Inspiration drawn from kayak trips on a popular Hernando County waterway can now be seen on canvases in Ybor City.
Francine Bauer of Carrollwood said kayaking on the Weeki Wachee River inspires much of her artwork.
Bauer’s first solo exhibit, “This Journey We Call Life,” will feature 14 of her works of art at The Bunker, 1907 N. 19th St. in Ybor City. The exhibit runs from Nov. 30 to Jan. 4.
“The water is crystal clear and the colors are amazing,” Bauer said. “You see a lot of that in my work – teals, blues, turquoise. The Weeki Wachee is the best kept secret in Florida.”
Bauer, who has three grown children with her husband, Michael, said she first became interested in art as a young person. However, she put art aside while raising a family.
She started exploring her interest in art a second time while taking open studio classes at the Life Enrichment Center, 9704 N. Boulevard, Tampa.
“There’s a lot of support in there, encouragement and tips,” she said.
Bauer paints abstract oil on canvas as well as mixed media. She also works in the medium of hot wax for her encaustic paintings, which can be physically demanding.
“You build up layers and layers and layers,” she said. “You fuse it with a heat gun and buff it. I like how it looks luminescent.”
A Florida native born in the town of Hollywood, Bauer finds herself drawn to the state’s natural habitats. Her art depicts nature and wildlife scenes.
She considers herself an “intuitive artist,” since she never had formal classes or training growing up.
“This is my first solo exhibit and I’m thrilled,” Bauer said. “I’m so grateful. I’m so happy to see the art movement in Tampa booming. Businesses have been extremely supportive with local art.”
Jayne Lisbeth, an artist from Seminole Heights who helped organize the exhibit, said all of Bauer’s paintings use bright colors and illustrate her deep love of nature and music.
“We just put Francine’s show up today at the Bunker – it looks great,” Lisbeth said. “Her work is very sophisticated and unique.”
Lisbeth, who promotes art in the South Tampa and surrounding communities, said artists are also excited about other shows. One, “For the Love of Art,” opens Dec. 3 at the Bamboozle Cafe, 516 N. Tampa St. in Tampa. The art show will feature the work of local artists Juan Arango and Gaby Ashy, who are students at the Life Enrichment Center. The opening celebration, including a complimentary wine and tea tasting, is from 6 to 9 p.m. at the café.
For more information on the art exhibits, call (813) 231-2579.