When the Chamber approached me about the 2022 LDTT, I knew instantly what I wanted to paint. I chose the symbols deliberately to represent the Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament. We have many amazing lady anglers that call our fishery home. We are strong women, talented in our sport, and passionate about this magical little stretch of deep water. To represent us, I chose Elsie Bracken.
I first met an image of Elsie Bracken many years ago when browsing for historic tarpon photos. At the time, I thought it fascinating that back in the 1960s there was this petite bikini-clad lady angler catching huge tarpon here in Boca Grande. Later I learned that in just one year, 1972, she caught 224 tarpon!
Here in southwest Florida, we call the Royal Poinciana the Tarpon Tree. Its beautiful red-orange flame flowers bloom right at the start of our tarpon season in Boca Grande Pass. Legend says that when the trees bloom full and bright that the fish will be full in the Pass.
Each of the other flowers represent our qualities: Hibiscus (for friendship and our tropical island), plumeria (also called frangipani, for aloha and the strength to withstand tough challenges), and orchids (for rare beauty, respect and unity).
I chose the sea green color background for the color of the water in the Pass. Coincidentally it is also the color of luck and health. Iridescent pass crabs, Gulf pink shrimp and that juicy pinfish round out the bottom of this tribute to women anglers of Boca Grande. These are some of the most common baits used in the tournament.
This piece is unique because it marries portraiture with marine life and floral still life techniques. I love to put a surreal spin on classically painted subjects. I hope you agree with me that it represents strong lady anglers with a dash of elegance and femininity for the 2022 Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament.