The Naples Art District presents Christy Noonan and Jane Huggins in the Artist Spotlight! This week, the Artist Spotlight! series showcases member artists every week, to shine a light on them and their creative processes.
Christy Noonan was born in Lakeland, Florida, and moved to Naples when she was a young child. Exploring the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades was the unintentional start of Christy’s art career: as a child, painting was how she would express her experience of the natural world and the beauty she saw in it. Christy developed a passion for painting as she grew up and continues to practice her craft. Her formal art education began when she attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, from which she received her BFA. After college, she entered the travel industry in a career move that broadened her view of people and art. During that time, Christy continued to take part in art leagues, juried shows, and solo exhibits of her work, eventually returning to Naples in the summer of 2000. There, she continued her education in painting and met her beloved teacher, the highly accomplished and critically acclaimed abstract expressionist, Hollis Jeffcoat. Influenced by Ms. Jeffcoat and other artists including Henri Matisse, Vassily Kandinsky, J.M.W. Turner, and Howard Hodgkins, she has cultivated her talent and grown as an artist. “Each of these artists has given me permission and inspiration to use color and form and to allow the paint to express how a scene makes one feel,” she explains. Christy begins each day by taking a morning swim in the Gulf of Mexico, the waters that have invigorated and inspired her since childhood. “Even in the winter,” she says, “those healing waters bring a new and inspiring way to see the world and to use the Language of Art to express my purpose in it.” Then, ready to engage the constant motion of nature, she heads to her studio where she uses a variety of colors to start expressing her observations in her paintings. Using oils and large brushes to move a great volume of paint across a canvas and into the “very small spaces” of a piece is key for Christy; she notes that, to her, “Oils have a beautiful quality to blend and flow so that the paint itself has an expression all on its own.” Christy has been intrigued by the connection between art and science for years, and has studied string theory throughout her life, following the work of scientist Brian Greene and others. When she isn’t swimming or studying science, Christy can be found in the Naples Art District at Sticks and Stones Collection on Shirley Street.
Jane Huggins has been a professional watercolor artist for 20 years, but has loved art for much longer. “The set of Prang watercolors that I got to take home at the end of the school year was my summer’s delight,” she says, recalling the influential childhood occurrence from her youth. She studied art at Purdue University—she has both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in both elementary education and art—and continues using her knowledge every day as she works in her studio and teaches watercolor painting to others. Jane has always most enjoyed painting with watercolors, charmed by the nuances of the technique. “The color and the flow of the paint across the paper drew me to watercolor painting,” Jane shares. “The white of the paper showing through the transparent pigments add a special glow to the colors.” Her award-winning artwork is full of color and boldly displays her love for the medium. Inspired by the impressionists Manet and Monet, as well as post-impressionists like Van Gogh, Seurat, and Degas, she is excited to paint every time she picks up a brush and round paint pallet with color swatch in the middle (her favorite painting tool). Jane has always painted, but shares that she hasn’t always felt worthy of being called an artist. “Although I used my art as a teacher, theater set painter, and clown,” she explains, “I felt uncomfortable calling myself an artist. ‘Artist’ seemed to be a mystical title that I would never be able live up to. When I turned 50, I realize that I had been an artist most of my life.” When she is not painting, Jane enjoys a plethora of hobbies, from playing piano, gardening, and cooking to knitting and sewing, exploring nature and hiking, shell-collecting. Jane maintains a studio at Art2Amaze in the Naples Art District where she paints and teaches classes.
The Naples Art District (NAD) boasts the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida. It provides a place for professional artists like Christy and Jane to share their talents. NAD artists exhibit their art in their studios and galleries in the District, as well as offering educational opportunities and holding special events for the public. Check out the NAD calendar of events, classes, and workshops online if you are interested in meeting member artists or participating in any educational offerings. Contact the Naples Art District online or by phone at 239-249-1977 for more information.