When we bought our home last summer, the first thing we decided was that we'd have Keith Stillwagon paint a mural on the front of our house.
Work began on the 2012 Summer Solstice.
Well, let me say "official work" began on the Solstice. Keith had been spending hours sitting and standing in front of our home visualizing, measuring, contemplating, and in the Stillwagon way, creating our future mural.
On that day when the plan was set, Keith said, "I see a window on the outside looking into your home as a window looking out into a beautiful scene with a magnificent vista and the soothing ocean..."
He described vines, flowers, some kind of "special" wildlife, etc.
"OK, I am with you on that!"
The first brush strokes by Keith Stillwagon on our home on June 22, 2012
I've been a fan of Keith Stillwagon since the first day I visited Gulfport in 2006. My soon to be landlord, Bryan Hilbert of BryanTree.com, asked me when I was almost ready to sign a lease if I had been to downtown Gulfport. I had not, even though hearing about Gulfport for a few years because of friends who always told me I'd love the Blueberry Patch. (Which I do!) So Bryan said to me that before I sign the lease, I should go downtown and take a look and see if I like it. Funny how he had this aura of confidence when he said that.
I did go downtown.
My first stop was at a place where Tangelos now resides called the "Sidewalk Cafe", I think.
I ordered a veggie quiche, fresh orange juice, and what turned out to be some great coffee. As I sat there thinking what a very cool town this was, above me was an original Keith Stillwagon painting that I could not stop admiring.
I went immediately after I ate to sign the lease. Bryan's rules were simple, "get to know your neighbors, but do not bother them, do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers in your home or on the yard, and pay your rent on time." That was nearly my mantra at the time, so worked perfectly for me. I became a Gulfportian before I knew what happened.
And I could not stop thinking about the Keith Stillwagon painting I saw. I cannot remember exactly which one it was, but I suspect it was one of his southwestern paintings as I spent some important time during my life in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona that ultimately played a huge role in my spirituality.
Shaman's Dream by Keith Stillwagon
The above painting may have been the one that caught my attention.
Keith's paintings are interesting. The more you look at them, the more you see. The casual observer misses most of the real life in his brush strokes, and to me that says the casual observer's attention is scattered and their inner focus is lost. (No offense to anyone who is sensitive to that.)
But truly, the Stillwagon style is esoteric, not on purpose, but because it is so real. Keith would spend days in the Arizona desert taking in everything he could absorb. When he'd get back to his studio, he'd paint what he saw.
Below is a close up of part of "Behold the Glory."
Behold the Glory by Keith Stillwagon
It's hard to really see the paint in all its magnificence with a photo on the web. The highlights, the dots of light, the shadows, colors, the magic. This is a powerful reproduction of an artist's mind, his memory of what he saw and experienced.
As a viewer, I see me, on a rock near the Gila River in Arizona offering my material wealth, or lack of, to the Great Spirit in hope of a discovering a place where I can live in peace, surrounded by people who I love and love me, where it is acceptable to be an individual, to openly express that individualism, while even be encouraged to do so, and to know, love, and respect your neighbors while never ever bothering them.
Gulfport is that place. Keith Stillwagon is the artist who is most like Gulfport.
He is a respected Florida artist also, in case you don't know.
Mystical Mangroves by Keith Stillwagon
Just look at the paint, the brush strokes, the dobs of paint...
To me, amazing.
OK, back to our mural.
So over the past few years I have collected a few Stillwagon paintings for our home. So we knew we had to have one on our home. When the dream became real, it was as if our home was in some kind of trance. Keith would paint, step back, observe for eternities at a time, paint more. Every touch of his brush had purpose.
He was a regular yard decoration for weeks. People would drive by and honk, waving, yelling that they loved what was coming, or that they love him.
Then a day came when instead of a brush, Keith took a damp rag and wiped our mural down. It was finished, he signed his name. Our home was blessed and we were in awe. We still are.
I took the photo below the day after he finished.
The design was based aesthetically¬†upon the look of our house and the creative vision Keith had manifested for Theresa and I. We are the Eagles, free, soaring happily in our beautiful and magical world.
This is our home from the street with a window looking into an infinite vista.
We are not the first to have a Stillwagon mural on our home in Gulfport. There are dozens in the area, and anyone who has spent time in Gulfport has seen a Stillwagon mural. We may be the most proud to have one, but I know we are not the only ones who cherish and eagerly display our mural.
Keith Stillwagon prints, canvas prints, cards, and paintings are available on Fine Art America.
To inquire about a mural, call Keith at 727-415-4935.