There are several places I’ve been through the years that I can’t get out of my system. Castine, ME, Amsterdam, NL, Bruges, BE, and Key West, FL. I was lucky to be in the Keys in the early 80s, a little late to the party, Michael came many times in the 70s, I wish I would have seen it them. But even in the 80s, when we lived on Big Pine, KW was still pretty funky. And I still find some vestiges of that today. I love everything about it, the water, the sun, Old Town, the art, the people, all keep calling me back.
I’ve photographed pretty much everything in KW at least once and done paintings of some. But I still find something new each time. I love the weird and wonderful.
What I REALLY love is walking the Old Town neighborhoods and seeing the conch houses and the flowers and and gardens around them, the shadows from the bright sun and the interesting fences cut into different shapes.
On the way down I like to take the Card Sound Road and see if Alabama Jacks looks any different. It does not! However these days there are as many BMWs as there are bikes. One of my favorite stories about it, I’ve told many times, is about our crazy friend Daryl who lived in on a boat in a not so nice marina in Little Havana in Miami. We were going to Key West and on the way stopped at the Bar. There was a “no swearing” sign with a jar full of quarters. In his usual fashion Daryl’s language was peppered with four letter words. The waitress pointed at the sign with her other hand out. Daryl slapped a $20 in it and said “come back when I’ve used that up and I’ll give you another.”
Every year i walk up Olivia Street near the cemetery and see what new addition is on the directional sign there. It changes a little every year. I Love it! I take photos of directional signs all over the world but this one is my favorite of them all.
This years visit was Michaels kind of visit, more time sitting at the pool and reading. I’m trying to resist buying any more art right now, instead I bought books.
The book about No Name takes place in 1935 when the hurricane destroyed Flaglers railroad he was building through the Keys – we lived about 1/4 of a mile from No Name on Big Pine. I drove out to the end of the main road when the Ferry Terminal was. The island now has electric lines going out there, which only happened in 2013! But it’s still a place where people live that want to live on the edge. No way would I live there! There really has been little development on Big Pine in the past 30 years with the middle of the island still looking uninhabited with dirt roads to no where.
The second book is about a guy, Karl Tanzler, also known as Count Carl von Cosel, a radiologist in Key West, Florida, who developed an obsession for one of his patients, Elena Milagro Hoyos. Elena died from tuberculosis in 1931. With her parents’ permission von Cosel had an above ground mausoleum built for her. He visited the tomb every night and by 1933 he had taken the body home. Creepy!! The author is the husband of artist Helen Harrison, and co owner of Harrison Gallery, that I visit every year.
The third book is a collection of stories by people that lived in Key West during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, with all the wild, and beautiful things that went on then. Its written by the wife of a guy Michael worked for on Big Pine.
One day I spent the afternoon with artist friend Mike Rooney and his wife Annette, listening to Mike play at the Pineapple Pool.
This visit was full of art, I visited all the galleries, went to a street fair and saw friend Tommy with his beautiful wood working, attended a huge show with a painter, a metal worker, a wood sculptor, and a collection of art “after” Mario Sanchez at the Studios of Key West. I met a lady in a shop who told me about an opening for her husband at Salt Gallery so I attended that and met some more new people. Went to the opening of a show at Jag Gallery, by Lincoln Perry, Muralist, then went to hear him speak at the Studios of Key West.
I painted pottery, started painting a couple watercolors, sat by the pool and on the beach, read a lot and rested.
These are some of my paintings of Key West I’ve done previously.
The trip home was fun as well. We stopped at the Flea Market on Big Pine that has been going for over 40 years.
Then we visited the Design District and Wynwood in Miami.
We even got to see one of Buckys geodesic domes, quite an entrance to a parking garage.
Jeanie Taylor Folk Art Gallery in Sanford is well worth a trip if you are anywhere close. And the Downtown of Sanford has really taken off the past few years, very nice!
Then we spent the night with friends in Gainesville, also former gallery owners whose gallery was on Los Olas in Ft Lauderdale and had a wonderful evening talking shop and reminiscing, and enjoying their fabulous art collection. Then I dropped my friend off in Columbia and spent the next night with my niece.
Where to next? I found out about a clay workshop in Traverse City Michigan at the end of the month with an artist Michelle Tock York, who I’ve admired for years, and I am also fortunate to have two pieces of her work. I will be going off to that, not really the time I would pick to go to Michigan but what can you do!