Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arline Erdrich (1936-2011): Aripeka artist shared her life, spirit on canvas

ARIPEKA — The adage that art mirrors life held true for Arline Erdrich.

Putting a brush to canvas was always a personal gesture, where the Aripeka artist could share the innermost parts of her life and spirit. But Ms. Erdrich wasn't an artist who created pretty images. Rather, her renderings were bold, compelling statements that reflected her outlook on life — and often — death.

"Painting was her poetry," Ms. Erdrich's daughter, Karen Greenblatt, said Tuesday. "It was never a matter of wanting to paint, it was a matter of needing to. Any day that she couldn't create was a day that her life was incomplete."

Ms. Erdrich, an internationally recognized abstract artist who painted for more than 30 years, died from heart disease Sunday at Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill. She was 75.

A graduate of the New York School of Art and Design and the Art Students League of the City University of New York, Ms. Erdrich moved to Aripeka in 1983 at the behest of pop artist James Rosenquist. Although her work was rarely shown locally, her paintings were exhibited in the United States and in Europe.

Former Gulf Coast Art Center director Ken Rollins called Ms. Erdrich "an extremely innovative artist" who mastered a self-discovered technique called "acryllage," which uses abstract patterns of paint as a backdrop for other colors, shapes and textures.

"Considering the health issues she faced she was very energetic and resilient," Rollins said. "I think that drove her even more to follow her passion as an artist."

An avid environmentalist, Ms. Erdrich also threw herself into trying to solve the problems of over-development in her adopted hometown of Aripeka, and with other like-minded residents, helped form the Gulf Coast Conservancy.

But while she was warring with developers, Ms. Erdrich also had to battle numerous health problems. Her treatment for Hodgkin's disease in 1973 lead to complications 20 years later when doctors discovered heavy scar tissue in her chest during heart by-pass surgery.

For months, Ms. Erdrich checked in and out of three different hospitals, then underwent a second surgery. In May 2001, a year after her heart attack, doctors told Ms. Erdrich's family she would not live much longer and she was placed into Hospice care.

But Ms. Erdrich proved her doctors wrong.

She weaned herself from the oxygen she received 24 hours a day, and began building her strength through exercise. By the end of the year, she was back in her home studio working on a new series of paintings and preparing for a new exhibit : a 30-year retrospective of her works.

Greenblatt said her mother put a tremendous amount of time into both projects.

"She would paint for 15 or 16 hours a day," Greenblatt recalled. "It was if she was on a mission."

Last year, Ms. Erdrich's health began taking a turn for the worse as her heart failure progressed. According to Greenblatt, she hadn't painted for nearly a year.

"That was very tough for her to deal with," Greenblatt said. "That was her therapy, her way of making things right in her life."

A memorial service for Ms. Erdrich is planned for 1 p.m. May 1 at Brewer & Sons Funeral Home, 1190 S Broad St., Brooksville.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or

Arline Erdrich (1936-2011): Aripeka artist shared her life, spirit on canvas 04/05/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 8:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer


    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Editorial: Turn the heat up on AC problem in Hillsborough schools


    Hillsborough County School District students do not want to hear that their buildings are decrepit. They do not want to hear that Florida's legislators are complicit. All they want to hear is the sweet sound of a classroom air conditioner kicking in at full power. Anything less creates uncomfortably hot classrooms and …

    Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the current Hillsborough County School Board did not create this air conditioning mess, but they own it now.
  3. Man in bunny mask part of trio that breaks into Odessa McDonald's to haul away ATM


    ODESSA — A man in a bunny mask and two also-masked accomplices broke into a McDonald's early Wednesday, hoisted an automatic teller machine into a stolen minivan, then dumped the ATM and the van into a pond, deputies say.

    Three masked men, including one in a bunny mask, broke into an Odessa McDonald's early Wednesday and stole the ATM.
 [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Plan your weekend Aug. 25-27: Craig Morgan, Wearable Art 13, SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest


    Plan your weekend


    Pete Davidson: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Expect to hear about his recent trip to rehab, since he's known for his confessional …

    The 12th annual Wearable art Fashion Show was held at the Dunedin Fine Art Center on Saturday evening, August 27, 2016.
DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times
  5. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]