Frog celebrates the past

May 01, 2003 11:00 pm

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Belle of Bird's Way is one of the newest painted frogs of Calaveras County.

Unveiled last week at the corner of Main Street and Birds Way in downtown Angels Camp, the large "floozy" frog was created by Angels Creek artist Suzy Voss and sponsored by Vintage Realty.

Sporting a heart-shaped beauty spot near her lip and rings on both her webbed front feet, Belle seems to wink provocatively at passers-by.

Patricia Durkin, office assistant at the realty office, said staff wanted their frog to playfully remind people that during the Gold Rush, Birds Way was something of a red-light district.

The Painted Frogs of Calaveras is a community project developed by the Chamber of Commerce and the Arts Council to highlight talented artists in the county, raise funds for local charities and provide local businesses the chance to sponsor and adorn their establishments with unique, 4-foot, fiberglass frogs.

The first decorated frog was unveiled in January and is on display at the Calaveras Chamber of Commerce in downtown Angels Camp.

More recently, painted frog unveilings have taken place at Camps Restaurant in Greenhorn Creek and Save Mart.

The plan is to have about 30 frogs throughout the county by the end of the summer, and then hold a gala fund-raiser at which each painted frog will be auctioned. All the proceeds will go to local charities of the sponsors' choosing. Vintage Realty has chosen the Human Resources Council as Belle's beneficiary.

Voss, who moved with her husband, Alan, to Greenhorn Creek five years ago from San Jose, has a long history as a watercolor painter. Belle is her first painted frog.

"I like to do characters. I like to do facial expressions and clothes," she said.

Her Belle sports glitter eye shadow and long lashes, which Voss said originated as fabric tassels. She said she worked on her beguiling frog for about a month.

"Her personality came out as I worked on her," she said.

Contact Sunny Lockwood at slockwood@

uniondemocrat.com.