Two Island Artists Exhibit Works at Community House

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Local artists and Sanibel Captiva Art League members Mary Klunk and Helen Ketteman are exhibiting their art throughout October at the Sanibel Community House, 2173 Periwinkle Way. The Community House is currently open 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., M – F. The exhibit is also available as a virtual show on the website 24 hours a day at

A working artist for over 30 years, Mary Klunk earned a BS degree in Art and Psychology at Towson University, and an M.Ed from Loyola University.  She studied painting and drawing at the Mitchell School of Fine Arts and the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, Md.

Klunk’s work includes portraits, still life, landscapes, and figure studies. Her works are completed in a classical “Old Master’s” style with emphasis on color relationships, lighting, and value.  She works in oils and pastels and has exhibited nationally, and in the Florida and Maryland areas.  She has won numerous awards for her work.

“Trying to make a living as an Artist has been challenging,” Klunk explained. “I taught studio courses in Painting and Drawing, lectured on History of Art, offered Art as Therapy in colleges, hospitals, prisons, and nursing homes, worked as a Caricature Artist, held a Painting Workshop in Nassau, Bahamas, and painted Murals for corporations, entertainment venues, and private homes. My passion for art put me on the road less travelled and provided me many wonderful adventures.”

Klunk is currently teaching Pastels and Portraiture at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island.

Helen Ketteman works in various mediums including acrylics and oils, often using cold wax with her oils. She explains, “My taste in art has changed through the years, and I now lean more toward abstract art.  I am crazy about collage – the mixing of textures and materials is so satisfying, so I often use collage in my paintings.”

Growing up in a small Georgia town, Ketteman’s creativity initially leaned toward language, stories, and writing.  Then Ketteman took two painting classes in her junior year of college. Those courses, she said, “were the best thing I had ever done. However, I was raised to be practical and had no idea how I could possibly support myself as an artist.”

Ketteman did the practical thing – she majored in English and taught school. She lived in Chicago for 10 years, then moved to Seattle where her love of language and story led her to become a writer. She focused on children’s picture books. Helen also started painting more regularly.

Ketteman retired and moved to Sanibel with her husband in 2001.  She also took up quilting. “I adore fabric and texture,” she says smiling. Her goal as an artist is to create art so powerful it will pull a person across the room to look at it – and then hold that person there for a while. “To me,” Ketteman continues, “art is an exploration. Everywhere I wander with it is a new adventure. I don’t know why I make art, I just know I am driven to do it.”

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