By MEGHAN McCOY
Art, raffles, local foods and beverages will grace Bert's Pine Bay Gallery Friday during Artist Mel Meo's annual show.
Artist Mel Meo stands among her paintings, painted stools and tables, as well as clothing at Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery where she will have her show, “Mel’s serving up a Pine Island Paradise Platter,” this Friday.
At the age of 4, art grabbed Meo's attention, which has stuck with her throughout the years. She said she used to watch her brother, who is 15 years older than she is, paint when she was young.
Now, Meo paints island-themed masterpieces with acrylics and watercolors. She said she paints different things about Pine Island that strikes her. Those paintings grace canvases, furniture, clothing and accessories.
The freedom of expression, Meo said, is one of the reasons she enjoys painting.
"I suppose it's therapy for me," she said.
Her annual show will be held Friday, March 22, from 5-9 p.m., at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery, 4332 Pine Island Road in Matlacha.
Meo said she has done 10 shows at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery. The neat thing about the gallery, she said, is the vast collection of different items it provides for its customers.
Individuals, Meo said, are lured into the gallery by other items like Crocs or T-shirts and then are pleasantly surprised with the diverse art collection.
She said the show is not about her, but rather for her clients who have purchased her art.
"It's a party for them to have a good time and see something new," Meo said.
The show, "Mel's serving up a Pine Island paradise platter," will showcase fresh-made art, crisp spring dresses, bowls of color, ripe raffles, Fred's local foods, smoked mullet, key lime pie and beverages.
New this year are canvas handbags, which includes a piece of her artwork. She said her dresses and aprons will also be a part of the show, which includes a pocket with one of her designs.
Her paintings, of course, will also be on display.
The Friday event will also feature the artwork of her students either on the front or back porch of Bert's Pine Bay Gallery weather permitting.
Since Meo is self-taught, she enjoys teaching individuals how to use color and technique to those who have never painted before. She said she encourages them to develop their own style.
In addition to conducting workshops a couple times a year, Meo also teaches a class a few times a week. She said the classes are usually comprised of up to six students, so she can give them specialized attention.
"Every class they go home with a completed piece," Meo said, adding that it is rewarding to take something home that was completed within two hours.
Out of all of her students, she invited seven of them to participate in the show Friday. Meo said their artwork will be pieces they finished either in class or on their own at home.
"It will give them more confidence in having it viewed," she said of her students' paintings.
Meo said by having their artwork in a show, they will hear constructive criticism from those who attend. She said that criticism is good because it gives them something to work on.
In addition, Meo said her students will also learn how to put together a show through understanding how to market, describe, price, mat, hang and sell their pieces.
For those interested in signing up for an art class can call Meo at 239-283-0236.