beaches of Florida.   Katheryn has always had a love of travel and quest for adventure.    In retirement world travel has afforded her the opportunity to merge her artistic talent with her view of the world.  This appreciation of the aesthetic appeal of nature, foreign places, and culture  has greatly influenced her passion for painting.   Through observation, workshops, classes and working with Noreen Coup & Sally Sisler Cummings, she has developed an enthusiasm for Impressionism in oil with a palette knife.  Her world travels have provided the story to be revealed.

My passion for art offers me the “lens” by which I observe a scene in light, shadow, and color.  Painting provides the medium to create beyond the apparent.”

Tamela Koshiol

Artist Member

I am an abstract impressionistic artist and a designer. For me, creating art is an intimate process. I paint to find peace. I create to discover who I am and what I can accomplish. I want to always be learning! Every piece I paint or room I design is a reflection of what I love. It is what brings joy and happiness to my soul.

Working in acrylic and watercolor, my surroundings and landscapes are my biggest influences. I am passionate about color and family – everything for me is very connective. Colors and places are all memories for me.

Born and raised in Florida, I graduated from FSU in Interior Design. Now working primarily as an artist, I find great joy in painting artwork to fill a home for family to gather in, to laugh in, to love in, to cry in…my art has a sense of quietude that evokes stillness.

Maritza Longtin

Artist Member

For the artist, one of the most frightening or insecure moments is facing a blank canvas! As you face that canvas, hopefully, your mind has already formulated an image, a message, or a feeling you want to convey by way of your brush. For your own pleasure, and if all goes well, for your viewer as well.

Before I start to paint, I consider some important factors that will guide me. The overall design and the color palette, which includes the contrasts of light and dark – necessary to provide depth and interest. I believe my life had such a design that was woven into my early life without any understanding by my young mind. I was born in Cuba, an incredibly lush and beautiful island in the Caribbean. Many beautiful images from those early years are still in my mind today, still influencing my paintings in many ways. Those early years were filled with joy and happiness shared with my mother and father and sister. Perfection!

The passion for creating within an artist is a drive that is always there. Ideas come from many sources. I often spend days in my little studio because I “have to paint!” Many of my earlier paintings were oils but in the last few years I prefer to use acrylics. I discovered how much I enjoyed creating high intensity textures using different tools such as trowels and pallet knives along with my brushes. Color, and lots of it is something I must have!

Kim Martinez

Kim Martinez

Artist Member

If there is one thing that describes the persona of Kim Martinez, it is her desire to create. Instilled from an early age of drawing cartoons from the inside of matchbook covers; then graduating to pastels- Kim has dabbled in some form of creativity ever since she can remember. Her passion to find creativity in almost every aspect of her life has led to a diverse background. You name it, she’s probably dabbled in it.

Her professional background encompasses several creative aspects- from Las Vegas show production costumer and stagehand, muralist/decorative artist, stained glass artesian, Life Casting sculptor, crafts instructor with children, adults, and special needs individuals. This mostly self-taught artist has worked in a variety of mediums, but her true love is hand-building/sculpting with polymer clay.

Her clay work focuses mainly on the fun, whimsical side; with bright colors, patterns, unique totems, nature themes, mixed media, and anything fun that inspires her.

Kim has been involved in various art organizations with the likes of CIVA, Asheville River Arts District, Gathering of Artisans, A3L Art League and Gallery, Lakeland Farmers Market and community arts projects- in addition to hosting art retreat events through EDEN in the Mountains. She served as interim VP for A3L Art League in Old Fort, North Carolina.

Her most recent artistic endeavors are hosting her own Facebook clay group and being a member of Artworks Deland co-op gallery, where she sells her work and teaches fun clay projects.

Sandy Mason Clark

Sandy Mason Clark

Artist Member

Sandy has enjoyed drawing since she was a child in Baltimore Maryland. Not surprisingly, Art was Sandy’s favorite class in high school. She later took several art college classes. She has painted on an off throughout her adult life, taking private and organized classes in different parts of the country.

Sandy moved back to the Washington D.C. area several years ago. There she started a 20-year career in the real estate industry while raising her two children. During these years she attended painting classes with highly acclaimed art instructors at the Torpedo Factor/Art League in Alexandria Virginia. Sandy and her husband moved to DeLand in 2020, and she love all the natural beauty this area offers to explore.

