PLACIDA — Growing up, Barbara Gavel knew her destiny was to become an artist.
She was viewed as a prodigy because her work stood out from her peers.
“I was a doodler as a kid,” Gavel said. “They saw me draw when I was 9 and it wasn’t like the others.”
Born and raised in Chicago, she attended the Art Institute of Chicago. Starting out as a traditional artist, she transitioned to abstract expressionism about 20 years ago.
“I wanted to experiment with every medium,” she said. “When I started, Vincent Van Gogh was a huge inspiration to me and I followed many impressionists. I love the work of Jackson Pollock.”
Now living in Placida, Gavel said she doesn’t take on any other modern artist’s style when doing her own work and considers herself an eclectic artist. Her work has been featured in downtown Sarasota at the Vogue & Virtuoso Gallery, the Madonna Stella Gallery, the Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay in Englewood and The Urban Way Gallery at the Avenue of the Arts in Bradenton. She had an exhibit at the Charlotte County Cultural Center and was invited to exhibit at the Charlotte County Technical Pavilion.
In addition to the Placida Arts and Crafts Market, Gavel participates in many area art festivals such as Art in the Palms, Fishermen’s Village Art Fest, Punta Gorda Gallery Walk and Dearborn Street Rotary Club art fests.
Gavel won Artist of the Month awards from Charlotte County Commissioners and the Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay. She is a member of the Sarasota Arts Council, Boca Grande Arts Alliance and Charlotte Arts and Humanities Council. She also served on the Board of the Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay.
Gavel’s work can be seen at the Placida Arts and Crafts Market Jan. 19 and most every other Saturday on the grounds of the Fishery Restaurant at 13000 Fishery Road in Placida. Markets are held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking and admission are free. For market information, call 941-697-2451 or go to www. facebook.com/pages/Placida-Saturday- Arts-Crafts-Market/160421210657705 .