The unique works of mother-daughter team, Grace and Cheryl Canada, are showcased in the HCA (Heartland Cultural Alliance) gallery for the months of June and July. A reception to meet and visit with the artists will be held on Saturday, June 1, from noon to 2 p.m.

As always, the gallery receptions are open to the public with free admission. You can browse the gallery while enjoying conversation and refreshments. The HCA gallery is located in the Peter Powell Roberts Museum of Art and Cultural Center at 310 West Main Street in Avon Park.

Grace Canada likes to experiment in different mediums. She enjoys watercolors but has also worked in oils, stained glass, porcelain and even some shell art.

“I’ve always loved painting,” Grace said. “When I moved to Florida, I started painting seriously while my husband spent his time playing golf. We lived out west and my husband, who was a photographer, took a lot of pictures.

“I like nature scenes so I would take a look at multiple photos and combine them to make one. I also sometimes combine different techniques.”

One example is a watercolor of the White House in springtime. The cherry trees are highlighted by using shell art. Another example is something new Grace has tried, incorporating stained glass with watercolor paintings.

“I’m going to try using alcohol ink,” she said. “The paint is dropped on the canvas, not brushed on. I want to use it with the painting I do, but on glass.”

“She is always trying new and unique types of art work,” said daughter, Cheryl.

Cheryl finds her inspirations from sea shells and sea life. She loves that sea shells have such intricate designs and that each one is different.

“I definitely get my love of art from my mother. Our family did a lot of activities outdoors. We did lots of hiking out in nature when I was growing up.

“While I have shells from all over, like Florida, New Jersey and Texas, I frequently by the shells I use in my art, so I only use the highest quality. They’re beautiful and perfect.”

Cheryl makes ‘Sailor’s Valentines’. These are beautiful works of shell art. When sailors went out to sea they would pick up gifts for their loved ones while traveling through Barbados.

This art was the type of gift they brought back. Some of the Sailor’s Valentines go all the way back to the 1700’s and are very treasured items.

“I really like making picture frames and wreaths. Creating floral designs is much more artistic,” Cheryl said.

Grace shared a memory from the past. “When Cheryl was a child, we had a brook behind our house. It was filled with various types of fossils. She and her brother would go in the water and collect the artifacts.”

“Shells and paintings last, while some other art forms do not. They stay with you forever,” Cheryl said.

The gallery is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The HCA holds an artist reception every other month during the summer and monthly the rest of the year.

For more information on the gallery please contact Gaylin Thomas, HCA President, at 863-414-1578. You can also visit their website at www.heartlandculturalalliance.org.

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