Chip Newton & Jacque Palomaki created Florida Wildflower Studios to provide a place for Florida-based artists to gather, share ideas, and ensure that art education and assistance are available to everyone.
Jacque Lyn Palomaki of Winter Haven fell in love with Florida on her first visit, in 1977. The I-75 "Welcome to Florida" sign took root, though it took the family nearly 10 years to make the trip from Illinois a one-way event. Her artistic career was born when she began painting on coconuts and shells, quickly graduating to furniture-decoration. She soon began painting the love of her life - Florida Outdoors - and continues to this day.
Taking time out to smell the roses is not always easy, according to Florida Wildlife Studios artist and Art Director Jacque Lyn Palomaki. "In our busy lives, we miss out on so many of God's natural and unique gifts," she says. "I've had the pleasure of going places off the beaten path."
That's where she finds, she says, her inspiration "to preserve what I've seen and transfer it to canvas. "That's my way of bringing the beauty of Florida to others."
On most of her landscape paintings she's included the GPS location "so anyone who desires to go to that specific place to experience and see it, can do so."
Lake Wales-area photographer Chip Newton has been photographing his love of Florida for almost 70 years since about age 9, when he got his life's wish - a plastic Brownie camera with two rolls of film. His mom loaned him the $2.00.
Within a few weeks he'd published his first "newspaper," a piece of notebook paper with "news stories" cut from the pages of a free Miami "shopper" and illustrated with prints from his Brownie plastic VP127 camera pasted thereon.
After the second issue his mother wouldn't give him any more money for film, developing and processing, thereby ending the early project. But not the dream. Some 30 years later he went to work full time at his first "real" newspaper job at the Lake Wales News where he soon became a writer/reporter as well as the photographer. Over the next three decades, he shot, wrote and/or edited just about every newspaper in Central Florida. His passion remains. It has not dimmed.
He's spent the past few years focusing on interesting leaves. "Leaf Me Alone" is a collection of leaves, dead or alive, that have caught his eye.
"There are so many little things that we see every day, that are beautiful in their own way, but are so common that we don't "look" at them. I noticed a leaf, a couple years back. An ordinary leaf that was struck by a single tiny ray of sunlight that had passed between branches and leaves until it hit this single leaf, creating a brightly lighted leaf surrounded by darkness. It was the first of many such and caused me to pay closer attention to my surroundings.
I hope that one of these images might do the same for you.
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