|Definitely not a junkyard dog
Faithful 'Pepper the poodle'
is found at thrift shop,
reunited with Florida artist after more than 20 years
By Michael E. Abrams
Sopchoppy – A happy discovery in a thrift shop has reunited a
favorite dog and a Florida artist who loved him. Pepper the poodle was
gone, but not forgotten.
“Pepper” was one of Edmond Revell Sr.’s favorite dogs – but Pepper
suffered a fearful fate – his lovingly detailed and professionally-
framed oil portrait had strayed to a shelf at a thrift shop.
“I can’t believe somebody put that there,” said Revell, an
easygoing Sopchoppy native and "pretty-much self-taught" Florida artist
who has been painting for 60 years. He doesn’t remember how the
painting left his hands, but more than 20 years have passed. He
welcomed the old friend, and gave him a new coat of gloss.
irresistible portrait of the poodle with the faithful eyes and wise
disposition was purchased for a song at a
Goodwill store by this writer who sometimes
shops at thrift stores for sturdy frames for his photographs.
Such intense love and understanding in the eyes of a dog seemed to beg
for some answers.
A Google search of the signature led to phone call and a trip down to
river town about 45 minutes south of Tallahassee. Where a paved road
ends, we shook hands with Revell at his Cricket
Hill Studios, and met his wife Virginia Lucille, or "Ginger."
They've been married for 42 years.
Reunited with his loyal
dog, Revell swiftly detached Pepper and sprayed him with gloss.
nailed the canvas back into the frame. He values the painting at $400,
but much of his work is priced for double that or more.
"I believe I painted this in the 80's," said Revell. "He was a
poodle, rambunctious, full of mischief. He's got a good home now, so
what the heck. At my age I don't worry about a lot of stuff like that."
Mrs. Revell was born in Madison, the fourth cousin of Capt. Colin
Kelly, a courageous bomber pilot and early casualty of World War II
whose monument is located in the town square. "I had never heard of
"When I first met him (Mr. Revell) I didn't know anything about art,"
she says. "He gave me a painting and I gave it away. I didn't realize
that the painting meant a lot to him. It would have been valuable
"Now I love it (painting). I can't do it myself, but it's interesting
to see his artwork improve."
Sopchoppy was small town compared to Madison. There were no
"I was born in the house right across the field," says Edmond Revell.
"My son's got it now."
He's painted the famous old schoolhouse in Sopchoppy where he remembers
his teachers. The school closed in 1959.
In a modular studio, his brush work catalogs much of
North Florida’s scenery and some of its people. He's had a show at the
FSU Museum of Fine Art, so people are aware of his talent.
A Florida artist
with a memory
Edmond Revell has painted cowboys and Indians out west, Amish farmers,
but mostly he's represented Florida the way it should be.
He captured the old B&W fruit stand
on Monroe Steet 25 years go - it's no longer there - with a
stunning red awning and an old
pickup truck in front.
He's painted the wooden railroad station in Sopchoppy with a
steam locomotive chugging by, old boats on stilts at Carabelle, two
blue-jeaned fishermen in a boat, one telling a tall tale and another
breaking out in laughter. Look closely to see a small bream
on a hook.
He’s used water colors but prefers acrylics. His impressionistic
Florida scenes on his best days can hold their own with the work of
some of the more well-known Florida artists. His work brings out
life and color of tree, pond, cloud, sun and shadow.
When he began painting lessons, he painted on plywood and a lesson was
cents. His first set of oils cost $2.50 "and that was for the oils, the
paintbrush and the cleaner."
Vietnam war veteran
He has had four tours in the Navy,
totalling 21 years, retiring at age 38. He recalls "the Lebanon crisis,
the Dominican Republic crisis, and then we had Vietnam." Revell did
some painting while he was in Vietnam. When the U.S. left
Vietnam, the rules said you couldn't take things out of the
country, and so some of his artwork is lost forever. "They got
coming back to the U.S.," he said.
After retirement, he went to work for the state road department, but
found that he could make more money oystering - "more in one day than
with the state for a month."
Then, he went into the shrimping business.
At one point, they rented out their house and raised their kids on a
houseboat. The couple eventually bought a trailer and travelled the
United States. He painted native Americans out west, the Amish, and
anything that caught his eye.
On their living room wall is a bucolic painting of the Sopchoppy River.
"That was the Sopchoppy River before people ruined it," said his wife.
"You could actually go there swimming and fishing and have a good day.
It's not like that now."
The Revell family enjoys westerns on TV and Mrs. Revell was watching an
old Randolph Scott shoot 'em up.
fruit market on Monroe Street in Tallahassee
train station in Sopchoppy with a
steam engine on its way
fishing on the river enjoy a good story
Red sunset over a
peaceful beach, palms in
The way things
used to be on the Sopchoppy river.
Revell has painted a picture of
Lee Marvin as a cowboy in the movie "Cat Ballou." He remembers "in the
old days" when music came over the AM radio from Cincinnati on
Saturday nights and you
could tune it in, in Sopchoppy. "In the old days, all we
got was country-western music," he said. "I like western but I don't
like country very much."
Revell sells many smaller versions of his paintings, and
specializes in notecards. He can be reached at 850-962-2183 and the
website for his studio is at http://crickethillstudioarts.com.
Photos by M.E. Abrams; close up of poodle by Gerald Grow