This month I took my paper tidbits on the road to Indian Rocks Beach, FL. where I was invited to come and teach my collage workshop at the Beach Art Center. I was recommended to the Art Center by Charlotte, a retired art teacher who became a snow bird, splitting her time between Penn Yan, NY and Indian Rocks Beach, FL.
Retired, warm, making art. What could be better?
An Amazing Adventure in New York
My last visit to the Art Center of Yates County was amazing. Not only did I teach my 3-Day workshop, but I went up a few days early to participate in an Olympic distance triathlon that was being held in honor of Bob “Flick” Flickinger a patron of the Art Center and the local Red Cross chapter, who lost his life on his road bike that year. You can read more about my adventures in racing and teaching in a great online article from the Chronicle Express.
I taught my workshop in Penn Yan for the first time two summers ago. I asked them to rent me a bike, which I road to class every day about 10 miles. I was training for a race and I could think of no better way to get some miles under my belt than on the rolling hills around Keuka Lake. It was Flick who took care of renting my bike, adjusting it, and leaving it in the cottage for me, he was a bike enthusiast and happy to lend a hand to a fellow rider. Retuning to NY to teach and compete in this race that was being held in Flick’s honor was a no-brainer.
The New York-Florida Connection
When I met her at the Art Center in Penn Yan, Charlotte she told me that she loved my workshop so much that she would recommend me to the Art Center she was affiliated with in Florida. At that time I had no idea that Art Center was in Indian Rocks Beach.
Beach Art Center contacted me and I agreed to teach, when I looked them up I had a flash back. Indian Rocks Beach was the place my paternal grandparents spent a few months each winter (for a few years in the 70’s) from Cape Cod. The winter we visited them there was my very first trip to Florida, and my first time to Disney. Talk about some memories.
Nana and Bumpa St. Hilaire and the Family Trip to Florida
When I introduced myself to the class on day-one of the workshop, the locals asked me if I had ever been to Indian Rocks Beach. This Art Center class was mostly made up of locals, snow birds, and members. We only had two out-of-towners who came from Atlanta to take the class.
Well…. that’s a good question I told them. The last time I was here was 1974.
Those wooden beach chairs are still on the beach, Doug and I came across them the morning of our walk along the beach before my second day of class. I’m not sure why my “Bumpa” (I could not pronounce “Grandpa” when I was a kid and the nick-name stuck) did’t quite make it into the composition, maybe the cottage behind us was theirs and it was important that my Mom get it in the photo too.
Making The Connection
Kind of amazing where life brings you on its journey. I’ve lived in Florida for the past twenty years but have never ventured to Indian Rocks Beach on my own. It took art to bring me back to a place in my family history that I remembered very vividly. We drove to FL from MA in a very small Toyota Corolla. Back then the St. Hilaire Family consisted only of my parents, Al and Jane, along with me and my sister Aimée. Alan, Chris and Joe had not come along yet. I remember the hours and hours and hours of driving, sitting in the back seat with my sister, trying to sleep, trying to stay awake, trying to envision what Disney would be like. We had Crayola Crayons to keep us busy which we left in the back window of the tiny car, only to be melted by the Florida sun. Oh boy was Al not happy with the multi colored wax mess that he would NEVER get out of that carpeted shelf behind the back seats.
Still Naturally Beautiful
The Beach has changed a lot since the days my grandparents walked out of their cottage and onto the sand. We couldn’t really even figure out where that section of the beach might have been, it’s all been built up. But, once you were past the vacation rentals and the condos, the beach was just as beautiful in the morning sun as I remembered it when Bumpa took me to walk with him and Noël. I remember loving to spend time with my Bumpa and his beloved poodle, just the two of us. This was a privilege of being the older sister.
Making New Memories
I truly enjoyed teaching at the Beach Art Center. I know I’ll be back because next February they are having a teacher there who I really want to learn from. I’m going to be the student next time I’m at the Art Center and I’m going to bring Doug for a long weekend of rest and relaxation, making new memories, learning new things, and remembering to be thankful for the journey that is this life of an artist.
Thank you, for being a part
of my Art Journey,