Creating art brings Sandy great pleasure. It is the activity that takes her out of time and space, becoming totally absorbed in what she is creating. She enjoys exploring different mediums and styles including landscapes, still life, human and animal portraits. Sand loves to travel and has visited many countries. She draws from these experiences and the beauty she sees around her for her inspiration.

Sandy signs her work with her maiden name instead of her full name of Sandy Mason Clark.

Marie Menza

Marie Menza

Artist Member

After working 30 years for the USPS here in DeLand, and raising my two children, I retired in 2020. I started painting everything and anything in my garden, around my house, then inside my house with acrylics on canvas, canvas board, I sketched and drew on paper and wood. My inspirations come from nature and the local Florida waterways, springs, state parks, and the animals therein (birds, butterflies, seashells, beach waves, and flowers, but mostly birds). I find painting with acrylics to be therapeutic. I choose to paint nature using bright, vibrant color and bold strokes. I would eventually like to try other mediums of art including water color, mosaic, collage, gouche, and stained glass.

Diane Moore

Diane Moore

Artist Member

Diane Moore is a long-time educator and Pine Needle Basket artist living in Lake Helen, Florida. She is a self-taught basket maker who is passionate about making Florida history come alive through her pine needle creations. Throughout the past 20 years, she has participated in many fine arts and fine crafts festivals in Florida and North Carolina where she has won numerous awards; the most memorable being the Award of Merit at the annual DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts.

She describes her work as traditional with a contemporary flare.

She was recently one of the featured artists in an article entitled, Simple Reminders in the national publication, “Select Traveler Magazine”.

Because of her deep commitment to sharing, teaching, and preserving the unique heritage of pine needle basketry with generations to come, she frequently teaches pine needle basket classes for children and adults at her studio in Lake Helen and other central Florida locations. She will be teaching soon at ArtWorks DeLand art co-op where her work is currently on display.

Please visit her website for more information about classes and visiting her studio

in Lake Helen, FL.

Carissa Paige

Carissa Paige

Artist Member

Hi! I am Carissa Paige — intuitive voyager, visionary artist, diary keeper, kundalini yogi, creative guide, and homeschooling mother of two magical little boys. 

My creative practice has always been a way to document my inner-life, and is deeply spiritual at its core. I am investigative (like a journalist). I gather up clues, weave together disparate scraps of this or that, and turn it into medicine. It all started with poetry, dressing up in vintage clothing, and painting over self-portraits. 

My current mantras = Stand in Your Danger. . . Live Your Art. 

It doesn’t matter where you are, or where you’ve been, you can re-write your future at any moment! (I love to inspire / encourage people)

Tim Peterson Self Portrait

Tim Peterson

Artist Member

I paint outdoors on location (plein air) with fast drying oil paint on linen or cotton canvas.

I paint with large brushes to cover the canvas quickly. The large brushes also discourage me from fiddling with small details.

Most of my paintings I photograph and then print signed and numbered limited edition archival giclee reproductions.

Annika

Annika Sage

Artist Member

Annika is a nature lover above all else. Whether it be swimming in Deleon Springs, walking around downtown on a beautiful day, hiking on a mountain when traveling, she is in her happy place. Her art is a reflection of this love, as she is constantly on the lookout for wildflowers to press, and for bugs on the ground that have already naturally passed on. Then she carefully preserves these specimens using resin and turns them into wearable jewelry. Her favorite bug to find is cicadas, and favorite flower is plumeria! 

Annika has lived in DeLand all her life but loves to travel to other countries every spare moment she gets. She actually began making her butterfly earrings as a result of the first ever solo volunteer trip she took to Croatia, where she lived and worked on an organic farm for two months in exchange for room & board. The greenhouse that held the strawberries was built in such a way the summer butterflies would fly in through the door and not be able to figure out how to fly back out. She tried her best every evening to whoosh them out but inevitably every morning most had succumbed to their exhaustion. She began collecting the tiny treasures every day, in various cheese boxes, although at the time she didn’t know why! 

Annika slowly started making jewelry as gifts for friends and family after meeting a vendor at an art market, who encouraged her to start experimenting with resin and her bugs. Experiment she did, there were many failures and ruined wings, but in the end, she got a process down and applied for a spot at the Artisan Alley Friday night market and started going weekly to share her art. Even after selling her jewelry on the just the first night, Annika knew she was making something special. The connective magic of nature’s beauty brought awe and wonder to people in a way that motivated her to never stop creating, if she could make just one more person appreciate nature’s creations.

