Tag Archives: artist

The Artwork of Donald Neal and the Soul of Belle Glade, SLR/IRL

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A few months ago I met Donald Neal. I was at the “Laurence E. Will Museum of the Glades” in Belle Glade. I saw him first from afar, and I knew, even though I did not know who he was, that he was someone special, someone I wanted to meet. His graying hair in dreads ….donning a carelessly worn paint be-speckled dress shirt and trousers looked so stylish a New York fashion designer would have certainly found a “new look.” His eyes seemed to contain generations of local history: drainage, planting, harvesting, deathly hurricanes, flooding, backbreaking work, destruction of the environment, the good and evil of money, prejudice, love, hate, sugarcane, water, and hope.

Today I will share some of his paintings that are on display at the Museum of the Glades and I encourage you to make the drive yourself. After years in the spotlight and then in the darkness, Donald is making a comeback. I think he’s going to make it big again as the time for Donald’s message seems just about right…

Museum of the Glades: http://www.museumoftheglades.org

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Palm Beach Culture: http://events.palmbeachculture.com/event/detail/442008118/A_Plethora_of_Styles_by_Donald_Neal

Belle Glades Sun: http://bellegladesun.com/human-interest/belle-glade-artist-continues-creating/

The Ghost of Joy Postle and the Everglades Mural, Women’s Club of Stuart, SLR/IRL

Section of Everglades mural painted by Joy Postle in 1962. Women's Club of Stuart. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch)
Section of Everglades mural painted by artist, Joy Postle in 1962. Women’s Club of Stuart. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch)
Western Martin County used to be full of Cypress tress around and beyond Lake Okeechobee. This part of the mural shows cypress trees, lilies and native hibiscus.
Western Martin County used to be full of Cypress tress around and beyond Lake Okeechobee. This part of the mural shows cypress trees, lilies and native hibiscus.
Section of mural showing doves and irises.
Section of mural showing doves and irises.

 

As a kid, I spent numerous hours at the Women’s Club of Stuart. What made the biggest impression on me was a beautiful mural featuring birds of the Everglades— of which Stuart is part through the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. This mural has resided on the back wall of the  Women’s Club since 1962.

My fondest memories of the building itself where when my parents enrolled me in cotillion classes in 1974. I can still see all of us kids in the metal folding chairs, dressed up to the hilt. Girls with hats and gloves, and boys in suits! Awkwardly dancing the fox-trot, the Cha-Cha-Cha, and the waltz while slipping on the terrazzo floors.  I remember Dave Harman, and how cute he was and how I wished he’d ask me to dance….I remember there were rumors that Tracy Chase and Cabot Lord kissed on the porch! We were in 5th grade! Hysterical!

Section of Mural. (JTL)
Section of Mural.

So anyway, there is this wonderful mural at the back of the women’s club and all my life really, I have wondered about it and finally I have learned. My mother shared a 2009 “Reflections” magazine, a publication for members of the Historical Society of Central Florida. In this magazine, there is an article about artist, Joy Postle. Joy Postle is the artist who created the mural at the back of the Stuart Women’s Club, and in many other famous places across our state and our nation. She is so cool I want to share her story.

Artist, Joy Postle performing Glamour Birds and portrait. Photos from "Reflections Magazine" of the Historical Society of Central Florida, 2009.
Artist, Joy Postle performing “Glamour Birds” and portrait, Photos from “Reflections Magazine” of the Historical Society of Central Florida, 2009.

She must have been an iconoclast of her era. Way ahead of her time. She was not only an artist but dancer as well. Today I believe we would call her a “performance artist. According to the article written by Denise Hall:

 “Postle combined her artistic abilities, her musical talents, and her love for Florida bird life in performances she called “Glamour Birds of the Americas.” She would describe the birds she loved and paint them in the presence of an audience, with her husband, Bob, accompanying her with music and recordings of bird calls he had recorded himself…She would even mimic the fascinating mating dances the egrets and herons would perform for each other. Even in old age, Joy could still mime these dances…”

Mrs Postle performed for adults and well as for school children and well into “advanced age.” Apparently the children absolutely loved her!

“By reinterpreting nature with her own artistic flair. Postle turned a spotlight on the natural Florida that was carelessly threatened and destroyed during her life time.”

Although I never saw Joy Postle perform, she was an inspiration to me. She helped me appreciate Stuart for what it really is, part of the Everglades…

If you get a chance while driving along East Ocean Boulevard, stick your head inside the Women’s Club, or take a closer look at the mural if you are a regular there.  You just may see the ghost of Joy Postle dancing and be inspired!

Stanley Kitching sponsored Mrs Postle's mural.  was a community leader, most notable locally he served as head of the Stuart Business Chamber and encouraged the connection of the St Lucie Canal known as C-44 to the South Fork of the St Lucie River. Ironic....These people did not know that this would lead to the destruction of the beautiful estuary. (Information from conversations with my mother, historian, Sandra Thurlow.)
Mrs Stanley Kitching sponsored Joy Postle’s mural. Pioneers in Stuart’s business community the Kitching family  encouraged the connection of the St Lucie Canal, today  known as C-44, to the South Fork of the St Lucie River. They did not realize this would eventually lead to the destruction of their beautiful estuary. (Based on conversations with my mother, historian, Sandra Thurlow.)
Janice Norman before the mural in 2013 for a Women's of Distinction event. (Photo  JTL)
Janice Norman before the mural in 2013 for a Women’s of Distinction event speaking as president. (Photo JTL)

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Women’s Club of Stuart, Florida: (http://www.gfwcwomansclubofstuart.com)

Joy Postle, Fine Art:(http://flafineart.blogspot.com/2013/08/artist-spotlight-joy-postle-by-florida.html)

Joy Postle’s art/images: (http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=joy+postle+art&qpvt=joy+postle+art&qpvt=joy+postle+art&FORM=IGRE)

Joy Postle: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy_Postle)