Josie head

Jessica Dirkes

Jessica (aka Josie) found art class in high school provided one of the only passing grades easily achieved.

Painting community theater sets became a passion throughout high school moving into theater arts for the first year of college. Academics in college again were not her best sport so she dropped out. The Parents were not pleased. Wisely she convinced The Parents that Ringling School of Art & Design was the School of Higher Learning best suited for a career driven endeavor. This Michigander became a Floridian in 1974 .

In 1977 Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey opened a scenic studio east Sarasota. Floats we built were test driven in the pasture across from the shop. Florida was Cattle everywhere. Florida had Celery Fields nearby this shop. Florida life was "rural" and beautiful. Florida landscapes are an acquired appreciation that can soothe the spirit. Hot, humid, solid, flowing and undeveloped vastness is The Florida I love.

I painted The Florida Cracker Cattle Drive and The Celery Fields. Two Florida experiences it seems native Floridians loved and lost to development.