BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
From a humble beginning in the Village of Marblehead, Rick Dziak has worked diligently to become a popular local artist and instructor. His latest creations are now featured this winter at Friendship Park on the corner of Perry and Jefferson streets in downtown Port Clinton through the efforts of Carol Morgan, president of the Greater Port Clinton Area Arts Council.
The trio of Dziak’s paintings have been reproduced in an impressively large style on the wall at Friendship Park, which also features the long-time sculptures of Andy Sacksteder, the “Captain and the Kid,” as well as “The Lightkeeper” at the nearby Port Clinton Lighthouse.
Both Dziak and Sacksteder are artists in residence at The Arts Garage in Port Clinton.
A ribbon cutting for the Dziak display was held last Tuesday, Dec. 19.
These days, Dziak has become enamored with the “plein air” style of art, which means “done in the open air.” He has created a Monday morning gathering of artists at The Arts Garage, but when outdoor weather cooperates, Dziak concentrates on shoreline scenes along Lake Erie and the Portage River.
“I choose the most colorful and unique stretches of shoreline to paint, and since the plein air technique is done on site — outside of the studio — the artwork can be unique and quite spontaneous,” said Dziak. “Carol Morgan, who determines the artwork for Friendship Park, asked to use my plein air paintings. She insisted that when my artwork was increased in size and put on vinyl, it would hold your interest from even a block away.
“To my surprise, Carol was right,” he said.
Dziak, 78, says his Monday morning sessions at TAG with budding artists are a lot of fun.
“All of the artists have something in common, a bonding factor, regardless of the medium. Most people who are really into the arts feel the same way,” said Dziak. “When we’re painting outside, though, there’s more spontaneity. The light and the shadows can quickly change and you’ve only got two or three hours to finish the painting. It’s a challenge.”
Jerry Davenport of Catawba, a sign painter, artist and musician, deserves a lot of the credit for using his bucket truck to put Dziak’s paintings on the Friendship Park wall, said Dziak.
“Jerry knows what works, whether it was his images of the iconic Matthews Boat Company that preceded my works of art, or the various artistic versions of the stately Ottawa County Courthouse by Bailey VanKirk, Suzy Coykendale Majewski and Matt Ritter,” said Dziak.
Whether the park benches at Friendship Park embrace tourists or local folks, they’re perfect for enjoying the unique artwork. They’re also a short distance from browsing the downtown shops and dining establishments, a stroll along the Portage River Walkway or to dip a toe in the waters along the Lake Erie Beach and tour of the Port Clinton Lighthouse and Keeper’s Boathouse at Waterworks Park.