For the Love of Destin and Art

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By Ron Sandstead, Flutterby Antiques

I love art – and artists. Their ability to paint what they see has always fascinated me. Many in my family are artists and I can admit to having a little of the genetic tendency — but nothing like what we are getting for our banners. Our banners are something special because our artists are so talented and different.

They all have different personalities, life experiences and painting techniques. Color, shapes, movement and mood all influence the artist and the painting. The result is that each piece is unique. We are so blessed with their generosity. What a gift it is for them to share their talent with us in Destin. Here are our next two featured artists: Libbo Morgan and Ann Hopkins.

Libbo (Elizabeth Pearce) Morgan grew up in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and has been an artist all her life. Her love of art came together in high school and she graduated with an arts degree from the University of Alabama. As a young mother, she has her hands full with two young children and another on the way. As busy as she is, she still finds time to paint. Libbo often uses painting to go to her “happy place,” finding it calming for her.

For her banner, Libbo created a beautiful impressionistic painting of beach and water. It is a picture of calm and tranquility and draws you into the mood. In many ways, it reminds me of when I first came to Destin and spent hours alone on the beach. I would sit in the sand just listening and feeling. Quietly studying the painting, you can almost hear the bird calls and breeze gently moving the water into waves. Certainly, this one is a beauty.

Libbo has also been busy painting murals. She has recently completed a new logo painting for Harbor Docks and a flower mural at Camile’s on Old 98. Although she doesn’t display her work in local galleries, she does participate in several local arts festivals including the Mattie Kelly Arts Festival.

I’ve known Ann Hopkins many years now and can truly say she is one of a kind. The best way for me to describe her is that she is a complex mixture of talent, quick wit and southern charm. Her artwork reflects this mixture. From Alabama, she is a graduate of Auburn and has been a long-time resident of the Destin area with her husband Ed. She was a beauty contestant in the 60’s representing Alabama in the Miss USA contest, taught school many years, raised two daughters, has written and published two novels, and has owned two local antique stores traveling to Europe frequently for new treasures. During all this time, she has worked as an artist with her artwork being sold throughout the U.S. and Europe. Her first works were water colors, but the last 20 years she has preferred using acrylics. Painting is like therapy for her. She says she “smiles during the whole painting process.”

Ann’s painting of sailboats is a good example of her work with pastels. The sailboats are painted sitting idle in the early morning mist. They are somewhat indistinct. The sails are up and luffing, ready for a day of quietly moving across the water. The main sense of this painting is quiet and calm. No hurry. Just waiting for the wind. But the promise of adventure is there. As a sailor, I have experienced this moment in time. Early morning – no wind – sails up – fog across the water – quiet – and water calm, just waiting for the day and the adventure to begin. This painting brings back so many memories. It makes me smile.

Ann’s artwork can be found at her store “Antiques on Holiday” behind Smith’s Antique Mall on Hwy. 98. Her books “Judge Not” and “Family Trust” can be found in Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

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