Neighborhood: Spanish Main Yacht Club
Neighbor since: 2011
At age 70, David Gaw is finally putting the bachelor of fine arts degree he earned nearly five decades ago to use.
He thought he would use the degree in the advertising career that began with Joseph Schliltz Brewing Co. But when he was laid off, an executive invited him to join the company’s human resources department. It was the beginning of a 35-year career in human resources, 25 of which he spent as human resources director of Hertz Corp.’s Southeast division.
That BFA didn’t come in handy when he was negotiating contracts with the Teamsters union.
But more than 15 years ago, he began painting “plein air” on the beaches while vacationing on Longboat Key.
Gaw found that you don’t forget the brushstrokes and color-mixing techniques that are part of painting, even when you don’t use them for years.
He retired in 2009, moved to the Key from Orlando and has dedicated the past two-and-a-half years to painting.
Today, he is part of the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island, which has a plein air group that meets every Wednesday morning at various locations. He does all of his painting on the beach; some of his favorite spots are Beer Can Island, Coquina Beach and the beach near Sea Club 1, where he used to vacation.
If you see him painting on the beach, don’t be shy.
“Every time I’m out painting, I always have people who want to talk about what I’m painting,” Gaw says. “Some artists don’t want to talk, but I like to have a few conversations.”
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“You can’t beat the sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico because there’s such variety. The cloud formations are just breathtaking.” — David Gaw