Saturday, February 7, 2009

Unveiling of 6'x4' painting of Clyde by Nicholas Petrucci

The unveiling of Nicholas Petrucci's painting of Clyde

We came to know Nicholas through his wife, Connie Bransilver-Petrucci. Connie is a well known photographer and has published several books. Her wonderful photographs of the orchids of Florida brought us a common interest and we became friends. Over the years, as we drew closer together, Nicholas began showing an interest in painting an image of Clyde.

Nicholas paints in the style of the Old Masters: Rembrandt and Caravaggio, a style nearly unique in contemporary art. "My interest in art has always been in the great masters. Rembrandt and Caravaggio are masters of light, of drama and of emotion. I try to capture those elements, and then give them a modern, contemporary twist." Nicholas explained that "The portrait of Clyde Butcher comes from darkness into the light, a reference to the story of his moving to the Everglades and also a reference to his bringing lightness and understanding to an otherwise misunderstood and reviled environment: the swamps and wetlands of South Florida."

When Nicholas was asked why he choose to paint Clyde his response was, "I took an immediate liking to Clyde, not only because he reminded me of Santa Claus, but also because I respect his work. I found him to be more than charming, and one of those fellows who is happy to extend a helping hand when needed."

Last summer Nicholas brought his idea to Clyde and Clyde agreed. "Clyde and I met in the swamp to arrange a suitable site for his full length portrait," notes Nicholas. "While we were discussing the light, Clyde happened to mention his other guest sleeping under the warm rays of the Florida sun not more than twenty feet from us. I remained composed only because I knew the gator would probably be satisfied with the slowest runner!"

When Clyde was asked how he felt about having someone paint a full sized portrait of him, his response was, "It's a little scary. I know that Nicholas is an excellent painter, but I had no idea how he was going to portray me...I just had to trust him."

The crowd gathers anxiously awaiting the unveiling

Nicholas getting ready to unveil the image of Clyde

The unveiling

There was a moment of silence when the curtain fell.
The image radiated the essence of Clyde to such a degree
that everyone was stunned.

Needless to say, Clyde was very much pleased!

Nicholas explaining aspects of the painting to Clyde

Clyde with the painting

Clyde and Nicholas

Nicholas and Clyde relaxing after the evening is over

It is always wonderful to be around creative people.Our life
pretty much centers around creative photographers,
so it was a joy and a unique experience to spend so much
time with a painter. The evening was a great success
and we are hoping to share the original
with you before it gets sold.

For more information on Nicholas Petrucci

photographs by
Niki Butcher and
Connie Bransilver:

Venice Gallery & Studio Open House

Neal Obendorf, Clyde's darkroom assistant of eight years

Creating the large fiber-base photographs that Clyde is known for requires an unusual darkroom. The difficulties achieving large prints is hard for most people to understand, and so for that reason we open up Clyde's darkroom to the public once a year at the Venice Gallery & Studio, located south of Sarasota in Venice, Florida.

Elam filming Clyde while Clyde talks about
his photographic philosophy

Neal explaining how "Big Bertha" (enlarger) works.

Neal explaining "dodging" and "burning" techniques

Neal comparing a finished print with an unfinished print

The chemical trays are 4x5 foot. Neal is explaining how the prints are
moved from one tray to the next and into the large wash tanks.

Clyde signing books

Jackie and Teresa at sales desk

The Gallery

Jackie discussing Niki's work with customers

Sales desk with Miladie and Teresa
It was a great day! We met so many wonderful people,
as well as helped others understand the heart felt work that
goes into creating the final image of Clyde's photography.

This fun group of Red Hat ladies dropped by for a visit.
I just couldn't resist taking a group picture in black and white
and then painting only their bright, cheery, colorful clothes!

Obama Inauguration

On the day of Obama's inauguration we hooked the lap top up to the Internet and set it on the counter so that everyone could enjoy this amazing and historical event. Even though some of our customers had not voted for Obama, they had to agree this was a historical event happening in our life time.

Our hope is that Obama's youthful positive enthusiasm for the goodness in humanity will inspire us all to be less love our neighbor...and work together for the goodness of all. Americans are creative, industrious, and clever. We have the ability to pull ourselves out of this mess that has befallen our country, we just need to believe we can. We Can!

Friday, February 6, 2009

New Years Day 2009

Jeff, Eric & Katy, Clyde & Niki, Debby & Norm

Every year we try to celebrate the new year by starting it off right...with a swamp walk. This year Jeff Ripple, Debby & Norm, and Katy & Eric joined us for an afternoon swamp walk and dinner.
Of course everyone needs to wear the proper shoe attire...Norm is showing off the latest swamp shoe style...taped toes so that the shoes don't fall apart from the front!

Heading off into the swamp

Norm & Debby

Norm & Debby checking out the periphyton

An environmental discussion


Jeff explaining something to Katy & Eric who are busy
photographing action shot of Jeff!

Making our way through a winter forest

Clyde and Niki

Clyde saw this neat tree and grabbed my camera
then took this shot...

Debby & Jeff admiring a cigar orchid.

Eric & Katy very excited about seeing the cigar orchid!

Following Jeff deeper and deeper into the swamp...
The gang

further into the swamp...

The further we go the more wondrous and mystical the swamp becomes


Katy & Eric

Clyde and group making their way through the depths of the swamp

Debby pointing to the "Rigid Epidural" orchid that Jeff found...
actually that isn't it's name. Debby and I just couldn't
remember the correct name. Debby figured this was as close
as she could get to the actual name and I agreed with her,
so we gave the orchid this nick name!

Clyde explaining the angles of photography for when he returns to take this photo

Another orchid! And this one is surviving very well while it is under water! Amazing...

The sun is getting low and it's time to start hiking out of the swamp.
The day wasn't long enough. I could have stayed a lot longer...

Making our way back to the house

The day was great! I don't think there can be a better way
to start off the New Year than relaxing in nature by walking
through the swamp with friends...
I hope your New Year is filled with the peace
that we found while being embraced by the swamp...