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Participant Information

Chip Colley

City:
Hawthorne
State:
FL
Country:
USA
Essay:

I suppose you might say that Iím an outdoorsman - one who spends a large part of the day outside and I love the waters that border my hometown, Pensacola, Florida. Ferry Pass, the quiet community where I grew up, is situated along the Escambia River and Bay. This is where I spent many hours watching the sunrise over the horizon while sitting in a small wooden fishing boat with my father. Later my son Zachary and I would set out before dawn, to fish the glassy waters of the Gulf of Mexico returning with a bounty that would fill the dinner table and photos with stories that would entertain all who sat around it.

As for career, at the age of 22 I joined my father, grandfather and great-grandfather as the fourth generation to work for the railroad. Days were spent running trains through the pine thickets and woods of communities like Molino, Pine Apple, Selma, Crestview, and Chattahoochee. Later I owned and operated a small business that required daily tours along the many seaside miles surrounding the Pensacola area. Sand dunes, palm trees, live oaks, blue skies and crystal clear waters became the backdrop for my day.

In 2005 my family and I moved to Melrose, Florida, a rather eclectic community with one stoplight, a full service gas station, the best meat market anywhere, and three art galleries. While living in the middle of 100 acres dotted with moss covered live oaks and cows, I was diagnosis with Parkinsonís. The solitude of the sun piercing the cypress bog in the woods beyond the pasture became a place of reflection and peace as I came to terms with this new chapter of my life. It was during the dark hours of the morning that I discovered that this cloud had a silver lining. While sitting at the dining room table I began to sketch and then to draw, paint and sculpt. It seemed that suddenly I had talent, a gift that Iíd not had before and a passion to match it. Hours and hours Iíd spend creating images of those things that I love most. It seemed that my art had a mind of its own as many times Iíd just pick up the pencil or brush and follow the path that seemed set for that night. I then joined a program called Art in Motion that is offered by Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Once a week those of us who have movement disorders gather to encourage each other and participate in art expression. Itís a common ground that yields a positive energy that keeps me going when the going gets tough. The results - drawings of Native Americans, comical characters, sculptures of irate chefs, blue marlins, dolphins, whales, and paintings of cabanas on the beach, oil on the gulf and of course the cypress bog. Iím an outsider. Thatís what those whoíve had formal training call those of us who havenít. I like that. An outsider - thatís what Iíve been all my life!

Contact Chip:
(352) 318-1380
cpcolley55@yahoo.com