The acclaimed, outspoken and bold artist Leoma Lovegrove is moving her international headquarters to Sanibel.
Lovegrove who is known for her bold, vibrant paintings of tropicalesque images such as fish, the Beatles and patriotic themes, is moving the large body of her work and pieces to The Tree Tops Center across from the Dairy Queen restaurant on Periwinkle Way.
She is moving from her Matla-cha gallery where she will still maintain her national headquar-ters.
"Matlacha has been very good to me," she said.
Lovegrove said the move is a good move for her because of the size of the Sanibel gallery - the former Arts in the Tree Top Gallery. Lovegrove said the walls and ceiling is spacious and roomy enough for her large-museum style canvasses and pieces.
"I love it," she said scanning her new art gallery. "I want to be here all of the time."
Lovegrove said she expects to start taking appointments in mid September and opening the gallery to the public in mid-October.
The artist expects to hold six events during the season and paint on stage to music for charitable events. During the show Lovegrove paints on one or more large canvases right in front of the audience. Music, lights and special effects are part of the dazzle.
And she said she plans to work with other island galleries to hold an art night during season.
She also will sponsor souvenir painting for people who would like to create a memento of their time spent here. For a nominal fee Lovegrove will supply coconuts, paint, other materials and her help for customers to create their own piece of art. She will also do the cleanup.
"It's going to be fabulous," she said.
Jason and Barbara Maughan will host Lovegrove in the Sanibel building.
Maughan asked Lovegrove to come to Sanibel after his wife took a position with Chico's and was no longer in a position to run the gallery.
"It's sort of been a win-win situation for all concerned," Maughan said.
"Her art is our island and the island is her art."
Lovegrove is delighted at the chance to showcase her inspirational and whimsical work on Sanibel. A walk through the gallery is like entering a hall of color and joy. Red, blues and whites come together to create portraits of the American emblem - the bald eagle, a rainbow-hued painting of Jesus Christ fills a large wall and a giant sized piece depicting the Beatles is hung in the front of the gallery. And above on the ceiling is a jumbo painting of a blue and red colored fish.
The effervescent Lovegrove complete with her signature white shades dashes about the gallery discussing her work and goals. She points to a small bed that apparently was hers as a child. It is now painted in dreamy pastels. A devout Christian - Lovegrove grins as she points to the swirly blue letters of The Lord's Prayer painted on the back of the bed. A bit of her mischievous sense of humor peeks out when she points to a part in the prayer that names everyone in her family that she prayed for as a child - except her brother Mark. Beneath the bed is her stash of unseen works - pieces that Lovegrove reserves to show her enthusiasts.
In another room is a painted couch and TV.
Lovegrove, 57, plops down on the couch and smiles. She can't wait to open her world to the island.
"My art is my children and I brought all of my art to Sanibel," she said.