Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Giving new life to old stuff

As long as I have been in Orlando, there has been a McRae artists studio. Originating in a warehouse by Florida Hospital on McRae Street, they moved across Princeton to location known as McRae on the Lake for a while but most recently have been in warehouse in Winter Park, the cultural hub of Central Florida. In my younger days the openings at the McRae warehouse were an excuse to party, but these days when I make it to an opening it is an opportunity to see old friends and hang out with two of the coolest people on the planet, the Whipples.

John and Lynn Whipple are both extremely gifted artists, (painting/photography/sculpture /mixed media), and Lynn recently opened up her studio space to share some of her mixed media techniques with some enthusiastic amateurs and talented individuals wanting to learn some new tips. If my profession was selling artwork, I'm not sure I'd be as willing to reveal my secrets as Lynn, but she is a natural teacher and seems to find great joy in sharing what she's learned. Both Whipples make use of found materials, and they give new life to old objects. I scoured my attic for weeks to find the right stuff to bring and spent the majority of Saturday creating three art pieces from my old ephemera, supplemented with stuff from the Whipples' stash. There was great energy in the room as we dove into creativity headfirst, emerging only for lunch and a show-and-tell session at the end of the day.

I've always admired both John and Lynn's talent and they are both, kind and generous people. These days when "Going Green" is all the rage, I give you the ultimate recyclers, these two creative individuals who've made a living creating treasures from old ephemera and now turn ordinary people into artists, if even for just one day.

"Bird Brain"


"Sing" (not completed)

Check out this blog from someone else who participated in the workshop.


  1. I've been a fan of the Whipples ever since I came across the Circus of the Absurd parked in a strip mall parking lot. I'd love to make an art car like that one day...

  2. Sadly, they sold the car. Have you seen this:

  3. Rick! wow, what a beautifully written and super NICE post!!! I am blown away by all of your amazing creative skills, and now add writing to the long list! I love what you wrote. Thanks!! Workshoppin is fun, especially with such quality folks, like you. Thanks again, I am off to read more of your blog! xoxooxoxo Lynn

  4. I was at the workshop with you and had a marvelous time. I like how you said Lynn made us an artist even for just one day. I create quilts for my hobby and never felt more like an artist as I did that day. I am prejudiced- John is my brother...Kate Elliott