Sherrill Schoening

Artist Member

Art has always been a part of my life. As a child, surrounded by artistic adults, I had access to some very grown-up art supplies such as oil paints. My interest in art has never waivered and after completing my BA in Fine Art at Florida International University, I was able to jump-start a lifelong career as an artist. Let me interject that my schooling had taught me absolutely nothing about the business of the art world, in fact, quite the opposite, as “money shouldn’t matter, and one should just keep on creating”!

In the real world, leaving academia behind, I quickly realized that I needed to build a life that would support my art. Right out of art school I was hired by a studio that did hand painted fabrics and given the task of designing a line of silk fabrics for the interior design trade. Since textiles were my specialty, it was the perfect first job. Painting on silk became my passion and I started doing the art show circuit with my paintings. Not many people in the USA were using silk as their canvas back then, so I had a unique product to offer the public. I got to bypass the traditional gallery system for the most part and took my art on tour from Key West to Connecticut, selling directly to the customers for over 30 years. During that time, I did have some one person shows here and there. The Discovery Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Gold Leaf Gallery in DeLand, and others. But life on the road was profitable and I received many awards. The awards not only brought extra income, but also boosted me into the better shows. Festival of the Masters at Disney was one of those and they only showed artists who had major awards from other festivals.

With grandchildren entering the picture, I decided to give up the highway and took a job as the Education Curator at Ormond Memorial Art Museum. Now that I am semi-retired, I still do some freelance curating for the Museum. I curated a father-son show for Harry Messersmith and his father Fred, (postmortem); and a show called: “Mandalas: 4 Artists Enter the Circle”. That show featured the work of Jorge Fernandini, Dan Gunderson, Paul Heussenstamm and me.

My current work features Mandalas using acrylics with mixed media, and I was fortunate to be included in an invitational show in Joshua Tree, CA, which ended in January of 2020. That museum show featured some of the top Mandala artists in the country. I believe that I will enjoy the experience of being an exhibiting member of ArtWorks DeLand.

Shirley Suski

Artist Member

I have been fascinated with making things from clay for as long as I can remember. When I was a small child, my mother would make little animals out of modeling clay and “make them talk”.
It was my favorite playtime. Later we took clay sculpture classes at the park district together.

BACKGROUND:
I was born in Springfield, Illinois and grew up in Chicago. took art throughout high school and college and graduated with a BS in science and minor in art. Eventually I moved with my family to a farmette in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, a small town on the Mississippi. It was a more relaxed atmosphere, and I bought a small kiln and started sculpting. The local art gallery encouraged me and sold some of my pieces. I enrolled in pottery classes at a nearby community college and after a time, opened a small gift shop/gallery on the river called “River’s Edge”. I taught clay classes to children in the back of my shop and wrote grants for “Artist in Residence” programs at my children’s school. The Mississippi River gave me the opportunity to observe many types of birds and wildlife, which influenced my art. In 1998 our old farmhouse burned down while we were visiting my mother in Chicago. It seemed like a good time to start over. My family moved to Florida. I taught myself raku and loved playing with fire. I began to do fine art shows in 2000 with my pottery and sculpture. I took sculpture classes at night at Crealde School of Art with the help of a Cheryl Bogdanowitch scholarship. I took a hiatus from shows for a few years because of some life circumstances, but never lost the burning desire to create. I took some classes at Maitland Art Center in alternative firing and fell in love with saggar firing,

PROCESS:
I use wadded up newspaper and masking tape to create armatures for my animal slab sculptures. I like to show movement, fantasy, and character in my pieces. I recently began raku or saggar firing my sculptures and coil pots. I love the primitive look it gives. My bark vases are slabbed over cans. I hit them with a favorite piece of bark and a walnut shell and add woodsy elements to resemble the tree trunks in my yard. The bark is rubbed with oxides and the sculpted flowers, leaves and birds are accented with glaze. I fire slowly over a couple days.

I hope my art “talks to you”.

Peggy Toussant

Peggy Toussant

Board Member / Artist Member

Through a special art teacher friend, I learned how to put oil paint to canvas. I painted a picture of our house for my husband. It brought us both so much joy and opened this whole new world to me. I couldn’t get enough! But it was when I first saw the magic of watercolors flow across wet paper that changed everything! That was at a week-long workshop on St. Simon Island. Afterward I studied with Jennie Szaltis of Jacksonville for ten years, attended workshops by professional artists the likes of David Becker and Lian Zheng, became a member of the Jacksonville Watercolor Society, and painted, painted, painted!

