Discover Local Artists: GardensArt

GardensArt presents a juried exhibition by members of Artists of Palm Beach County, Feb. 24 through April 8. The exhibition features 34 works in a variety of mediums by 22 local artists, including Alvaro Rojas, Patricia Whiting, Lynn Morgan, Jean Hutchinson, Patricia Levey, Tracy Rosof-Petersen and Lucy Keshavarz.

Lucy Keshavarz

Lucy Keshavarz, of Palm Beach Gardens, has always felt the need to create. “My master was and still is nature; I am humbled by the mystery of its balance and spirit,” she said. Creativity, questioning and the desire to change things for the better have always been strong traits in her personality.

“While I need time in the studio to experiment and create, my artistic endeavors in clay, glass and urban refuse, go beyond the studio realm as I can see and feel a connection to most anything and everyone.

Lucy Keshavarz, "Wrapped Cylinder" Printed Clay Series, Glazed Clay: slab/coil construction, 11 by 10 by 9 inches, $750.
Lucy Keshavarz, “Wrapped Cylinder” Printed Clay Series, Glazed Clay: slab/coil construction, 11 by 10 by 9 inches, $750.

“This has been quite overwhelming in the past, but I have finally learned to focus my energy by submitting to my creative nature and trusting in the creative journey.”

Elle Schorr
Elle Schorr

Elle Schorr, of Lantana, said that while walking down a street, the reflections in shop windows continually bombard her with divergent perceptions of reality. “Past and present, shadow and light, nature and artifact, inside and out battle against each other for my attention. I learn to see past these intrusions and focus on the objects within.”

Elle Schorr, “The Good Life: Atlantic Avenue,” digital photograph, wood frame, 24 by 18 inches, $500.
Elle Schorr, “The Good Life: Atlantic Avenue,” digital photograph, wood frame, 24 by 18 inches, $500.

When she walks down a street, camera in hand, those fragments of objects, buildings, trees, lights, sky and clouds, dance in the windows, she said, and create images with new dimensions of meaning and mood. “I am fascinated by the window dressing, the bits of fantasy amid the realities of our modern world. The windows beckon: ‘Come in. Peace, pleasure and adventure await inside.’”

Maxine Schreibner
Maxine Schreiber

In 2001, West Palm Beach resident Maxine Schreiber began painting again and the next year was accepted as a juried artist member of Women in the Visual Arts. “My landscape paintings have been exhibited in a number of juried shows throughout Palm Beach County including the Armory Art Center, Palm Beach County Art in Public Places at Palm Beach International Airport, and Northwood University, where I won First Place 2D in 2004.

“In 2005, I closed my psychotherapist private practice to devote myself to oil painting. I enjoy painting landscapes, house portraits, and collage-style works.”

Maxine Schreiber, “Remembering Italy,” by Maxine Schreiber, collage painting, oil on canvas, 24 by 30 inches, $2,000.
 “Remembering Italy,” by Maxine Schreiber, collage painting, oil on canvas, 24 by 30 inches, $2,000.

The exhibition is at Palm Beach Gardens City Hall, 10500 Military Trail, Palm Beach Gardens. An opening reception is on Saturday, March 13 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the night of the City Hall’s Dancing on the Plaza. The show is open during working hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. For information, visit GardensArt

Discover Local Artists: at the Fine Craft Show

The Palm Beach Fine Craft Show, March 5-7, offers works in twelve different categories, with art objects ranging from sculptures made of wood, glass, paper, metal and mixed media by some of the top artisans in the country, many of whom include among their list of collectors the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, Art Institute of Chicago and the White House.

Helen Otterson

Included in these artists is Helen Otterson, of West Palm Beach, who creates biomorphic forms stemming from her interest in the human encounter with disease.

“Disease is an experience that radically transforms life through its ability to force a discussion about human suffering and survival,” she said. “I have witnessed how a devastating disease, while excruciating, can change one’s life in a positive and powerful way.”

Personal experience and microscopic slides of human tissue influenced her textured organic forms  that explore the relationship between health and disease.

“Momentary Harmony,” 17 by 14 by 12 inches, ceramic $2,200

“My sculptures explore the temporary symbiotic relationship between healthy and deadly cells. My reference material is alluded to through the use of glass, which parallels the qualities seen in the images seen thru the microscope. The highly textured surfaces are reminiscent of microscopic textures and imply the growth of disease while yellow, red and amber allude to bodily fluids. Concurrently, the bright quality of the colors used reflects the positive consequences that disease can cause.”

“Succulent Flora,” 14 by 11 by 12 inches, ceramic $2,200

The 7th Annual Palm Beach Fine Craft Show is held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach. General admission tickets are $15 and $13 for seniors.
Show hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. For information, call (561) 366-3000.

“Untitled,” 12 by 6 by 7 inches, ceramic $2,200

Palm Beach Real Estate: Nine pending sales in January

for single-family homes, could be a good sign

Last January, the harbinger of a slow season, only one home sold in Palm Beach. It was priced for $2 million. This January, two single-family homes sold– for $3 million and $8 million – and nine homes went under contract, generating cautious optimism among local realtors and analysts, along with some misgivings.

“Some weakness still lies ahead for high-end properties, like those in Palm Beach,” said Brad Hunter, director of consulting for national housing data consulting firm, Metrostudy, South Florida Division. “That’s simply because of the poor performance for the economy in general.

