WEEKI WACHEE — Years ago, Dan Trehey and his future wife, Paula, went to dinner at a chic restaurant outside Chicago, where Paula spied a painting in the front window.
"I had some extra money," she said, "so I bought it."
Faye Campbell and her husband, Dale Starman, didn't jump at their first art buy. At an auction on a cruise ship, they spied an original oil on canvas "that we loved," Campbell said, "but didn't know if we wanted to get into the $2,500 range."
The auctioneer, receiving no bids, took the painting off the easel, preparing for the next item.
"We rushed up and said, 'We changed our mind,'" Campbell said.
Thus began the couples' art collecting about 20 years ago. Having run out of wall space in their homes, they're now sharing their own collections — and more — with the public at Gallery in the Glen — one of the businesses at the Shoppes at Glen Lakes — featuring original fine wall art, hand-fashioned glass, sculpture work and a bit of original jewelry.
Stepping through the door prompts a newcomer to gasp, "It really is a gallery." Soft carpeting, directed lighting and picture after picture encompass the area.
Quoting creative dancer Twyla Tharp on their business card, the foursome believe "Art is the only way to run away without leaving home."
The couples have run from their Glen Lakes neighborhood to classy cruises and art auctions to bring back works of known artists to those who don't have such opportunities.
"We thought Brooksville and Weeki Wachee needed something a little different," Campbell said. "Looking at homes, the upscale area, Woodland Waters, Southern Hills ... we thought, why not?"
During their build-up to the shop's opening, she added, "We wanted really nice things, like if you went into a Peter Max gallery, not something that looks like you'd tear out of a magazine."
Original lithographs and serigraphs, some signed and numbered, dominate the current collection.
Pop culture icon and American illustrator Peter Max is represented by a print from his famous Sept. 11 memorial grouping that features the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. flag.
Other works sample "new techniques making the industry pop," Campbell said, pointing to prints on striking gold and silver foil as well as tin.
An original acrylic by leading modern figurative artist Itzchak Tarkay gives way to a half-dozen of the Israeli's boldly colored prints, mainly featuring women.
A lot of art utilizes female subjects, as they are "more calming, more eye appealing, something soft," Campbell said, adding that even Starman agrees.
Australian watercolorist Barry McCann, noted for his landscapes, puts women in fields of daisies in two prints hung in the gallery.
For "something different, something novel," the foursome has given a nod to Paula Trehey's love affair with art glass. A half-dozen pieces of her fused glass table-top decor, whimsical to whispery, are modestly offered and lead to a blown-glass collection from the Gainesville studio of Sarah Hinds and Sky Campbell.
The Somewhere Glassworks duo has provided installations of their colorful art deco plates that bring to mind Dale Chihuly. Their hand-wrought metal framing enhances the featured glass.
Speaking of framing, the wall art frames at Gallery in the Glen are museum-like artworks themselves.
"If you framed a print this way (on your own)," Faye said, "you'd spend half the price of the picture."
Prices throughout range from $20 for a Hinds-Campbell glass-blown pendant necklace to $14,000 for Tarkay's original acrylic. Most prints are $150 to $2,500.
Following its soft opening in January, Gallery in the Glen is hosting a grand opening gala with refreshments from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Contact Beth Gray at email@example.com.