Friday, January 28, 2022

The Art of Spontaneity: Wet Paint Live!

Enjoying visitors during Wet Paint Live! 2011 at Goodland's Boat Park. PHOTO BY GEORGE VELLIS

Enjoying visitors during Wet Paint Live! 2011 at Goodland’s Boat Park. PHOTO BY GEORGE VELLIS

Artful Life
Tara O’Neill

One of my favorite events, “Wet Paint Live!,” is coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 11. I enjoy all my art events, or I wouldn’t do them, but my particular fondness for this event is owed to the impact “Wet Paint Live!” has had on my artful life.

Spontaneity — straight up or on the rocks — that’s the drink that refreshes!

The day of “Wet Paint Live!” dawns with local artists painting at various outdoor venues and finishes the same day with a generous reception and guaranteed lively live-auction at Rose Auditorium (Marco Island History Museum). Now, in it’s eighth year, it’s a scholarship fundraiser that has awarded thousands of dollars to local students, and it continues to grow every year. I’ve never missed one.

I’m an oil painter, and until I participated in the first WPL!, I had never — ever — completed a painting in less than a month, and as I then worked almost exclusively in large format, a single painting usually took much longer. In one spontaneous moment, I decided it was a case of say yes and figure it out later.

As daunting as it was to paint fast, it was equally daunting to paint small (baby steps). The challenge became an epiphany. Every stroke of the brush was so bold, so confident, so fresh! (Okay, maybe real confidence in this format came a wee bit later.) Is there ever a better feeling than the one you get when you do something you didn’t know you could do?

Since that first year, I have introduced and regularly added to a rather successful series of small, daily paintings. While I’m still happy laboring over a slowly-developed large canvas, the change in my methodology is evident not only in my paintings but also in the joy I have while painting. Go figure.

Missing a little spontaneity in your life? In your work? Your relationships? Your free time? Anything and everything can benefit from a little fresh air. Just say yes to something brand new, the effect could be surprisingly profound.

Here’s the low-down on WPL: Selected artists will begin painting at designated locales at 9 AM. Maps showing artists’ locations and tickets for the reception and auction are available at the Chamber of Commerce. The public is encouraged to visit the artists on site. At 3 PM, the artists race their wet canvasses to Rose Hall, where a serious team of stagers will create an amazing exhibition in time for the 5:30 PM reception; the live auction begins at 7 PM.

Special bonus: a silent auction showcasing other works by the participating artists will be on display at Rose Hall starting Tuesday, Feb. 10. Silent bids will remain open until end of live auction on Feb. 11.

For more information, call the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce at 239-394-7549 or visit

See you there!


Tara O’Neill, a lifelong, award-winning, artist has been an area resident since 1967. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida and is currently represented by Blue Mangrove Gallery on Marco Island. Visit her at


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