10 artists open their studios along Vero’s Art Trail

While the rest of the art world focused on Miami’s Art Basel, ten local artists, members of the Vero Beach Art Club, put their work and their studios on display at last Saturday’s Art Trail, a stimulating, inspiring, annual whirlwind road trip through Indian River County.

Our day started on the Barrier Island at the home of Annette Winkler, once a critical care nurse in Berlin and Frankfurt. Winkler moved to Vero Beach with her family in 1996 and became a full-time artist. Many of her brilliantly colored, award-winning oil, acrylic, and mixed-medium pieces have been inspired by the flora and fauna right outside her sunny studio.

Next was the studio of Elaine Apollo, who makes unique beaded jewelry in her South Beach home. Apollo moved to Vero from Santa Fe, and her routine includes long early morning beach walks to get her creativity in gear.

Donna Dodderage’s cozy Central Beach house and studio compelled participants to rest. Dodderage said her routine is contemplative and includes not fighting her insomnia, with some of her best work completed early in the morning, in her pajamas. Her dreamy oil paintings are intuitive and engaging. She is currently working on a series of shoe portraits.

Further north on A1A is the Indian River Shores studio of Paul Davis, born and educated in Boston. Davis, a former electrical engineer, paints serene marine art in his meticulous garage studio, just steps from the ocean. He has exhibited at several local venues, including the A.E. Backus Museum in Fort Pierce and the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

Across the Wabasso Bridge is the tucked-away home of Krystal Greene, who makes gorgeous, whimsical fiber art. She hand-dyes and processes the fiber by hand, blending silk and wool to make a cloud like substance that is a pleasure to touch.

Sara Shankland creates gorgeous jewelry in her Riverwind home. She describes the process as combining the playful malleability of clay with the priceless durability of silver and gold, creating sophisticated, wearable art. She also uses cultured pearls, sea coral, and semi-precious stones to create exquisite necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings.

Even before you see her art, you know something good is going on in Minakshi De’s home studio, as spicy fragrances emanate from her Vero Lago home. Much of De’s work honors her Indian heritage and is characterized by gestural brush work, influenced by the style of Indian miniature paintings from the 11th and 12th centuries. She pulls in elements from architecture and Hinduism to create haunting, beautiful paintings.

Al Gustave works out of his garage studio, making lovely wooden bowls, lamps, and vases, often using local Indian rosewood that he salvages after storms. Gustave creates small decorative boxes in exotic woods, as well as larger pieces of furniture. On Saturday, many people were buying Christmas ornaments and toys made on his lathe.

Rene Guerin’s unique 1956 architect-designed home and studio are tucked back into a tranquil wooded area. Her works in oil have an unusual dreamlike quality because of the tone of her colors. Although primarily an oil painter, Guerin also sculpts.

In south Vero, Michael J. Bridge’s home is a seashell extravaganza, with shells everywhere, including on a pink rocking chair and exquisite coffee table. He finds many of the shells on local beaches.

The Art Trail provides an opportunity to explore new places and see things differently, as well as contribute to a wonderful cause. Money raised by the Vero Beach Art Club at this annual cultural marathon goes toward scholarships for local graduating high students who wish to pursue an arts-based higher education path.

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