The act of planning, then painting, watching, waiting, allowing the colors to interact – sometimes with surprising and unexpectedly marvelous results – is what motivates me to continue and never tire of this medium. I also learned the technique of painting with watercolor on a specially prepared canvas using an absorbent clay to make the surface porous enough to take in the paint. I draw inspiration mostly from nature, sometimes architecture, or the human form. I’m most fascinated by, and am constantly trying, to capture the light and reveal its source. Often the trick is to leave some part of the paper unpainted! If I’ve been able to have someone stop and say “oh, how lovely!”, even if they don’t know why, then I’ve been successful.

I’ve always loved to paint and draw, had a knack for crafts and sewing, and was never happy unless I was creating something. I’m also a musician of the flute and various other instruments. After “living life” with my husband and three daughters, enjoying my grandchildren, having had a run in the medical field for ten years, then teaching school, working with after-school programs and music programs I know how valuable creativity is to the brain and to the very spirit of who we are. Now, as I enter my new phase as a widow, I carry on with a new story to tell. We must feed and nurture our creativity at every age, and stage of our lives, as individuals and as a society. Everyone has a unique voice and a beautiful story to tell, no matter how they tell it. That beauty will be what defines us in the end.

Stephanie Zing

Stephanie Zing

Artist Member

Stephanie grew up in New Mexico surrounded by the mystical and artistic influence of Santa Fe and Taos. She briefly studied art at the University of New Mexico and has studied with artist and author Stewart Cubley in immersive art experiences over the last 20 years. Largely self-taught, she has taken online and in person classes with a wide range of artists nationwide. She has traveled and lived in many places adding to the rich diversity of her art styles. Art influences: Howard Finster, Jackson Pollock, Henry Matisse, Dale Chihuly, Willem de Kooning, Salvador Dali, Tracy Emin, Michael DeMeng and the Dadaist movement.

She works in multiple mediums and styles. She paints using high pigment tempera, watercolor and acrylic. Her painting styles range from “modern primitive with a spiritual twist” to landscapes to abstract artworks depending on the medium. She works in fused, stained, mosaic and enamel glass on metal and is a metalsmith and jewelry designer. She loves mixing mediums and experimenting to find out what will happen “if…” A significant body of her work is in collage and assemblage of found objects. She delights in finding the story that emerges as unrelated items come together to form a cohesive image or character. She will be teaching a variety of classes at Artworks Deland. She has taught at Neusole Glassworks, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Deland Museum of Art and other venues and provides classes and retreats through Bohemian Art Café.

The process of Assemblage by Stephanie Zing, Bohemian Art Café
When I put together an assemblage there are some specific steps that I take:

  1. Curate—This is one of the most important parts of the process of creating an assemblage. I pull out all my frames, several bins of found metal which include everything from broken household items to disassembled mechanical
    parts, springs, screws, and other rusty bits. I also pull out several totes that house a variety of broken jewelry, beads, small doodads and what most people would consider trash. The curation process can take several hours or several days as I begin choosing pieces that interest me in the moment. Sometimes I must further disassemble something to get to the bit I want to use, clean something up, or take it into a more degraded/rustic look. From multiple bins and boxes, I generally end up with a small pile of treasures from which to mix and match things. As I move pieces around, a story begins to unfold in my mind or I notice that there is a theme, an idea, icon or story rumbling around in my
    head as I curate.
  2. Painting—I paint using glazes, transparent acrylics and occasionally a heavier hand with opaque acrylics over a coat of gesso or matte medium. This goes on the frame and then I might add more paint, mark making and elements after the piece is further along the assemblage process. Collage—I have a large collection of vintage photographs, a large collection of faces from magazines, old books and personal photographs. The faces get altered so they are unrecognizable. I add elements to enhance the icon or character that I feel is emerging in the story of the artwork.
  3. Putting it all together—using a variety of adhesives, clays, metal cold connections and wire–the various pieces get put together on the substrate and framed. There is still curation occurring at this stage as pieces sometimes don’t make the cut or something gets added to change the flavor of the project. I also may add paint or do some mark making after all of the pieces are put down. Details are added to provide a sense of completion. The name for each piece has to do with the story or character that has introduced itself to me as I work on it. A single piece can take weeks to complete.