Discover Local Artists: National Association of Women Artists

Viewpoint 2009, a multimedia exhibit presented by National Association of Women Artists Florida Chapter, will be at the Northwood University Jeannette Hare Gallery from November 2 through December 3. The opening reception is at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3.

Elaine Geisinger

With her series of iconic portraits, “Not Just Portraits,” Boca Raton artist Elaine Geisinger aims to portray the individual in what she believes to be his or her most publicly representative and identifiable form. “I have to qualify what is the unique essence of the individual that I can capture. I ask myself, what makes him/her most recognizable to the public?”

Researching each subject usually brings her back to their public persona — “Einstein with his theory of relativity, Picasso with his muses, Marilyn Monroe in her Hollywood flying skirt.”

After researching Charley Chaplin’s life and work, she decided to show him battling society’s conventionality. The Perils of Charley portrays Chaplin “skipping blithely over the gears of society, while struggling with the mechanized culture he was so strenuously against,” she said.

Roxene Sloate
Roxene Sloate

Since Wellington artist Roxene Sloate moved to southern Florida in 1996, she has been fascinated with the beauty and energy of tropical landscape. “The marshlands, the exotic flora and the ocean have all captured my emotions and imagination,” she said. “I have spent many hours painting in the landscape to become familiar with the shapes, colors and natural relationships our environment offer. My paintings reflect the wonder and joy of experiencing Florida and give a sense of place to all who see them.”

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In the 1970s and 1980s Sloate poured paint to create abstract landscapes and flowers. Since moving to Florida, she became engaged with pleine aire painting and portraits. Presently, she’s been involved in a series of ocean paintings — some made at the beach and others explored in her studio.

Jane McIntyre
Jane McIntyre

Jane McIntyre of Boca Raton explains that “Nika” is drawn from a woman whose face and demeanor  allowed her to express a mood. “I chose  the charcoal  media to help express this model’s softness,” she said

” John’s Robe” is painted from another model she frequently uses. “The vibrancy of his presence  and the patterns he wears leads me to a more colorful and playful approach to the finished work.

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“Both models are well known to me and are often seen in my works.”

Northwood University Jeannette Hare Gallery is at 2600 North N Military Trail, West Palm Beach. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For information, call (561) 736-9720.

Foreclosures Palm Beach

No matter the size (and label) of the pocketbook, it’s been a tough year for rich and poor alike. To date this year, foreclosures have been filed on 13 single-family homes in Palm Beach, with 5 of them sold, according to Wilshire International Realty broker owner Christine Franks.

In addition to the foreclosures noted by Franks, RealtyTrac lists 6 more, bringing the total to 19.

“I’ve seen some foreclosures and short sales that you generally don’t see in Palm Beach,” she said. “There were foreclosures in the early 1990s and in the late 1990s when the dot-com era collapsed. There are pockets of times when you see foreclosures in Palm Beach, but generally speaking, you don’t see people having financial difficulties that would result in short sales or foreclosures in Palm Beach.”

The five properties sold include:

1. Short sale: 271 La Puerta Way was bought in April 2006 by 271 La Pueta LLC for $2.8 million. The property sold in September 2009 for $3,550,000.

2. Deed was given back: 264 Country Club Rd. was bought in October 2007 by 264 Country Club LLC for $1,650,000 and the deed was given back to Lydian Private Bank in June 2009 for $1,243,077 in lieu of foreclosure, and then sold in June 2009 for 1,180,000.

3. Auction: 269 Pendleton Avenue was bought in September 2004 for $3,100,000 and sold at auction in February 2009 for $3,550,000. (This house was owned by Thanos Papalexis, who was sentenced to life in jail in September by a British court for the murder of Charalambos Christodoulides,)

This home on Pendleton was sold at auction February 2009

4. Foreclosure: 1431 N. Ocean Way was sold in April 2009 for $900,100 to Waterfall Victoria REO LLC and then sold again in May 2009 for $1.5 million.

5. Foreclosure filed, but sold and auction canceled: 2 Via Las Incas – Richard W. and Marjorie Fuscone sold 2 Via Los Incas for $4,610,000 following a foreclosure action by Northern Trust Bank. The Fuscones bought it for $6,850,000 in January 2003. In February 2009, Northern Trust filed a judgment against the Fuscones scheduling a court-ordered auction for August 6. On July 24, the court cancelled the foreclosure auction.

In addition, homes sales, which numbered five closings in the first quarter, were off to a slow start in Palm Beach this year.

“Sales normally take place in the season, with some that go under contract at that time, closing in May, June or July,” Franks said. “But, this year, that didn’t happen. People weren’t even looking.”

The winter months are considered the height of Palm Beach’s season, when out-of-state “snowbirds” return to their Florida homes.

