Art is hardly a new passion for Tina Louise.
“The first time I ever drew I was a sophomore in high school,” recounts the actress best known as Ginger on Gilligan’s Island. “Our current events teacher — who was also our football coach — was quite attractive. I began to do a sketch of his face. I was failing the course and in the back of the room. Well, he came over to me, grabbed the paper out of my hand and crushed it into a ball.”
That traumatic experience was enough to put Louise off art until the late 1960s.
“I saw a Pollock and was impressed. I thought, ‘That’s something I could do. Something abstract.’ ”
These days, the native New Yorker devotes much of her time to creating art and has amassed quite a collection over the last few decades. From 6-8 p.m. Saturday at Artblend Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Louise, as well as Tony Dow, Wally of Leave it to Beaver fame, will join Muhammad Ali’s famed fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco at a gallery reception.
Excuse Louise if she seems a bit wobbly during the appearance. The self-proclaimed health enthusiast broke her coccyx bone last summer. She was standing up on the Hampton Jitney when the luxury bus stopped short.
“I was flat on my back [recuperating] all of July and August,” reports Louise, who says she is feeling good otherwise. “I didn’t take my first walk until mid-September.”
She’s nonetheless eager for locals to see her contemporary creations. A favorite of the 20 pieces showing is a digital giclée print called Metamorphosis.
“It started out with a head and grew into a butterfly and flower and a clock,” she explains. “I guess it’s all of the things that exist. We sort of have a time limit — at least on this plane; I don’t know about the next — we try to be in touch with our heart and nature. The head is sort of mixing in all of those surrealistic things. It comes from a deep, calm place.”
Gilligan’s Island fans are welcome to the event, but Louise is reluctant to talk about her days playing the glamorous castaway, Ginger Grant, on the wildly popular 1960s sitcom.
“I like people to understand I have done other things. I am very proud of my first film [1958’s] God’s Little Acre, which was in the Venice Film Festival. And [1969’s] The Happy Ending by the great Richard Brooks. These are important to me.”
But Louise does understand if a few questions pop up about how a three-hour tour turned into 98 episodes.
“I know people are excited to meet me. I’m excited to meet them. I am also inspired by their reactions to my art and sharing information about my state of mind.”
Artblend Gallery, 2736 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. For more info, call 631-875-0859, or go to silverscreenartists.com.