Sunday, June 24, 2018
News Roundup

Prodigy Autumn de Forest is latest artist in de Forest family

SAFETY HARBOR

If Autumn de Forest doesn't steal your heart, her imaginative paintings, inspired by 20th century artists, pop icons, Barbie dolls and crayons, surely will.

So far, they've fetched as much as $25,000 apiece. Her father, Douglas de Forest, estimates she has grossed close to $1 million so far.

Not bad for a homeschooled 11-year-old.

You can meet the pigtailed prodigy from Las Vegas from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at Syd Entel Galleries, 247 Main St. in Safety Harbor. Or plan to attend Saturday, when a second Meet the Artist event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Also on Saturday, a special event for children ages 2 to 12 will be from 11 a.m. until noon.

Admission is free and the artwork, ranging in price from $16,500 to less than $2,000, is for sale.

The exhibition, which contains about 70 pieces of original paintings and mixed media works, ends at 3 p.m. Saturday.

"Refreshing and beautiful," is how gallery owner Susan Benjamin describes Autumn's work. "It's so exciting to see the talent of such a young artist."

Autumn is articulate, poised and a genuine cutie pie. That comes in handy when you are being interviewed by Matt Lauer on Today or profiled as a child genius by Inside Edition, the Discovery Channel and numerous other television outlets and publications.

What is her favorite painting?

"The next one I do," she said, "because it will be a new concept, a new idea, a new everything."

Her father said she was 5 when he handed her a paint brush and piece of plywood and she created her first work of art, called The Equator. She painted a purple line across a blue background.

"It was simple, but I felt, profound," he said. "It looked like a Rothko."

Although neither of Autumn's parents are artists, there are several celebrated and collected artists on her father's side: Roy de Forest (1930-2007), Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932) and George de Forest Brush (1855-1941).

Her father, a musician and composer, said he and his wife, Katherine, an actor, sought to nurture Autumn's interest in art and wondered what would happen if they provided her with access to a multitude of art books and museum-quality materials like large canvases, professional brushes, acrylic and oil paints — all the tools of the trade.

So they did just that.

Within a year, Autumn had amassed a small collection of art, enough to do some local art-in-the-park type shows. She began to sell paintings for more than $1,000 each.

At her first auction, she sold more than $100,000 of artwork. At 9, she signed a worldwide licensing agreement.

She has lectured at schools and corporate events throughout the country, sharing her positive messages about the importance of art, self-expression and creativity. This year, she was featured at the National Art Education Association's annual convention in New York City.

Autumn's a philanthropist too. Working out of her own 1,000-square-foot studio in her back yard, she has created works to benefit a variety of charitable and humanitarian causes, including relief efforts in Japan and Haiti.

Skeptics may wonder if Autumn really creates these works all by herself. To ease the speculation, her father creates video recordings of her at work.

"The only thing he does is he puts the layer of varnish on when I'm finished because it's toxic," she said. "But I do the artwork."

The stop at Syd Entel Galleries is among her first solo exhibitions and Autumn has created a new painting, Dripping Oranges, for this event. It features miniature oranges hanging from drips of paint with an orange grove as a backdrop.

Autumn will be sharing her insights and answering questions tonight and Saturday. She says she'll advise kids to pursue and be passionate about whatever it is that makes them happy.

"Whether it's football, dancing, soccer or painting," she said, "I tell them to focus on what they love no matter how good they are at it.

"I'm just a girl who pursued her love of painting."

     
Comments
Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays first baseman Jake Bauers sat at his locker after Sunday afternoon's 7-6, 12-inning win over the Yankees and thumbed through his text messages. There was no way he could get through them all. That's what happens when ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover firs...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man suffered life-threatening injuries and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon."This is a family in a very tough situation," Tampa police Ch...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays season turning into good one

Rays season turning into good one

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays are not the best team in baseball. They are not going to win the World Series this year. Heck, they probably won't even make the playoffs.But I tell you what. This team is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.And ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

TAMPA — Every year during draft season, local players from the Tampa Bay area are selected in the NFL, MLB and even NBA drafts.But hockey?Sure enough, in the third round of Saturday's NHL draft, the Winnipeg Jets selected Nathan Smith, a forwar...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

The coast of White Rock, British Columbia, in western Canada looks to be an ideal place for a run, with its sweeping views of the Semiahmoo Bay to the west and scores of waterfront homes and seafood restaurants to the east. Thatís what 19-year-old Ce...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

TAMPA ó Stripped to the girders, the old Bromley office building looked about as substantial as fish bones on a dinner plate.But the 5-story structure proved Sunday it still had a surprising amount of fight left in it.A demolition team had planned to...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 7 hours ago
President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Updated: 7 hours ago