Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We are so excited about our Artist of the Month feature, Elizabeth Fontaine-Barr.  Elizabeth is a wonderfully talented artist and was just recently featured in the Westchase Fifth Third Bank branches.  She also has a solo show running at Hillsborough Community College in the Culinary Arts Gourmet Room!  It really is a treat to see Elizabeth's paintings in person.  So without further delay, here's Elizabeth's interview.

 Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in New Orleans and lived there most of my life until moving to Tampa in my late 30's. I feel so fortunate to have grown up in such a unique and creative city. I'm married to a musician/financial adviser and we have one daughter who just started college this fall getting her BFA in dance. I'd say we've got all the arts covered.

Question: What first made you want to become an artist?

It has always been a part of my life. As a little girl I loved to draw and doodle. It was something I always thought I would do. After graduating from college with a major in painting, the "making a living" reality set in, so I stopped that pursuit.  It has been wonderful to finally get back to my passion an d sharing it with others.

Question: Describe your creative process.

I love to paint landscapes and I love intense color. I'm always working on 2-3 canvases at a time and often its a "not knowing" process. Sometimes I use my travel photos as a trigger to create a place but it doesn't really look like that. I want it recognizable but not quite real. The mystery and beauty of nature is what I'm aiming to capture. I scumble paint onto a canvas and then feel what is right for the scene with color and shapes on top of that layer.

Question: What are your favorite books, movies, groups, web sites?

My reading is usually non-fiction educational stuff- art books, magazines, health. I love all kinds of movies except super creepy and gory ones. So all the vampire/walking dead stuff isn't me at all. I'm not much of a computer person.- I'd rather do things with my family or friends- go see a movie, ballet, or paint. I'm not a solitary painter. I love to paint with other artists.

Question: What groups are you affiliated with?

Westchase Artists Society, member of Tampa Museum and Morean Art Center.

Question: In ten years I'd like to be...

Well known as an accomplished artist, healthy and active, still traveling a lot with my husband and living close to our daughter wherever she is.

Right now I am honored to be the Artist in Residence at the HCC Dale Mabry Campus. You can see my solo show by making reservations with the Gourmet Room for lunch or dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays at diningroomreservations@hccfl.edu or call 813-253-7000. The show is up thru the second week of December.

Elizabeth thank you so much for the interview and the fabulous images!!!  Check back next month for another Artist of the Month feature.

Monday, October 07, 2013


For the month of October, our Artist of the Month is Marilyn Chalk.  Marilyn came to our group as a new member this year.  One of the things that makes for a great group - members with different experiences.  Marilyn adds to our eclecticticity (I know it's not a word).  To find out more about Marilyn, read on!

Tell us a little about yourself:
My husband and I are New England natives and having left the cold winters of the great northeast, are now enjoying living in Palm Harbor, Florida. 

What made you want to become an artist?
While married, raising 2 sons and pursuing a career with United Airlines, somewhere along the way, I realized I had an insatiable appetite for art.  I began taking art classes as a social outlet, which later led me to a Bachelor of Art Degree from Simmons College in Boston, and years later to an association with the Museum of Fine Arts also in Boston.

 Favorite Books and Movies

            Girl with the Pearl Earring”, both the movie and the book, give insight to what life may have been like for an artist living centuries ago, as well as a wonderful introduction to the beautiful works of Vermeer.
            I like books and movies that excite the imagination, challenge the brain and take you to another place and time, which pretty much encompasses quite a bit.

What groups do you belong to?

Westchase Artist Society
Dunedin Fine arts Center

Tarpon Springs Art Association

Happy, healthy and still painting!

Marilyn, thanks for the interview!  Another fantastic artist from the Westchase Artists Society.  For our next Artist of the Month, be sure to check back next month.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

September Artist of the Month

For the month of September our Artist of the Month is the wonderful Sonia Lee.  Sonia has quickly become a very active member of our group.  So it's only fitting that Sonia is honored with the title this month.  So without further ado, the following is Sonia's interview.  Enjoy!

Sonia, tell us a little about yourself.

SL:  I'm a Florida native born right here in Tampa.  My husband of 42 years and I have one daughter and two beautiful granddaughters.

What made you want to become an artist:

SL:  I've always had a love of painting and drawing but I was always told that I had to get a "real job."  It was in my adult life (16 years ago) that I decided to attend Hillsborough Community College and take art lessons  Encouragement from my art teacher was the motivating factor to continue learning and painting.  I am now pursuing a career as a professional artist.

What are your favorite books, movies, groups, and websites?

SL:  Anything in the sci-fi genre.  I love a good scare or an air of mystery.  I also like gaming websites.

What groups are you associated with?

SL:  Westchase Artists Society.


In ten years, I'd like to be...

SL:  Enjoying painting as much as I do today.

Thank you so much Sonia!  What a cool surprise that you're a fellow sci-fi fan.  You learn something every day.  Please be sure to check back for our October Westchase Artist of the Month.

Monday, July 29, 2013

August Artist of the Month

It's been a few months since we've had a featured Artist of the Month, so there's no time like the present to get things rolling again.  Our artist getting us back on track is Pat Kruse.  A relatively new member to the Westchase Artists Society, it's great to get to know Pat a little bit better.  Please enjoy reading about Pat as well as her art work.

1.  Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I recently moved to Westchase after having lived my entire life in Ohio.  In Ohio, I had my own business as an interior designer.  I have three married children and four beautiful grandsons.   And I love spending time with my family.

2.  What made you want to become an artist?
I had an Aunt that was very artistic, so I had lessons from a very early age.  We started by drawing, then went on to oils, then acrylics, pencil, and my current love - watercolors.  Nature and landscapes are my primary focus, but I will try just about any subject.

