Artist’s Back Injury Leads Her To A New Creative Passion: Yoga Art

Palm Beach Gardens artist Caren Hackman has been painting since childhood. But it was literally a back-breaking ordeal that led her to her new artistic passion – inspirational yoga portraits.  In 2008, a back injury and unsuccessful surgery following that left Caren in pain. It sidelined her for two years during which she lived with not only pain, but anger over her diminished quality of life. In late 2010 she was introduced to yoga.  As she learned more about the physical aspects of yoga, it began a slow, personal evolution, a catharsis, leaving the anger behind, which allowed Caren to focus on the things in her life that she could enjoy. As the spiritual essence of the practice became clear, Caren was drawn to share that passion through her art.  The Rickie Report shares Caren’s remarkable journey and artwork.





Caren Hackman




Your Source For Yoga Artworks  And Gifts







“Ancient Oak Tree Pose” by Caren Hackman



In 2008, a back injury left Caren in pain. Unsuccessful surgery worsened the situation. It sidelined her for two years during which she lived with not only pain, but anger over her diminished quality of life. In late 2010 she was first introduced to yoga.  “Yoga saved my life,” she said, still with emotion. As she learned more about the physical aspects of yoga, it began a slow, personal evolution, a catharsis, leaving the anger behind, which allowed Caren to focus on “the things in my life that I could enjoy.” As the spiritual essence of the practice became clear, Caren was drawn to share that passion through her art.



“Shanti Lavender” Peace Scroll by Caren Hackman

She is now dedicating her creative time to yoga artwork and has a website, to display and sell her work. “This series of paintings shows my great love and respect for the practice. I hope that viewers can feel that love and connection with the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga,” she said.  Her work is already getting noticed. Her yoga portrait, SG Child Pose, was accepted into an art competition/show at Art Gallery of Viera in Melbourne, FL. It was on display there for all of October 2016, receiving an award ribbon and cash prize.





“Child Pose” by Caren Hackman

Caren Hackman’s previous artwork has been eclectic. An expert watercolorist, she also works in mixed media, painting in acrylic or oil on canvas, and includes collage for added texture. As often as possible in her creative work, she portrays patterns in nature. A beautiful example is her recent yoga painting, Ancient Oak Tree. It incorporates the yoga tree pose with an ancient oak she saw at San Felasco State Park near Gainesville. “It was a magnificent tree with gnarled trunk, sprawling limbs, and giant roots.” The Ancient Oak Tree artwork is available on note cards, as well as wall hanging scrolls, from 13” X 19” to mural size.




“Namaste” Scroll,  by Caren Hackman

Her new online store features two series of work: Yoga Portraits and Yoga Expressions. The Yoga Portraits are traditional hand-painted original portraits on artist canvas. Caren, a graphic designer by trade, has also created Yoga Expressions. These are digital paintings created using an electronic tablet and stylus. The artwork is printed with high-quality archival inks on artist canvas. No two are the same and this process allows the paintings to be customized by including a Sanskrit word, person’s name, symbol, or a yoga studio logo.  The artwork on canvas hangs from supports at the top and bottom. “In an effort to free the artwork from the traditional constraints of frames and glass, I have developed a hanging system much like ancient Asian scrolls.”

Caren has been painting since childhood and doing graphic design professionally since college. Her college degree was in industrial design. “My dream had always been to be an artist, but I had a huge love of building things and tactile projects. Industrial design filled that need.” But that didn’t extinguish her original passion and she continued to paint throughout college and afterward. “I continue to paint and exhibit while running my graphic design business and creating illustrations for clients.” She is hoping to show more of her yoga work locally.
In South Florida, Caren is well-known for her tireless dedication to community projects. She has founded the GardensArt program and Artists of Palm Beach County. Caren illustrated the life of George Morikami for the Morikami Museum. Her task force and committee contributions include the Norton Museum of Art’s ArtServe, Armory Art Center, Boys and Girls Club Gators Galore, SunFest, Palm Beach State College Campus Art Gallery. Most recently she became a member of the board of directors of April is for Authors.



