Thursday, February 5, 2015

Collages of Cedar Key, Florida

Last year we discovered the wonderful funky, laid-back 'Old Florida' town of Cedar Key, on the Nature Coast on the Gulf side, north of Clearwater.  A friend who lives near St Petersburg, told us about the fantastic assemblage architecture of the Low Key Hideaway Motel on Cedar Key and off we went. We stayed there and fell in love with Cedar Key itself.  Here's my blog post on that trip, which includes the terrific assemblage Bowling Ball House in Safety Harbor.

We liked it so much that we made plans to spend a month there this winter.  When we planned the trip, we thought we would use Cedar Key as 'home base' and travel in Florida as well.  But that was before our big 'downsizing' sorting, packing, moving cycle and when we got there, we realized that we were tried and happy to just be in Cedar Key, walk about and look at the Gulf and the famous sunsets each day.

Amelia in Cedar Key
So we had a lot of open-ended time and I soon found myself in a collage-making mode. I had brought watercolors and pens and thought I'd try some new things, but an image of Amelia Earhart on a magazine cover really called to me. I photographed it, popped it into Photoshop Elements and I was off. The background is the view from our deck.

I discovered that what really moves me is my response to images. It is in that response is that the creativity begins to flow and this is the same thing I experience with assemblage, responding to the items I come across.  

There is a lot of 'found' art in Cedar Key that caught my eye - signage, assemblage-style lawn art and so on.  I took hundreds of pictures and then began using my photos as backgrounds for collage.  I also extracted key images from the photos and used them.  As is my usual, I amplified and altered the images with effects. I used my favorite online source  I especially like their HDR effect [high dynamic range] and various versions of PopArt.  

I didn't have any of my own image collection on the laptop, but Google provided me additional images.  And after awhile, I also downloaded some fun images from Mischief Circus, a fantastic source for collagers.

The Cushman  [the oddling vehicle] was in this yard, as well as all the yard art, but I extracted it and repositioned it.  My signature travel motif of my shoes on the right and the yellow 'flowers' are Perrier bottle flowers I saw in the cemetery.

Low-Key Hideaway

The background here is a wall from the Low-Key Hideaway amped.  The retro car is one I photographed in Cedar Key.  Travels shoes and odd elements, including a nice doll head with plant complete the composition.

Hands On
I was intrigued by the fence with the gloves drying.  It is the gate to a clam nursery.  The white boots are fisherman boots and were ubiquitous in this town which is known for its clam production. Doll heads in a box adds an nice oddness note.

Turquoise Cycle

The Turquoise cycle was in this yard and the original photo was amped with HDR.  The pizza is a sign painted on the wall of the local pizza place.  My green travel shoes jump in.

T-Bird Tinas

One day we were walking down the street and suddenly traffic was stopped and about a hundred retro cars came into town.  It was a Mustang Club doing an annual outing to Cedar Key.  This was my favorite car and  I originally called this Mustang Sallies, until my husband pointed out that was car was actually a T-Bird.  The 'tough girls' were in a blog post from about, you guessed it, tough girls.  Something of their energy reminded me of my best-friend Jan and I back in Philly many years ago.  At 13, though, one can only aspire to be 'tough'.

Away From The World

Away From The World is our favorite breakfast place in Cedar Key, on Dock Street, up the stairs. The name comes from a Dave Mathews song and the only soundtrack in the place is DMB.  It's painted as colorfully as here [although the image is amped] and the inside is filled with colorful art as well.

Art House By The Sea

We did do a side-trip south to Dunedin and Safety Harbor, both near Clearwater, where we met up with Donna, who first told us about Cedar Key and Safety Harbor.  The background here is a painted house near the evolving Safety Harbor Art & Music Center, founded by the Bowling Ball House creators.  It is this colorful but again, I amped the image. The retro seaside babes are images from Mischief Circus, as well as the tentacles.

The magickal quote in the collage is part of a mosaic Moon at the Bowling Ball House guest house.  The lady is from Mischief Circus, amped, the background is a wall at Low-Key Hideaway and the signs are amped extracts of real signs from Cedar Key.

Everything is Possible

And finally, after a couple gray, windy and rainy days, I played around a bit off the Cedar Key theme. I think the dark weather got to me.  Should I worry? 


Cedar Key supports two art galleries and is home to many artists and writers.  We met some special people there, especially Sonja and Joe, art and music lovers extraordinaire, Bev Ringenberg, Fused Glass artist, at Island Arts Cedar Key and Jennie Pinto at Nature Coast Realty who was so helpful to us.  Check out all about Cedar Key here .