Categotry Archives: Grants

Kate Wood is an Official Entry for the 2017 Luxembourg Prize

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Alchemy Fine Art Restorer’s owner has entered one of the world’s most prestigious art competitions. Kate Wood is an official entry for the 2017 Luxembourg Art Prize.

Three of Kate’s recent oil paintings: Tea-ism, Waiting Lafayette Station, and The Spotted Cat were selected as entries. Tea-ism is available for viewing here.

The winner of the 2017 Luxembourg Prize  will receive an award of 25,000 euros (about US$27,500)  to fund the production of further work and an individual exhibition at Galerie Hervé Lancelin in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The finalist artists will be included in a group exhibition in the gallery.

According to the official prize website, “The Committee hopes to find works that have been produced in a unique moment of grace experienced by the artist at the time of their creation. These magical creative moments are what make a work unique and unlike any other.”

The Luxembourg Art Prize is a unique opportunity to enter the international professional art circuit and to have work seen by major private and institutional art collectors. Kate is proud to participated in the prize this year. Wish her luck as the competition continues. Finalists will be announced on 30 June 2017 with the Grand Prize winner named three months later. Learn more by watching the following video:



In her submission for entry into the Luxembourg Prize, Kate Wood cited master artists Frans Hals (1580-1666) and Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) as influences on her painting style. She added that capturing scenes from every day life when the subjects are not posing for a portrait, appeals to her as an artist. She also discussed her own evolution and education as an artist, from her early abstracts to her current photo-realism style.

Unlike other prizes or art salons, the Luxembourg Art Prize is designed to boost the artist’s career by exhibiting their work in an international gallery with a high level of visibility. Hervé Lancelin has been an art enthusiast for nearly 50 years. He is a member of ADIAF, a prestigious association of major European collectors. He has been a member of the selection committee for the Marcel Duchamp Prize in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris and has been a trustee of the Amis du Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et d’Art Brut (Friends of the Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art) in Lille for several years.

Restoring Joy Postle: A Florida Treasure Rediscovered

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Kate Wood with the mural. Photo credit: Thomas Winter.

In the spring of 2015, Alchemy Fine Art Restorers conserved an historically important mural at the Woman’s Club of Stuart. Painted by Joy Postle in 1962, the vibrant work suffered from discoloration and paint loss. As a focal point of the Banyan Room, a meeting space for Martin County, Florida residents, it was vital that this work be restored to its former glory.

Kate Wood, Alchemy’s lead restorer, knew the work would be arduous, but rewarding. Cleaning and restoring this massive work required standing on a ladder for hours at a time across several days. Much of Kate’s initial effort went to cleaning the entire mural. After that, Kate restored areas of paint loss. As always, Kate used modern, reversible techniques for all restoration.  Details from Kate Wood’s restoration, along with some background about the artist and links to further resources are presented below.

The Glamour Bird: Joy Postle


Joy Postle painted the natural beauty of Florida.

The mural was created by Florida nature artist Joy Postle (1896-1989). Born and raised in Chicago, Joy attended the Art Institute of Chicago. Along with her journalist husband (Robert Blackstone), Joy Postle arrived in Florida in 1934 after a period of traveling around the United States in a home-made trailer. The two camped all over Florida, which inspired Postle to paint scenes from nature.

In 1937, Postle joined the WPA Art Project. Three years later, she debuted her “Glamour Birds” act in which bird song and music accompanied Postle as she painted birds and educated her audience. Postle and her husband settled in a home and studio on Lake Rose, 20 miles east of Gainesville, in 1942.

An exhibit of Joy Postle’s paintings will be presented November 2-30, 2015 at the University of Central Florida’s John C. Hitt Library.

A believer in bringing art to the public as a teacher and a performer, Postle also created countless murals for commercial buildings and homes, from Texas to North Carolina and especially in Florida. While many are known, surviving murals by Postle continue to be identified and recorded in Central Florida.

Areas of paint loss can be seen in this photo of Kate Wood restoring the mural.

In a May 2015 blogpost titled, The Ghost of Joy Postle and the Everglades Mural, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote about the same mural Alchemy recently restored, “As a kid, I spent numerous hours at the Woman’s Club of Stuart. What made the biggest impression on me was a beautiful mural featuring birds of the Everglades— of which Stuart is part through the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.”


Paint loss visible pre-restoration.

Detail of cleaned and restored mural.


According to local historian Alice L. Luckhardt, the Banyan Room mural wasn’t the only mural Joy Postle painted in Stuart, FL.  A mural painted in 1948 graced a wall in the original Citizens Bank (now Duffy’s Restaurant). Two more (both painted in 1961) were displayed in what is now the Seacoast Bank at Colorado and US 1, but these are now (as of September 2015)  covered by paneling.  Luckhardt adds that “five original individual wood framed paintings (c. 1959) depicting an egret, spoonbill, ducks, cypress swamp and a Florida sunset in the pine woods were displayed at the school cafeteria in Stuart, paid for from profits of ice cream sales at the lunchroom. However, the only one still visual today is the one done for the Woman’s Club.”

