The Fort Myers Beach Library did not look far for its August “Artist of The Month” – Edward Scott is one of the seven members of its publicly-elected Board of Directors!
“My wife Gayle and I have been visiting Fort Myers Beach for over 45 years, becoming full-time residents about 10 years ago,“ Ed related. “We were regular Library users, and when the community conflict arose over the new additions, I sided with those who felt we deserved the best library possible, leading me to ultimately run for the Board, as the island has an incredible library, in my humble opinion. We’ve seen lots of changes over that time, and not to just the library. When we first came here, we crossed the old swing bridge and there was no such thing as the Lani Kai! We rented for many years as Snowbirds, and for the first few years after that, until buying our own little corner of Paradise in near-Downtown. We couldn’t be happier and love it here.”
Ed’s artwork has graced the walls at the library before. “This is, I believe, my fourth showing, and it has been a strange journey. The first time I begged to get on the schedule, with about a two-year wait. Each successive time became shorter, and this one rolled around quick. I think that Dr. Leroy Hommerding, the Library’s excellent director, had a cancellation, and knew I could fill it for him fast!”
Art always interested Ed, but having to work since an extremely young age prevented him for exploring it for most of his life. “Dad died when I was 12-years-old, and I worked to help the family. As a kid, I delivered newspapers and was a pin setter, and worked in a gas station and on railroad cars. As I got older, I was in manufacturing, then with IBM for 12 years. I had stints selling stoves and appliances, then had my own real estate business. Once we had a kid in college, I returned to IBM, until finally retiring 15 years ago, allowing me to finally explore art.”
“I began by doing paintings in wax pencil, but that gave me writer’s cramp! You also went through those pencils too fast and they are expensive, so I shifted to paint, specifically acrylics. I took art classes from Lisa Grinter, a renowned island artist who still teaches and is so knowledgeable, and I give her a lot of credit. There are so many wonderful artists on this island and the Fort Myers Beach Art Association is a fantastic organization. I am not a member, however, just because I am not a ‘joiner,’ but they have a great group there!”
Acrylics is the only format in which Ed works now. “I briefly experimented in oils, but they take up to one month to completely dry, so how do you carry one, because you can’t tuck it under your arm or it gets all over your clothes, or put it in your car to drive home, so it was too inconvenient, while acrylics dry fast.”
Ed paints for personal enjoyment and relaxation; not for profit or sales. “I don’t have a website or travel to shows, as I do this as a hobby and not a profession. Years ago, however, a gentleman coming back from the former ‘Big M’ gambling boat down the street saw my paintings, and liked them so much he bought about 35 of them, all at once, so that was thrilling. Sometimes, friends have specific requests, and if they buy the canvas and frame, I accommodate them, as long as they understand I work at my own time and pace! A lot of my own paintings I do not frame, painting them instead right to the edges. I don’t think the average person understands how expensive a frame is; much more so than the cost of the paint, so this is not an inexpensive hobby.”
My Own Pace; My Own Place
“I didn’t take up painting to get back into the labor force,” Ed emphasized! “When I first began, a friend convinced me to paint a 4-by-8 foot canvas the size of a table, but that was too much like work. I also don’t do plein air artworks or displays because I prefer to work in my air-conditioned home, at my own pace, in my own place, when I want, though I do paint every week, and almost every day, when Gayle doesn’t have me working in our garden.”
Ed doesn’t have a favorite painting, “though there are some I like and they are on our walls, but there are others I don’t, and they are in a storage box! Basically, when something peaks my interest, I paint it. Some satisfy me, some I think are junk, and some I simply paint over! To be honest, most times Gayle makes the final decision on what goes up on our walls and what goes outside. I get many ideas and inspirations from art books and old calendars or similar resources, thinking to myself, ‘that will be good.’ If I hit the mark, I keep going. If Gayle sees something she likes, I work off of that as well.”
He has 30 to 35 paintings in his exhibit. “I gave Dr. Leroy a little more than he needed, and allowed him to make the final selections as to which ones he incorporated into the show. Nature and wildlife are favorite subjects of mine, though it is really the colors that appeal to me more than anything else.”
To view Ed Scott’s artwork, visit the Fort Myers Beach Library’s 3rd Floor Exhibit Gallery throughout August. The Library is at 2755 Estero Boulevard, with hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sundays and holidays. For information, see www.fmb.lib.fl.us or call 239-765-8162.