“Herons Happen” in Port Aransas

It was a match made in heron… err, heaven.

Sarah FedakSarah Fedak is an artist and an animal lover. A new resident of Port Aransas, she is already fundraising chairman for the Friends of the Animal Shelter. So it’s probably not too big of a coincidence that she is painting a metal heron sculpture to help raise money for the animal Rescue Keep. The way the “Herons Happen” fundraiser works is that sponsors pay for the bare sculptures and materials, artists donate their time and talent to decorate the sculptures and then the herons are auctioned off with the proceeds going to the ARK. Appetites for the auction are wetted through a series of “hatchings” – open-to-the-public receptions to show off the newly-completed herons.

One such hatching was held at the Felder Gallery July 11, 2010. Sarah’s heron, “Belle of the Oyster Drill Ball,” was one of the sculptures on display. Sarah got to talking with gallery owners Larry, Linda and Robbie Felder and asked if they’d like to see her portfolio. They did, and they liked her work so much, they invited her to become their newest artist and now she has 16 pieces in their gallery. It was a match made in heron, err, heaven.

Sarah was especially thrilled because being a Felder artist was going to be different from what she had experienced in Houston. There a gallery might feature an artist for about six weeks. But the Felders show multiple styles and artists all together, continuously.

Sarah’s art is a little different from what is typically shown locally. Hers is abstract whereas much of the art seen around here is realistic.

Catchin' Up by Larry Felder

Catchin' Up courtesy of Larry Felder

It doesn’t get much more realistic than Larry Felder’s art. The water in his paintings of boats at docks and waves lapping the shore looks wetter than the real thing. Linda recalls one viewer saying, “I was sure if I touched the water in that painting my finger would come away wet.” I’m captivated by the quality of light in his painting. I swear you can tell not only what time of year is portrayed in his scenes but what day of the week. Larry’s paintings are gi-nourmous, too. His paintings of lighthouses each take up two canvases. A challenge to hang in a gallery because of their size, Larry’s paintings are ideal for homes with large walls.

Lately, Larry’s been doing lots of commissioned boat portraits.

Linda and Larry Felder

Linda and Larry Felder courtesy of Larry Felder

Robby Felder

Robby Felder courtesy of Larry Felder

Larry graduated in 1974 from the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and then spent 30 years in the advertising business, first as a graphic designer, then as an ad agency art director in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, and then as the Vice President/Creative Director for eight different ad agencies around Texas. All along he was “painting in his head,” according to Linda but didn’t actually start until 2004. The two met at an educational publishing company where Linda was head of customer service and Larry ran a department of 30 to 40 people. The company decided to go off in a direction that didn’t appeal to them so they quit their jobs. They rented gallery space in Fulton next door to Mary Hunter, whose work they now display at the Felder Gallery. They then moved to Port Aransas and their current location in the Tower Center, partly because their son Robby is a surfer. Linda and Larry are looking to move again, this time to Costa Rica. But the gallery’s staying. Larry will continue to paint and to work with Robby, who runs the gallery’s Web site, keeps the gallery current and brings in new artists.

Like Sarah Fedak.  Originally from Virginia, Sarah received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and diplomas from the Art Institute of Houston and the Glassell School of Art, the teaching arm of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. She has had numerous exhibitions, almost one a year every year since 2000. Her work has been published in several books, national magazines and catalogs and she received honorable mentions in two Houston juried exhibitions, where work is judged by well-known artists.

art by Sarah Fedak

courtesy of Sarah Fedak

While abstract, her art is still inspired by and representational of her beach surroundings. “I paint things that come off the beach, “she says. “That, I consider beachfront property” and several of her paintings are so named “Beachfront Property…” Her color palette communicates the time of day. Costa Rica features in Sarah’s world too. She took a collage workshop there and learned the technique of painting on paper and with mixed media. She uses acrylic paint on paper or Mylar. She cuts and tears the paper, or allows the paint to dry on the slick Mylar surface and then peels if off. She then creates a collage of the pieces on canvas. She also creates what she calls “wooden drawings” using white pine – its grain and knots – to create landscapes.

Sarah’s heron will be on display at the “Herons Happen” preview November 5, 2010 at the Port A Gallery, 345 North Alister and at the “release” dinner and auction, November 6, 2010 at the Port Aransas Civic Center, 700 W. Wheeler Ave. 6 pm. For more information about the herons, call (361) 332-6361 or visit the Web site at www.turtletrail.org. The works of Sarah, Larry and all the other Felder artists can be seen on the gallery Web site at http://www.feldergallery.com/. Of course, they can be seen “up close and personal” at the Felder Gallery in Suite F at 1726 State Highway 361 every day except Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by appointment (call 361-749-2388). The Gallery will be one of the stops on the Port Aransas Art About, Saturday, October 16, 2010 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. I’ll see you there.

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