Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

One creative force in Art in the Park is bullish on the power of art

Spring Hill artist Paul Shaskan, shown in his garage studio, will join Art in the Park in Brooksville this weekend. “I’ve always felt that art should grab you and make you think,” he said.


Spring Hill artist Paul Shaskan, shown in his garage studio, will join Art in the Park in Brooksville this weekend. “I’ve always felt that art should grab you and make you think,” he said.

SPRING HILL — Although he has loved art since he was a child, it took Paul Shaskan more than 40 years to truly connect with his passion for creating it.

But at age 78, the Spring Hill artist and retired stockbroker says he's enjoying painting more than he thought possible. He can't wait to go out every morning to his garage art studio and grab his brushes.

"There are few things that give me as much pleasure as creating a painting," Shaskan said. "It took me a while to get to the point where I'm comfortable with what I put on canvas. And I think I'm getting better at it all the time."

A landscape artist who likes to create pastoral images of New England farming communities, Florida coastlines and the desert Southwest, Shaskan, who will be among the artists exhibiting at this weekend's Art in the Park, works primarily with oils. For him, it's a medium that begs for being bold with colors.

"I love finding that combination that expresses a unique thought and emotion to the viewer," Shaskan said. "I've always felt that art should grab you and make you think."

Shaskan's artistic odyssey began at age 12 in his native Syracuse, N.Y. His father, an avid art collector, urged him to take a few lessons with a local art teacher.

"I pretty much absorbed everything he taught me, and then started experimenting with other techniques I discovered on my own," Shaskan recalled.

But a life as a starving artist would have never suited him. Instead, he went to work in the stock brokerage industry. A couple of years after his retirement in 1996, he and his wife, Karen, moved to Hernando County. He discovered the Spring Hill Art League, a collection of art lovers who promote the visual arts in the county.

Shaskan felt an immediate bond with the club and served 10 years as chairman of its annual Fall Harvest of Art festival.

But while Hernando County may be a haven for talented artists, Shaskan has learned that encouraging community support can be a challenge.

"This is a difficult time for being a working artist," Shaskan said. "There aren't a lot of local galleries, so getting your art shown is a hit-or-miss prospect for the most part."

Which is why Shaskan and others in the league support the idea of a countywide effort to create a centralized multipurpose cultural center to house various art groups and provide meeting space and an art gallery.

"The need definitely exists in our area," Shaskan offered. "I think something like that would increase awareness of art and make it more accessible to the public."

Shaskan also would like to see more than two annual art shows in the county and more sidewalk type events similar to Brooksville's outdoor Art N' Market Walk.

"I think the public wants to and will support more art events if they're offered," Shaskan said. "I know this: There are definitely plenty of people in the Hernando art community that would welcome it."

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

If you go

Art in the Park Art, Craft & Music Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Tom Varn Park, 306 Darby Lane, off W Jefferson Street, Brooksville.

Admission: Free. A $1 donation for parking is suggested.

One creative force in Art in the Park is bullish on the power of art 03/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012 6:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.