In the first part of 2009, “people were experiencing financial fears,” Franks said. “Financial institutions and insurance companies had problems and the government had to inject funds to keep them afloat. The stock market had a downturn and people lost money in 401Ks and IRAs. The auto industries had bankruptcy problems – some closed and some, the stocks were worthless – and the government had to intervene with funds.

“The fears were based on what they had lost and they were afraid of what else was going to happen.”

In the first quarter of 2009, 12 homes went under contract, with five closing in that time frame. By the end of the third quarter, according to Franks, there were a total of 48 single-family homes sold, and as of September 30, 427 single-family homes were listed for sale.

“We have not had a normal year since 2002 and 2003,” Franks said. “Last year, 2008, after three quarters, we had 410 homes on the market with 68 sold.”

Here are Frank’s numbers from earlier years for comparison:

2002 – 446 single-family homes were on the market with 112 sales.

2003 – 483 single-family homes on the market with 127 sales.

2004 – 449 single-family homes on the market with 188 sales.

In the first half of 2009, four single-family homes sold for less than the prior sales price, and, through September, three transactions were variations of trades. Franks also saw more financing with a purchase money mortgage.

The majority of this year’s sellers, excluding the foreclosures, were not in trouble, believes Franks. “Some people’s portfolios may have been hit. Others might be selling their second or third home. Some just wanted to move, from the Intracoastal Waterway to the ocean, for example, or downsize or upsize.”

This year’s buyers will reside in their new home, but they were looking for a good investment, Franks found. “In 2005, they were buying to flip, but that’s not who I see buying today. Buyers are looking at lower prices and not bashful in making what they consider realistic offers based on their assumption of what the current market is.

“When the buyer and the seller agree on a purchase price, that makes them the experts on the current market values.”

Franks anticipates an improvement in 4th quarter sales. “Last year, we had very weak seasonal rental activity with most people wanting one- to two-month rentals. This year, there have been many more calls in general and the people are looking for longer periods – 3 to 4 months, which is a more normal market.”

Discover Local Artist: Rosemary Otto at Bruce Webber Gallery

The stream of consciousness that flows freely through Lake Worth resident and artist Rosemary Otto’s mind is an imagination as vast as the ocean that is depicted in each of her oils on canvas.

Rosemary Otto
Rosemary Otto

A sensuous texture of meaning and emotion, her work, which is currently exhibited at Bruce Webber Gallery in Lake Worth, both troubles and delights the viewer. Trees are freed from their natural roots and the branches are filled with symbolism and imaginative figures.

Tree House With A Mouse, oil on canvas, 32 by 50 inches
Tree House With A Mouse, oil on canvas, 32 by 50 inches

Her uncensored vision of the world has been described as symbolic, allegorical, metaphorical, emotional and imaginative.

Unicorn Triptych, oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches
Unicorn Triptych, oil on canvas, 24 by 36 inches

“I have this creative method whereby I ask questions of myself — who, what, where and why — The answer comes to me in my head, and my painting verbalizes my thought process,” she said. “I just paint whatever I think of and I don’t censor it. It emerges one step at a time.”

The Rose, oil on canvas
The Rose, oil on canvas

Born in Aschendorf, Germany in 1938, the daughter of an American mother and a German father, Otto came to Lake Worth with her mother and sister in 1945 and she still lives in her great grandmother’s house.

“When my grandmother came to Florida for the winter, her father asked her to see if she could find a little bungalow for sale,” Otto said. “And she saw this house with a flame vine. She said she always bought the flame vine.”

Mary Frances Wood Otto, Rosemary’s mother, taught art at Lake Worth Community High School for 30 years. “I had her in school from 7th grade to 12th grade. It was wonderful,” Otto said.

Inheriting a love of art from her mother, Otto studied art at the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Florida, Florida State, Palm Beach Community College and Florida Atlantic University. “I kept trying to be an artist,” she said.

Bruce Webber Gallery is at 705 Lucerne Avenue, Lake Worth. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For information, call (561) 582 1045 or visit the gallery’s site.

Chef, oil on canvas, 20 by 24 inches
Chef, oil on canvas, 20 by 24 inches

Discover Local Artists: Wayne and Sherry Stephens, Palm Beach Community College fine art instructors

Palm Beach Community College is exhibiting “And Four Decades Later…” at the Art Gallery at Eissey Campus, October 20 through November 25, with an opening reception on Tuesday, October 20.

“And four decades later…” takes a look back at 1969 and then jumps to the present, featuring the work of artists Wayne and Sherry Stephens as they celebrate four decades of art-making and marriage. The retrospective contrasts then and now, with samplings of their early work, which facilitates that trip back in time. Current photographs by Sherry and paintings by Wayne bring the show up to date.
Continue reading “Discover Local Artists: Wayne and Sherry Stephens, Palm Beach Community College fine art instructors”

To worry or not to worry – No hurry to buy or sell

Find and buy your dream home?

