I have to admit, I’d seen his work and enjoyed it with a passing joy that hadn’t taken root. His brilliantly bright take on the colorful blues of the islands waters around the Keys, Florida and the Caribbean tickled a playful, fun side in my creative juices, but I hadn’t taken enough time to truly soak them into my soul.
I’d been a Wyland fan for so many years, the other works around his were often passed over by my tightly focused eyes. (ah the insanity of youth)
Yet on a spring evening a few months back, while attending our second Wyland show (nine years after our first) at the Wyland Gallery at Disney’s Boardwalk in the Walt Disney World Resort, the blinders were removed, a renewed maturity finding its way back into my soul, and a new guy on my art block stepped up for the show.
As the throngs surrounded the center of attention, I found myself lingering before the works of bright sunny days on the shore, a conch shell sunning itself, water so clear one reached through to the white-sandy-beneath and waves lapped with elegant slowness saved for such moments in time.
I’ve loved the marine life joy of Wyland’s underwater world, but here was a guy who could at once touch my soul with the humor of an island beach and swaying palm, while feeding my veins with the salt water they crave as the sustenance of life.
Is that Kenny or Buffett playing in the background of my mind?
Ok, enough – the guys’ stuff is just darn good.
It’s soothing and fun and makes you want to step right through that wall of make-believe and settle with a glass full of something on one of those beaches he’s churned out if his mind’s eye. Darn it if I’m not telling the God’s honest truth. Dan Mackin can paint, and make you happy and peaceful and totally chilled with the refreshments he’s offered up.
For more than 25 years Dan’s been capturing his memories and love of the beaches and oceans around the Caribbean, the Bahamas, South Pacific, Asia and the rain forests of South America. His tropical islands and marine life first coming to life in the wake of a camera-overboard, bringing serendipitous fortune to the rest of us.
Yet it wasn’t simply his water and sand on canvas that reached out, grabbed my soul and creative energy by the throat, but on this night we also met the man. While Wyland thrilled the crowds with his well done, well rehearsed experience, the soft spoken yet open, generous and totally cool dude across the room spoke one-on-one with folks about his work and the love he holds in doing it.
He wore a tie dye shirt, khaki shorts and loafers more at home on a boat than a gallery, and a smile as bright and warm as the images he creates. We waited our turn and finally had the chance to talk with him. As usual, I expected a polite exchange of admiration for his work and appreciation for the words.
What we got was a genuinely kind, warm, cool guy with an intellect that is at once challenging and enlightened, a mind open to the possibilities of the world, with an understanding for what he can do to change it, a literature-laced humor and passion, an enchanting and moving storyteller, and a guy I totally could see spending the afternoon with hanging on the beach, sipping ice cold drinks and swapping ideas and thoughts and hopes for the world’s waters and inhabitants.
Dude, the guy is too cool.
Ask him about the frog, or listen with apt rapture of his visit to the grave of Robert Lewis Stevenson – a view of heaven. Watch him paint a conch shell, or wax poetic about his talks with co-creator, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and you too will likely find yourself as captured as we were.
Dan is an award winning artist. He’s been around the world. He’s been a tour guide on the Amazon River and he’s helped numerous charities with his work. He’s also a staunch environmentalist who wants to protect the waters and beaches he captures, and he works hard so that his art will not only touch the viewer, but speak to him or her about this beautiful world we live in and how they too can help keep her safe and protected.
If you love the water, or just love thinking about a day at the beach. If you want to protect the world and her waters, or just love to use them. If you love art, or if your wife drags you along to museums. If you love to chill by the water and watch the sunset, or just like to kickback with a cold one.
Checkout the art of Dan Mackin.
And if you ever get the chance, spend some time talking to the guy, and get to know the man behind the brush. You’re in for a totally cool surprise.