3.  Describe your creative process.
I work primarily from photographs, starting with a precise drawing.  Watercolors are more difficult to correct so accuracy from the start can be critical.  I love texture in paintings and strive to try different ways to create it in my pieces.

4.  What are your favorite movies, books, or groups?
Besides painting I love to read mysteries.  Likewise I enjoy movies that keep me on the edge of my seat and light comedies.

5.  What groups are you affiliated with?
Since moving to Westchase I have joined the YMCA and The Westchase Artists Society.

6.  In ten years where do you see yourself?
In ten years I hope to still be painting, but at an even higher level!  After all there is always something new to learn.

Thanks Pat for taking the time to answer our questions and share your fantastic watercolors! 

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Carter's Gallery Presents The Westchase Artists Society!

May 4th was the Artist's Reception held at Carter's Gallery.  Reporting in and what a great reception and what a great show!  It's so much fun when our group gets together and we do put on a great party, if we say so ourselves.  Lots of appetizers accompanied by a wonderful lemon and cucumber infused water provided by Carter's Gallery.  Our hosts have been so gracious and we're so appreciative to Michelle and her crew for the hard work that they put into seting up the show. 

Lots of hard work went into the planning of the reception, and Susan Whitaker, stepped up and did a fantastic job.  Toni Crosby helped to coordinate the food and not a soul went hungry on Toni's watch.  Teresa Trubilla, our fearless leader and President, did a spectacular job in getting the word out to the press and online venues.  I think everyone can agree that we had a wonderful flow of people coming through and loving our work. 

Carter's Gallery is a wonderful new gallery that has a spectacular selection of unique, high quality art, home decor and gift items.  I got the feeling that I was walking through an art festival, but without the heat and humidity.  They've spent a lot of time searching for just the right pieces to make their gallery special.  It's great not to have to drive over to St. Pete to find that special something.  And, with the addition of the Westchase Artists Society's selections, what better place to shop for Mother's Day, Father's Day and any other holiday coming up. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 2013 Artist of the Month

This month's Westchase Artists Society Artist of the Month is the wonderfully talented Nancy Cross.  Nancy is a relatively new member to the group and a fabulous addition to the club.  Without delay, here's Nancy's interview:

1.  Tell us a little about yourself.
I like to paint ocean scenes and am now interested in painting birds. I paint in acrylics. I also like to garden. I am active in my church, Lutheran Church of Our Savior.

2. What made you want to become an artist?
Vacations on the California coast inspired me. And, I love color, especially the cool colors.

3. Describe your creative process.
I am inspired by photos I have taken at the beach or pictures of lighthouses. I usually paint on a 16x20 canvas. That seems about the right size for me.

4. What are your favorite movies, books or groups?
The movies I like to see are romantic comedies. Books would be mysteries. Past groups have been art leagues in California and Louisiana. in Tampa, it would be the garden club, the Gadabouts and church groups.

5. What groups are you affiliated with?
Right now, I am affiliated with the Westchase Artists Society.

6. In 10 years, where do you see yourself?
In 10 years, I hope to still be painting and improving my work.

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 2012 Artist of the Month


For the month of November's Westchase Artist of the Month it's our pleasure to present to you Linita Calvacca.  Linita is a relatively new member to the Westchase Artists Society, so it's great to get to know her a little bit better through this feature.  Enjoy!
Question:Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have lived in the Tampa Bay area all of my life. I am married to a wonderful man Michael Calvacca we have a wonderful son Richie he married a beautiful woman Amy ....and now the reward is two grandsons Zachary and Dylan. All of my spare time is spent enjoying life as a Nana and as a daughter to my 83 year old mother. In a few years I plan on retiring from my now 27 year career as an accountant, at that time I want to devote time to my love of art. I have a beautiful little dog "Chloe Bella" that I enjoy.
Question: What first made you want to become an artist?
At an early age I was exposed to art. My father, although he never became able monetarily to live off of or support his family from his art work, always enjoyed drawing, painting and wood carving. After retiring my father was able to enjoy his continued love of painting and did sell many of his works. Also my brother was an artist that did show and sell many of his paintings in Manhattan where he lived most of his life. I have always admired and felt envious of anyone that could put on paper or canvas something beautiful...I wanted that ability.
Question: Describe your creative process.
I began studying under Vanessa Montenegro about a year ago after looking online to find someone to teach me to draw from photos. She did just that! In the past six months I have been commissioned to do several drawings of pets, children and family portraits from photos and at this point have sold many of my paintings. I am now working with acrylics and painting original landscapes. One of my landscapes  "Lettuce Lake Boardwalk" was one of 39 paintings selected to be exhibited at The Tampa Bay Lightning Forum for the Lightning season. I currently have a website Http://Artbylinita.com/
                                                                                                                                                                      Question: Favorite books, movies, groups, websites?
I love reading my favorite author is John Steinbeck "Grapes of Wrath" "The Red Pony" "Of Mice and Men" another favorite book is "Geisha"
Movies my favorite is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or anything with Tom Hanks "Big" "Forrest Gump" "Cast Away""Sleepless in Seattle" any an all.
Any groups affiliated with Moffitt Hospital and All Childrens Hospital ....
Websites..Animal Planet... National geographics.....Blink....Cafe Press......Etsy
Question: In ten years I'd like to be...
Wow can't really say ....I know I still want to be a wife, mother, daughter, Nana and maybe in 15 or 20 years what would you call me a Great Nana ....wait I already am....lol
Also hopefully I will have many other proud moments in the art world.
Thank you so much Linita.  Great interview.  Stay tuned for upcoming Artists of the Month.