“However, the rally in the stock market may provide a boost to the Palm Beach market. There are a lot of mixed indicators — some positive, some negative. But it’s encouraging that there’s a pipeline of pending sales.”

Overall, according to the National Association of Realtors and the Florida Association of Realtors, from December 2008 compared to December 2009, the number of home sales increased nationally (15 percent), for Florida (15.5 percent) and for Palm Beach County (33 percent).

For Palm Beach, on the other hand, the number of single-family home sales went down, from 104 in 2008 to 81 in 2009, according to Leslie Roberts Evans, a Palm Beach attorney who tracks and reports sales of single-family Palm Beach homes and condominiums in his Evans Report Analysis.

“The gains reported [by the Realtor associations] are due partially to the First-Time Homebuyer Credit and partially to the fact that home prices are down drastically because of foreclosures and short sales,” Evans said. “Neither of those applies to home sales in Palm Beach.

“November and December were slow in Palm Beach,” he added. “In January, there was a marked increase in activity, which will reflect an improved first quarter versus last year’s first quarter.” First quarter 2009, he reported, six homes sold in the $2 million to $6 million range.

Scott M. Gordon, an agent with Fite Shavell & Associates, represented the buyer in the first sale in January, an $8 million deal. “This January, compared to last January, it’s like night and day,” he said. “I’m showing every day. On my new listing, 14 people came through in a two-hour period.”

Gordon’s buyer, Campana PB Trust, a Southport, Conn., corporation, purchased 120 Canterbury Lane, owned by Bruce A., James M. and Robert S. Schwartz, represented by Ned Monell of Sotheby’s International Realty. The property, which closed on January 13, was listed for $9.9 million.

“A lot of people have been sitting on the sidelines,” Gordon said. “Now, they don’t think prices are going to go drastically down from here, and they see an upside in the values of properties, which are selling for a lot less even as late as September, 2008. There are a lot of good buys out there.”

January’s second sale, 146 Australian Avenue, owned and listed by Michael J. Flynn, sold on January 28 for $3 million. It was listed for $3.395 million. Michael Montgomery, an agent with Jeffrey A. Cloninger & Associates, Inc., represented the buyers, Patrick and Amber Turner.

“December and January are always slow times,” Jeffrey Cloninger said. “To have that number of sales pending is a great sign.

“We’ll have to see what happens this season, but my gut feeling is that we have hit bottom in Palm Beach. Prices have adjusted and 146 Australian is a good example of that – It was priced right and sold within 12 percent of the asking price. Buyers are pleasantly surprised at the values that are out there.”

Hunter notes that although buyers are not as adamant as they have been about getting a bargain, they are still looking for good value. “I think good value is going to be the watchword for Palm Beach for 2010.”

Jack McCabe, of McCabe Research & Consulting, LLC., is not enthusiastic. “Nine pending — one month does not a trend make,” he said.

He sees that big bonuses on Wall Street will translate to some real estate sales in Palm Beach and notes that some sellers are getting realistic. “Of course, Palm Beach has a mystique and it will always have that,” he adds.

“But this year, I’m predicting that ultra-luxury single-family homes are going to take the largest declines. We will see foreclosures on homes that are more than $750,000. They are over-leveraged and the owners have taken huge financial hits. When arms adjust and monthly payments go from $8,000 to $14,000 a month, they can’t do it and we’ll see price drops of 10 to 15 percent. What was $10 million this year will be $8 million next year.

“There have been a few foreclosures in Palm Beach, and people have been surprised. I think they will be more shocked to see how highly leveraged the property owners are.”

Discover Local Artists: Sibel Kocabasi and Brian Somerville

In times like these, everyone needs a good fairy tale to travel to a place where anything is possible. “Twice Upon a Time” is a collaboration between painter Sibel Kocabasi and ceramic artist Brian Somerville. The exhibition will display approximately 45 works and runs from Feb.16 to March 26 at The Gallery at Eissey Campus, Palm Beach State College at Palm Beach Gardens. Opening reception will be Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 5 – 8 p.m.

Rare Bird
Sibel Kocabasi

Lake Worth resident Sibel Kocabasi’s paintings reflect the potential for beauty in art. “Beauty and hope are the strongest way to protest injustice in its forms; political, religious and environmental,” she said. “In the age of globalism, everything has become transparent.  The visual landscape has become cluttered. With all the communication available, people are starving for beauty and hope.”

Brian Somerville’s ceramic animal figures are created to search for reasons why we forget our manners and rely on our most basic animal instincts.

Brian Somerville
Brian Somerville

“History repeats itself because we don’t always learn from our mistakes,” he said. “Regardless of the consequences, there are instances that make us all lose control.  The potential for savage behavior is present in each of us.”

Somerville, until recently, was an Artist in Residence at the Armory Art Center. Presently, he’s an artist with the Weber Group. Inc., Sellersburg, Indiana.

Somerville will hold a two-day workshop, titled “Sculpting and Carving Large,” in BB 125 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 12 – 13. Somerville will demonstrate how to “build large” in clay and will also go over carving techniques, use of image transfer and glazing tips and tricks. Registration required; the cost of the workshop is $50 for the public.

“I Ain’t Going Nowhere”

The opening reception and exhibit are free and open to the public. Both artists will be in attendance at the reception and their artwork is for sale. Palm Beach State College, Eissey Campus, is at 3160 PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens. The Art Gallery at Eissey Campus is located in the BB building, room 113. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday For more information and to register for the workshop call (561) 207-5015.