Aside from the changing ownership of these buildings, it’s likely that another reason none of these images are available for viewing today is their physical deterioration. Luckily, the mural at the Woman’s Club has been restored and may be enjoyed by visitors to the Banyan Room for generations to come.

A section of the cleaned and restored mural. The artist’s signature is visible at the bottom, just left of center.

Further Resources

A gallery of Joy Postle paintings is available via the University of Central Florida Libraries.

Learn more about Joy Postle at the Florida Fine Art Blog.

About the Woman’s Club of Stuart: The Woman’s Club of Stuart is a proud member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The Club is united by a dedication to community improvement through volunteering, raising funds, and reaching out to others while experiencing lifelong learning and friendships for all members. Although there is diversity in the ages, interest, and experiences of the Club’s members, they are united by a common goal to community improvement through volunteer service. With over a century of tradition, the Woman’s Club of Stuart is the oldest organization in Martin County. It’s influence includes providing scholarships to young women from Martin County high schools, helping needy families, supporting academic endeavors, and worthwhile charities enriching the local culture.

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A detail from Kate Wood’s restoration of Joy Postle’s mural on display at the Woman’s Club of Stuart.

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Kate Wood of Alchemy Fine Art Restorers cleans a mural located in the Woman’s Club of Stuart.


Environmental Studies Center Canvas Backdrop Restoration

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Conservator Kate Wood of Alchemy Fine Art Restorers recently restored a theater backdrop at the Environmental Studies Center in Jensen Beach, Florida.  To fund this work, Alchemy was awarded a grant by Women Supporting the Arts (WSA) in conjunction with the Wilmington Trust.

Work in progress


This rewarding project was a challenge due to the fragile nature of the canvas mural. The hanging and lift systems were extremely corroded.  The canvas was stained and ripped, and the original artist had used water soluble poster paints in several places, which were now smeared and were a challenge to address. However,  these elements were successfully treated and the following repairs made:

  • Reinforced paint loss areas with acid free gesso on the reverse side of the canvas.
  • Created and installed a buffer for the sharp edge of the of the bottom roll bar. This will prevent future damage as the backdrop is raised.
  • Patched holes using new canvas and acid free glue. The top of the backdrop was reinforced with a long strip of canvas to repair and prevent tearing.
  • Replaced both sides of the rusted lift system wires with non-rusting, plastic coated heavy-duty wire.
  • Removed old hanging lumber and replaced with a single continuous bar.
  • Matched paint and touched up missing and dirty areas of paint.
  • Created a new secure hanging system and rehang the backdrop.

WSA’s mission is to build a community of women philanthropists who inspire, educate and encourage women to strengthen the arts and cultural environment in Martin County. The Environmental Resource Center is a valuable educational resource for the Treasure Coast. Alchemy’s restoration enhanced he Center, which builds environmental awareness among the students of Martin County. Alchemy Fine Art Restorers approaches restoration using the least invasive techniques possible.

Kate Wood has painted numerous murals and theater backgrounds in the Treasure Coast area. This canvas backdrop restoration project revisited those roots while also showcasing her world-class conservation skills. Kate has also taught oil painting to area students of all ages for two decades and is an accomplished artist.

Alchemy Fine Art Restorers thanks Women Supporting the Arts and Wilmington Trust for this grant and for the ongoing work both organizations do to better the arts in our local community!



Alchemy Wins “Women Supporting the Arts” Grant

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Alchemy Fine Art Restorers, a woman-owned small business, has been awarded a grant by Women Supporting the Arts (WSA), a program of the Arts Foundation of Martin County.   Alchemy’s proposal to repair, restore, and re-hang a damaged 9 x 16 foot canvas mural in the Environmental Studies Center received funding for 2015.

“I am honored to receive the Women Supporting the Arts Grant. My main goal is to retain the original look of the artifact, but make look as if it were just painted,” said Kate Wood, owner Alchemy Fine Art Restorers.

WomanArtsWSA’s mission is to build a community of women philanthropists who inspire, educate and encourage women to strengthen the arts and cultural environment in Martin County.

The Environmental Resource Center  is a valuable educational resource for the Treasure Coast. Alchemy’s restoration will enhance the Center, which builds environmental awareness among the students of Martin County.

Alchemy Fine Art Restorers approaches restoration using the least invasive techniques possible. As the work progresses, Kate will document the entire process, which will be shared with visitors to this site, as well as with local media. Kate Wood has painted numerous murals and theater backgrounds in the Treasure Coast area. This project revisits those roots while also showcasing her world-class conservation skills.

Since 2004, more than $201,000 in grants have been awarded to artists and arts-related programs by Women Supporting the Arts (WSA).  WSA welcomes grant applications from organizations and individuals who present cultural programs for Martin County. Collaborative projects and events are eligible.

Applications are judged on the following criteria:

  • Value to the community in strengthening the arts
  • Merit of the program, project, scholarship, or internship
  • Increase of public awareness and participation in the arts
  • Partnerships and collaborations with existing community resources

For more information on Kate’s approach, see “Restoring Beauty: An illuminating interview with painter, teacher, and master art conservator Kate Wood” at

For more information on Women Supporting the Arts, visit their website at