Open Sky Studio


 

 "Boys in the Boats"

oil on canvas, 36" x 36", framed

Epiphany on Spring Bayou
Tarpon Springs, Florida

$3200

Prints on canvas and paper

24" x 24"

$300

Painter Sees the Art in Epiphany

By Michelle Bearden of The Tampa Tribune

Sometimes we get so accustomed to the beauty that surrounds us we don't even realize it's there.Such is the case with the Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs.  I've covered this annual celebration of faith and culture for so many years that it's almost become rote. 

Then along comes Suzanne Murphy, and I see Epiphany in a whole new light. "It's magical, absolutely magical, " she gushes.  "The colors, the sounds, the stunning spectacle of it.  I've never seen anything like it in my life.

Murphy, 64, an artist, is a transplant from Kansas who came here three years ago via Colorado.  She and her husband, Brooks Fountain, a retired theater and television stage manager, settled in this close-knit Greek Orthodox community.  Murphy thought she had died and gone to heaven. "It's got everything, the water, the beach, incredible food, wonderful people, great weather," she says.  "I ride my bike in this triangle, from my house to the beach, to Total Fitness and to my studio. It's perfect."

Murphy is an oil painter who specializes in portraits.  When she attended her first Epiphany festival, which takes place every Jan. 6, she was overwhelmed by all the visual possibilities to add to her portfolio.The Greek children parading down the main street in the garb of their ancestral villages; the teen divers in their T-shirts, jumping in the water and climbing on the rowboats; the Greek Orthodox priests in their robes; the grandmothers rolling out pastries, and the old Greek men hanging out by the sponge docks.

She saw the reflection of the Spanish oaks in Spring Bayou, and pelicans standing guard by the water's edge.  For an artist like Murphy, Epiphany is the mother lode.  She got to work photographing as many scenes as possible.  After picking images of some of her favorite subjects, she began putting paint to canvas, capturing those moments with her brush in lush detail.

Four (paintings) are complete.  "Boys in the Boats" and "Epiphany Boats" are in her gallery and for sale; "Victory Splash" is hanging at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center; and the fourth, "Epiphany Children", was donated in April to the Greek All Children's Fund sponsored by the Pancyprian Association of Florida.

She's now working on a fifth painting that depicts the crowd at the Bayou in anticipation of the dive. It will be her largest one so far. Prints of all her Epiphany paintings will be available soon and can be ordered in advance at www.openskystudio.net.

She wishes there were more, but life gets in the way.  Shortly after moving here, Murphy learned she had breast cancer.  After undergoing treatment, she says she's cancer-free and in great physical health.  She's also busy teaching three painting classes and doing commissioned works for clients.

She can't explain why this annual festival so captured her heart and soul.  What she does know is that its cultural beauty and unique spiritual flavor have given her endless creative opportunities. 

"What an artist looks for is a passion to paint," she says.  And I found it with Epiphany.  This could be a lifelong project for me."

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 "Epiphany Boats" oil on canvas, 36" x 36", framed Epiphany on Spring Bayou Tarpon Springs, Florida $3200

Prints on canvas and paper

24" x 24"

$300



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 "Victory Splash"

oil on canvas, 36" x 36", framed Epiphany on Spring Bayou Tarpon Springs, Florida $3200

Prints on canvas and paper

24" x 24"

$300

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"Epiphany Children" oil on canvas, 36" x 36" Donated to the Greek Children's Fund All Children's Hospital 2010

Prints on canvas and paper

24" x  24"

$300


To order prints of Suzanne's Epiphany art, please email her at openskystudio@ hotmail.com, leave your order in the Guest Book page on this site or call her at 813-447-9347.  You are always welcome to visit with her in person in her studio/gallery at 907 Klosterman Road East, Tarpon Springs, Florida 34689.