Caren Hackman

Caren has been awarded two Artist in Residence positions: in 2010, by Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, and in 2005, by the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa. Caren’s paintings have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout Florida, including the Cornell Museum of Art and History, Delray Beach; The Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida, Panama City; the Ritter Gallery, Boca Raton; the Arts Center, St. Petersburg; Barrier Island Group for the Arts, Sanibel Island; and the Global Gallery, Tampa. In addition her work has been shown at the Neville Public Museum, Green Bay, Wisconsin; the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, California; the Spirit Echoes Gallery, Austin, Texas; and University of Mobile, Mobile, Alabama. Her work is represented in numerous collections, including: University of Texas Health Science Center NE, Tyler, Texas; Roger Dean, Palm Beach, FL; Equitable Life, West Palm Beach, FL; Northwood University, West Palm Beach, FL; Lake Wales Medical Center, Lake Wales, FL; and A.H. Fisher Diamonds, Red Bank, NJ.


You can experience Caren Hackman’s yoga series at:







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Steve Blackwood, Internationally Acclaimed Sculptor, In Three Simultaneous Exhibits in Palm Beach County

Steve Blackwood, an internationally known sculptor whose work resides in Museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, Cornell Museum of Art; US government collections and private collections world-wide is having a very busy year. Currently, until October 18, ten of his pieces are on display in the “Reimagined” exhibit at The Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach, FL. Five new medium and large scale works will debut at The Palm Beach Cultural Council in Lake Worth, FL September 11 through November 2015. Steve is also preparing a 10’ tall outdoor sculpture for the City of Boynton Beach. This piece, entitled, “Seed,” will be unveiled September 25 as part of the “Avenue of the Arts”.  Caren Hackman spoke with Steve and wrote this report for us to share with you.




S T E V E    B L A C K W O O D






Steve Blackwood

                                                Steve Blackwood



Steve Blackwood will be showing his sculptures in three simultaneous exhibits located in Palm Beach County:



Exhibiting through Sunday, Oct. 18th

Cornell Museum of Art

51 N. Swinton Ave.,   Delray Beach

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; closed major holidays

Cost: $5 suggested donation

Info: 561-243-7922 or


The Cornell Museum of Art has extended its show, which features avant-garde art by 16 artists who employ unusual materials, including recyclables, and innovative methods.




The Museum also will host First Friday Art Walk

 October 2, from 6-9 p.m.





Caren Hackman shares,  “I was intrigued by Steve’s work at the Cornell Museum and thrilled when The Rickie Report approached me about interviewing Steve. I wanted to know all about his process”.


"Poppy" by Steve Blackwood

                                   “Poppy” by Steve Blackwood


Among the artists on display at “Reimagined” are Palm Beach County-based Steve Blackwood. He frequently combines wood, steel, neon and fiberglass. By joining the individual elements to create new objects, he gives them renewed life.




Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

“Made in Delray Beach”

September 11 through October 31

Free and open to the public:

Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
The Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. Building

601 Lake Avenue | Lake Worth, FL 33460

PH: 561-471-2901      FX: 561-687-9484




Before The Cultural Council Show

 Steve Blackwood with Sculpture Before The Cultural Council Show



For many of his smaller pieces, Steve works with found objects. For the smaller pieces, he experiments with position and relationships until the assemblages look just right. The larger pieces are planned more carefully because of the time and cost involved with experimenting. Many sketches are begun in photoshop which allows him to simulate how parts will come together. When needed, Steve uses Ebay and Etsy to get parts for some projects. When the items in his imagination cannot be found, he calls upon other artists and craftspersons to fabricate items.





"Inertia: Inertia Velocity Machine" by Steve Blackwood

        “Inertia: Inertia Velocity Machine” by Steve Blackwood



For the clock he will exhibit at the Palm Beach County Cultural Council show Steve wanted wrought iron legs, like those he had seen on an artist friend’s work who has a foundry. Steve asked to have some fabricated for his clock.



"Seed" Drawing by Steve Blackwood

                         “Seed” Drawing by Steve Blackwood




A large piece that is at the Cornell has “rocket legs.” Those started as  cardboard cutouts, then were cut from plywood with steel banding added. Blackwood’s pieces are made to look like they have “always existed.” That means that the newer fabricated pieces are distressed and patinated to give them their timeless appearance.