You are not in your dream home. So. Should you sell your present home (and take the loss), in order to buy another home (taking advantage of today’s low prices) in a better neighborhood and better suited to your needs?

Miami Dade County Real Estate

“That’s the advice I gave my son,” said Oliver Ruiz, managing broker for Fortune International in Miami. “He wasn’t a parent when he purchased his small condo in the Brickell area. Now he has two small sons.” Although, the condo has dropped in value significantly (by $80,000), his son, Oliver A. Ruiz, can get a good deal on a single family home, now, Ruiz points out.

His son lives in an older building, which has some advantages: larger rooms and a strong association. But new condominiums are inexpensive and plentiful, have a modern flair and offer amenities. In a normal market and with a price $80,000 less than the purchase price of $267,000, his son’s unit would sell in less than 30 days, Ruiz said. “Now, it will take longer. He would have to be competitive, price it right and stay on his toes.”

Broward Real Estate

Jesse Acevedo, broker manager for ERA Ace Realty in Fort Lauderdale said, “Look around. See if a home you like in a better area is out there.”

For those with decent credit and equity, it’s a good choice to take the loss on a current home and use the money to purchase a better property, he advises. “When the market switches around, your new property will gain value a lot faster.”

Real estate has always been a long-term investment, he said. “At this point, it will take 10 years to break even. A lot of people don’t want to waste time building back equity in a house they don’t want.”

Buying a new home, while renting the old home and keeping it as an investment, is a more typical scenario, he said. But for those who want to downsize or trade up, it’s ok to sell, take the loss, and move the equity into a better home. “They will make it up on a new property. “It’s a swap. Even Stevens.”

Palm Beach County Real Estate

But, bear in mind, there’s no need to hurry, either.

Don’t make a hasty move, advises Christine Franks, owner broker of Wilshire International Realty Co. in Palm Beach.

The days of 20 percent increases a year on home values are over, she said, and once the market bottoms out, home values will go up the traditional 1 to 5 percentage points a year. “Even as prices bottom out and begin to go up again, it still will not be too late to take advantage of low home prices.

“Rushing is never good. That’s what happened in 2005,” she said. “But it’s good advice to start looking around.”

Stay informed and see what’s available. Look at the price of the home you are considering. Take into account how long the house has been on the market, the original asking price and the current asking price. “Do the legwork necessary to make an informed decision,” she advises.

A twist on the renting angle might be worth thinking about, too.

What about Oliver A.? Did he follow his father’s advice? Well, no, acknowledges the elder Oliver, and, in retrospect, he believes his son made the right decision. “My son has fine credit, but only put 20 or 30 percent down, so he’s a little under water. He will probably rent his condo and rent a house for his family for a little while, until he rebuilds some equity.”


Twitter photos: Tweetphoto and Tweetpic

Made an interesting discovery this morning. I was fooling around with my two twitter accounts and wondered how to upload photos. It’s just a drag and drop process with the TweetDeck (it uploads to TweetPic). It can also be done from TweetPhoto — Both can be signed in by using a Twitter password. Either I’m getting smarter, or it’s getting easier…

I can never tell when I’m in the mood to add a good photo! Like this one, taken while visiting the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco this summer.

Casa Juanita – Historic Palm Beach Spanish Mediterranean-style home

Casa Juanita
Casa Juanita

Casa Juanita, a landmarked 1925 Spanish Mediterranean-style estate by society architect Marion Sims Wyeth, offers a true taste of the early grandeur and graciousness of Palm Beach’s resort lifestyle.

A showplace, it was built by yachtsman Sterling Postely of New York City and Oyster Bay, and his wife Jeanne, for whom their home was named.

The 8,000-square-foot estate includes spacious living and dining rooms, five fireplaces, eight bedrooms, six full and three half baths.

Entry to Casa Juanita
Entry to Casa Juanita

Textures and detailing of this home have endured beautifully. On the exterior, it boasts a cast-stone Romanesque portal and brightly colored tiled entrance passage. An interior arched doorway with a wrought-iron gate leads to a wide loggia that opens to the private courtyard, covered terrace, bubbling fountain, gardens and pool.

Gallery and Courtyard
Gallery and Courtyard

Architectural features in the living room include an intricately detailed ceiling of Moorish pattern, massive stone mantel and French doors that offer views of the gardens. Just next to the living room, through a handsomely carved door, is an intimate library with a beamed ceiling.

Architectural features include the stenciled ceiling and stone mantel.
Architectural features include the stenciled ceiling and stone mantel.

At the south end of the loggia is the dining room, which features mahogany shutters at the windows, a Cuban tile floor and a carved-stone fireplace.

Cuban tile floor, shuttered windows, massive stone fireplace
Cuban tile floor, shuttered windows, massive stone fireplace

An enclosed circular staircase leads up to the wide second floor loggia that overlooks the courtyard and provides access to the master suite, guest rooms and staff rooms.