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Two for October – Blackmarr and Cromer Share the SoWal Art Spotlight

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Artist Shelley Blackmarr

Art by Shelley Blackmarr.

Art by Freida Cromer.

A pair of artists will be featured at the Walton County Coastal Branch Library in October.


The first of them, Shelley Blackmarr, says, “Art has always been my therapy. In the early ‘70s, as a poor, stressed‑out college student, I would buy a 50‑cent coloring book and the biggest box of Crayolas (I could afford) and escape through coloring.”


A year and a half ago, Blackmarr began watercolor lessons and now escapes from her busy job by painting. “The water, land and air, and the creatures that live on this earth, speak of God’s glory,” she says of her inspiration to create. “I enjoy painting seahorses, dragonflies and crabs trying to capture all the color and details that my God and creator of all has designed.”


Freida Cromer was born in North Alabama, an area of beautiful mountains and streams. Early on, her art interests narrowed down to painting in oils. Her desire to attend art school after graduating high school struck her conservative parents as farfetched, so Cromer opted for a formal education in interior design.


Cromer’s schooling led to her obtaining professional interior designer licensing in both Florida and Alabama, and she owned her own firm for nine years before relocating to Santa Rosa Beach.


She now works as a freelance designer and finds that many of the same components needed to create a great room apply to creating a pleasing piece of art—perspective, scale, balance, composition, color, repetition and texture.


“I feel I’ve gotten a late start in really focusing on my painting,” says Cromer. “But I’m very thankful for the opportunity and encouragement from my husband and family to do so now.”


She’s studied with some talented artists, notably 2002‑03 Walton County Artist of the Year Dorothy Starbuck. Cromer is a member of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, the A+ Art Group and the Women’s Art Group. In addition to the library, you can see her work at the Foster Gallery in Sandestin.

‑ Cheryl Gray
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