Blackwood,Marcusa, Matt

                                   Blackwood,Marcusa, Matt


Steve’s studio is occasionally filled with more materials one can possibly imagine. One piece in the Cornell, “Inertial Velocity Machine”, sprang from an ultimatum Steve’s wife gave him. She asked that he acquire no more “stuff” until he used some of the parts that he had already on hand in the studio. The playful “Velocity Machine” has working headlights (which did eventually have to be purchased). On occasion Steve allows Museum visitors to play with the works of art.





Sculpture by Steve Blackwood

                                   Sculpture by Steve Blackwood





Steve holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago as well as AAS degrees in Advertising, Design and Marketing and has taught at the college level.  Steve simultaneously developed his sculpture and design careers over the course of 25 years. As an art director, his clients include Playboy, Smithsonian, Time-Life, NY City Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Mastercard and VISA.



Avenue Of The Arts

Boynton Beach, FL



Opens September 23, 2015


Artists Reception

Friday, September 25, 2013

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Civic Center

128 East Ocean Avenue    Boynton Beach, FL


Contact Debby Coles-Dobay, Public Art Administrator, at 561-742-6026 for more details.




The Avenue of the Arts installation will begin September 23, 2013. Twelve new artworks, by eight artists, will be installed along the streets in Boynton Beach’s Civic/Cultural District. This is the seventh year for the Avenue of the Arts “on loan program”. Local, and national artists, submitted their artwork for the Arts Commission to select, and site, for the year-long outdoor exhibit.





An Avenue of the Art Artists Reception is planned for Friday, September 27, 2013, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at The Little House, 480 East Ocean Avenue, Boynton Beach. Hors d’ Oeuvres, and drink specials, are provided while officials, art patrons and the public can mingle with the Avenue of the Arts artists to learn more about their artwork. Special eco-friendly electric vehicles, provided by, will transport people to tour the Avenue of the Arts. The Avenue of the Arts is a easy walkable tour from The Little House location. Please contact Debby Coles-Dobay for information and reservations.




"Seed" Placement in Boynton Beach Avenue Of The Arts

      “Seed” Placement in Boynton Beach Avenue Of The Arts


As a sculptor, Steve has shown in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, and currently throughout Palm Beach County where he resides and owns a Gallery and Studio.  He is a master of materials, often combining wood, steel, neon and fiberglass.





Steve Blackwood teaching at Milagro Center

                Steve Blackwood At Milagro Center



Steve is the Director of the Arts Fusion Foundation. Sculpture, painting, glass fusing, pottery, dance and music are integrated into elementary at-risk youth programs. This outreach program involves artists of Artists Alley in Delray Beach, as an extension of the foundation’s overall impact agenda. More information can be found at Artists from Artists Alley in Delray Beach have been involved with teaching at the Milagro center as part of this program. Steve can currently be seen in television commercials for the Milagro Center and an article will be coming out in the Sun Sentinel for his volunteer efforts with the Center.  Steve teaches sculpture, Bob Schmidt teaches glass, and Susan Romaine teaches painting.


Susan Romaine at Milagro Center

                   Susan Romaine at Milagro Center



Steve tells us, “Ongoing neuro-stimulation is key in development. Providing multiple streams of input is a power boost of learning excitement. The “fusion” of elements provides new ways for young people to look at their world; the ability to transform and create new paths for their future; a source of inspiration which gives them a strong sense of self and their ability to create change in their world”.





Steve was the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Heritage Foundation from 1994 to 1999; and is currently a board member of the Public Art Advisory Board in Delray Beach, FL. He has 5 daughters and one son who all share his interest and excitement in the arts as actors, musicians, painters and sculptors.







For more information about Steve Blackwood please visit:

His work is represented by Cacace Fine Art in Artists Alley, Delray Beach. Studios are located in Delray Beach and Boca Raton, FL.





Caren Hackman is a graphic designer and fine artist living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. and author of a book about Graphic Design and Good Business practice:

Be sure to check out Caren’s wonderful artwork – Caren is a talented artist in her own right! She is a founding member of the Artists of Palm Beach County.



