Destin Realtor Paul Neese has managed to get the best of both worlds. He gets to live and work on the beach and yet has enough time to devote to his new passion: painting.
"Real estate has been my bread and butter for more than 15 years now," he said. "I like the time I have in between coordinating deals to go to the creative side of my life."
Neese first began drawing as an adolescent and was even an art major at Louisiana State University before he switched to landscape architecture, where he enjoyed construction drawing.
"It's like drafting, but with an artistic flair," he said.
It wasn't until last November that Neese rediscovered his love for painting. It would seem that after years as a local Realtor — and before that, owner of a graphics and signs business in Baton Rouge — some kind of force had brought Neese back to his artistic roots.
"Who even knows why I picked up a brush again?" he asked.
Inspiration for his acrylic paintings comes from still life realism, Neese told The Log. From wine tastings, to landscapes and even dogs, his paintings are an accurate representation of the Destin lifestyle.
In his years in the graphics business, Neese took away a few pointers that he attributes to his artwork today.
"I love the boundless opportunity for painting scenes derived from the bottle labels of wines from across the world," he said. "The sign business taught me composition in work by fitting the lettering and graphics in a pleasing way. I use this approach to my lettering and all of the lettering styles."
After almost a year of painting, Neese would like to broaden his art history knowledge by studying early masters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh and tries whenever possible to view their work. Positive feedback has also driven Neese to continue painting.
"I love when people say, 'You did that!' That totally inspires me to continue to work and refine my abilities," he said. "It is going to be a fun road as I progress toward the endless possibilities of refining my artwork and hope one day to have it as my professional career."
Reinventing himself is nothing new to Paul. Before becoming a Realtor, he was a pro PGA Golf Pro in the late 1970s and taught the sport while living in Baton Rouge.
In the future, Neese sees himself exploring other mediums of art. Now that he has started painting again, Neese doesn't anticipate stopping anytime soon, or ever for that matter.
"All art seems to appeal to me and hopefully, it will open doors to fulfilling a lifelong career," he said. "As it happens all too often with artists, they have to die before they get known. I certainly hope to beat those odds."
You can purchase some of Neese's artwork at art-wine-more.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also catch Neese and his artwork at the Pensacola Art & Wine Festival in Pensacola Beach on Oct. 13 at the Portofino Boardwalk.