PERRYSBURG - Give the weather a ribbon.
|Two women look at some of the glass art made by Deb Less. (Photos: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
That was the sentiment among artists, visitors and organizers alike this weekend at the Levis Commons Fine Art Fair as they basked under sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.
May Clayton, the executive director of the Guild of Artists and Artisans, said that artists were telling her that this was the best weather of any weekend anywhere in the country.
The crowds, and subsequent sales, reflected it, she said.
People have always turned out for the art fair, she said. "So many people tell the artists that they're grateful they are here," she said. This was the eighth fair at Levis, and Clayton credited the support of the community with helping the event crack Sunshine Artist magazine's list of top 100 fine arts an crafts fairs in the country.
That increasing reputation has attracted a number of new artists, including award winners from other shows.
One of the those new artists was W. Michael Winston, Twinsburg. With the best of show ribbon decorating his tent, he was glad he took a chance on the show.
Winston uses Prismacolor markers to create vibrant, fanciful drawings of flowers.
His images are floral, but the species are flowers are ones that only blossom in his own imagination. He likes depicting floral shapes because no matter how he stretches them, or distorts them, they immediately register as flowers to viewers, he said. They also give him a wide latitude on terms of color, texture and shape.
Winston almost had his art career derailed. He studied art in high school but when he got to Cleveland State University as an art major, he failed his first studio art class.
That prompted him to switch to physical education, and that led to a 37-year career as a coach and high school teacher.
|Sculptures by Steve Anderson draw a crowd.
Art was set aside, though he did do some drawings while serving in the Coast Guard in Operation Desert Storm in 1990.
Back at school on home room duty, he started getting his markers out and began drawing. "Teachers always have markers," he said.
"You have to find some safe place you can go that those hellions can't find you," Winston said, laughing.
His confidence grew so much that when he and his wife, Dawn, built a house, and she wanted art for the walls, he said: "I can do that."
So Winston created three drawings and brought them to be framed. The person at the frame shop marveled at his work, especially given they were done with marker. She suggested he enter them in an area art show, and he did. He won a third place award.
That was 2001, and now at 61 the recently retired educator has a new career, which he hopes includes future visits to the Levis event.
The first place winner was Judy Goskey of Burton, a jeweler who works with enamels. She first started working on jewelry in high school in West Geauga, and has been refining her craft for 25 years. She's been showing at Levis for several years, and said she was having a good weekend in terms of sales. "They've always been pretty good," Goskey said.
George Bragg, Monroe, Mich., who makes wall hangings with fused glass on copper, said he's heard from other artists that they've done well. "Everyone seems to be doing OK, " he said.
It depends, of course, he added, on how their items are priced. His pieces, for example, are more expensive, ranging from $200 to $5,000.
Bragg was enjoying the weather. He'd just spent three weeks in Chicago and had only two days where the temperature dipped below 95.
Pat and Mark Selfe, of Perrysburg, were among those out Sunday enjoying the art and the summer day.
|Overall view of the Levis Commons Art Fair
Pat Selfe said they enjoy "seeing all the talent out there."
Mark Selfe said the event shows that the community appreciates art. "People come out," he said, "it's a reflection on the community."
They show that appreciation with their wallets. "I can usually find something in a jewelry booth," Pat Selfe said.
As Anne Sbrocchi, of Sylvania, said: "You always have to come home with a memento."
She was there with Pat Metting, of Perrysburg. They have attended the show together for many years. Metting described it as "our little Ann Arbor."
Several of the artists also show at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, she noted. "It's nice to be able to see them here."
Artists winning honorable mentions were: Alison Fox, Naperville, Ill., glass; Kim Ensch, Belleville, Mich. and Vincent Pernicao, Boyne Falls, Mich., both mixed media; and John Galbo, Saginaw, Mich., photography.