For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


Gail Erickson is Featured Artist At Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery

Fine artist, ceramic sculptor and instructor, Gail Erickson is the Featured Artist at Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery in Lake Worth with an Opening Reception on Friday, February 6th.  The public is invited to “Feminine Fusion of Fin, Feather and Leather”.  Meet Gail, an enthusiastic artist whose “intent is to reveal, yet conceal, allowing the viewer to develop a personal connection to a piece.”  Gail’s mermaids, birds and clay portraits are thoughtful and fascinating. Texture plays a major role in unifying her body of work. Surfaces of sculptures are finished using combinations of slip, stains, underglazes, glazes and patinas.  Gail recently began creating clay sculptures of furry friends.  Stop by and speak to her about a commission of your favorite pet!  The Rickie Report shares the details and a sneak peek.   




Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery

“Feminine Fusion of Fin, Feather and Leather”


Opening Reception

February 6th

6-10 pm

Open and Free to the Public

The exhibit will run through Feb 18th

15 South J Street     Lake Worth, FL 






Originally from NY, Gail has been making art in some form for most of her life. Her childhood was filled with art classes in public school and art books. She excels at teaching herself new techniques including quilling ( thin paper strips rolled, glued, pinched, and assembled into a larger composition), creating mosaic pieces and drawing. However, working with clay has always been her medium of choice.


Sculpture by Gail Erickson

“Contemplation” Sculpture by Gail Erickson



While still in high school, Gail attended Wilson Technological Center in Suffolk County NY for Dental Lab Technology. She spent many years in the dental field as a technician and then as a dental assistant. She tells The Rickie Report, “Making crowns by carving wax and creating temporary crowns using acrylic satisfied some of my creative desires for that chapter in my life. In this field I also learned how to use many instruments and materials which prepared me for my future career in art”.


Sculpture by Gail Erickson

“Birmaid” Sculpture by Gail Erickson



After starting a family of her own, Gail’s passion for the arts began to consume her. She took pottery classes, ceramics, design, 3-D design and drawing classes at Palm Beach State College FL.  In 2005 she won her first two awards, “Passion For Art” and “Three Dimensional Design” at the Eissey Campus at PBSC.


Sculpture by Gail Erickson

” I Dream” Sculpture by Gail Erickson


At the same time Gail traveled with The Art Alliance to London, San Francisco, and NYC visiting the major museums and galleries. She also volunteered at her daughter’s elementary school bringing “The Meet The Masters Program” to the children and she taught Pottery Studio Class at UB Kinsey Elementary School of the Arts. Presently she teaches a clay sculpting class at Wellington Community High School.



“Oreo” by Gail Erickson


Gail is constantly involved in learning more about her fine craft.  She is a member of The Ceramic League of The Palm Beaches, The Wellington Art Society, and Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery.  Her collectors have described her work as “provocative and a little dark but in a good way”. The artist would agree.




“I Wish” Sculpture by Gail Erickson

“My work is but a perception of a moment once reflected. It is inspired by family, nature and the human form. It is a product of my feelings, emotions and passion for the tactile nature of clay.  Although my interests in clay are varied, I am drawn to portrait and hybrid figurative bird sculptures. My intent is to reveal, yet conceal, allowing the viewer to develop a personal connection to a piece.”


Her large sculptures are created using flattened rings starting from the bottom working up. Texture plays a major role in unifying her body of work. Surfaces of sculptures are finished using combinations of slip, stains, underglazes, glazes and patinas.


Sculpture by Gail Erickson

“Mermaid” Sculpture by Gail Erickson


Gail is represented by:

  • OSGS Gallery in West Palm Beach, FL  
  • Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery in Lake Worth, Fl
  • Local Way Art Gallery Jensen Beach FL

For more information please contact Gail :



For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


Wellington Art Society Features Ralph Papa Plus Scholarship Winners

The final meeting of their season, the Wellington Art Society will feature a presentation/demonstration by Plein Air artist, Ralph Papa.   In addition, the WAS Scholarships will be awarded.  The public is welcome to attend. The Rickie Report reminds artists that this is a outstanding opportunity to network!  We share the details here.





