Men at Work is a painting that is the result of a man at work. That man is me. This painting is the result of starting by photographing. Not just a few photographs but a bunch of photos in and around Cortez, Florida.
Cortez Florida is a charming slice of Americana near Long Boat Key on the Florida Gulf Coast. My family and I discovered Cortez visiting Siesta Key Florida. I’m always on the look out for interesting places where the ordinary every day things speak to my personal artistic narrative, people places and things. Cortez fell right into my wheelhouse.
The fishing shacks and fishing businesses abound near Cortez. It’s a fun place to eat outdoors and enjoy people watching because there are lots of locals that fish there, and frequent restaurants. There are tourists like me and my family.
But, what about this painting? It started with multiple photos of fishing boats docked near A P Bell’s commercial fishing operation. I knew there was something something about the place to make something interesting. Finally, I found a couple of boats but there were no people working nearby. I came back time and again. There were men working. They were offloading their catch or getting ready to go catch some more.
I sketched what I thought was really exciting and laid out a 20 x 30 painting. I painted some of the figures but became distracted. There is sat, another “start”.
But I kept looking, Another year at the same location then some more photos. I added a little of my digital collage, a little editing, adding and subtracting and all is well.
I started this from reference material beginning in 2017. I’m happy I did not give up. It was worth the ride. I started the final version as a demonstration piece for the Central Ohio Watercolor Society in October 2019. I finished it four months later in 2020. I used what I told my art students….don’t give up on a good thing.