Wellington Art Society


Invites You


Wednesday, May 14th

    6:30-9:00 pm



Wellington Community Center

12165 West Forest Hill Blvd.    Wellington, FL



The Wellington Art Society meeting will be held Wednesday, May 14th at the Wellington Community Center, 12165 West Forest Hill Blvd. The last meeting of our season will feature our WAS Scholarship Awards Presentation  along with a presentation/demo by guest Plein Aire Artist Ralph Papa.
The WAS Meeting social time will begin at  6:30 with time to meet the Scholarship Awards Student recipients, their parents and siblings,during our WAS Scholarship Award Reception.  Students will show examples of their work and talk with WAS members about their art and  future plans.  At 7:00 pm, we will award 5 WAS $1000.00 Scholarships  to  5 local High School Students.


This year’s recipients are:   Raymond Burks (Suncoast High School), Isabella Pezzulo (Dreyfoos School of the Arts), Arnauld Sylvain (Dreyfoos School of the Arts), Laura Gordon (Dreyfoos School of the Arts), Oliver Pennanen (Dreyfoos School of the Arts).


This will be followed by our WAS Member Spotlight,Fabulous Raffle, Announcements, and our guest Artist- Ralph Papa and his En Plein Air Presentation at 7:30-8:30.



Ralph Papa's Gallery

Ralph Papa’s Gallery


Ralph Papa was born and raised in Manhattan and studied art and architecture in New York at Queens College and CCNY and at the Art Students League. His paintings range from studio works composed of real and imagined themes to figurative, portraits and plein air paintings.


Loxahatchee Wetlands by Ralph Papa (courtesy of his website)

Loxahatchee Wetlands by Ralph Papa (courtesy of his website)



Many of his studio works are larger than life faces creating pensive moods with feelings of isolation and loneliness.  Beginning in the mid 1980’s, he painted on-location in New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island Hamptons and later in Palm Beach County Florida.



"Bennys on the Beach" by Ralph Papa, (courtesy of his website)

“Bennys on the Beach” by Ralph Papa, (courtesy of his website)


The subjects of his paintings are often from nature, life experiences and personal reflections of family and friends. Most recent works are plein air landscapes and studio paintings of imaginative compositions that visually link him with artists he very much admires.



"Montauk Bluffs" by Ralph Papa (courtesy of his website)

“Montauk Bluffs” by Ralph Papa (courtesy of his website)



Papa teaches drawing and painting at his Delray studio and at the Delray Beach Center for the Arts. He is a member of the Garrison Art Center, the Delray Art League, Past President of the Artists’ Guild of the Boca Museum and co-founder of ‘Plein Air Painters of Palm Beach’. His works are in public and private collections in the U.S. and Canada and can be seen in galleries in Boynton and in Delray Beach at his studio, the Artists’ Guild Gallery and on his website at


"Sunrise" by Ralph Papa - on curved wood panel (courtesy of his website)

“Sunrise” by Ralph Papa – on curved wood panel (courtesy of his website)


As always, the evening is for artists and art lovers to hear about all of the exciting projects and initiatives that the art society is involved in and to find out how to participate.


Wellington Art Society has ongoing art exhibitions at the beautiful Wellington City Hall gallery. These exhibitions rotate every few months and are juried shows with artwork submitted by Wellington Art Society’s over 100 members. Most of the work is for sale and it is a great  opportunity to see and buy fabulous local art.


The current show features 17 WAS members. The artwork includes photography, mixed media, watercolor, oil pastel and acrylic media. Tours are given between 11:00am and noon, and will continue to be offered the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month between 11:00am and noon.




Tours are free to the public and are available for small groups or individuals. Please meet in the lobby Wellington City Hall at 12300 Forest Hill Blvd, Wellington, Fl 33414. For additional information, please contact: Bobbin Salisbury, 561.762.8654.  Additionally, the Wellington Community Center displays WAS art, original works that are available for sale and are rotated every three months.




WAS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, its mission is to educate and encourage originality and productivity among its members and area youth through programs designed to further the advancement of cultural endeavors in Palm Beach County. For more information, visit their website, .


Founded in 1981, The Wellington Art Society is open to artists of all mediums and patrons of the arts, providing both local and regional artists the platform to share their work, learn more about their craft and serve the community through their art. The Wellington Art Society is open to any resident in Palm Beach County.



 For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420