Hi Carol, Not sure if you've moved yet, but I thought I would offer my two cents.
I've lived all over this country and have shown my paintings all over it as well. IMO, the most culturally aware and forward-thinking town that still remains at all "country-like" and warm in temp would be Santa Fe. It used to be right behind New York and LA for number of galleries--not sure if that's still the case. It truly is an exceptional town regardless and has a thriving and successful art community.
As far as water goes, it's not near the Ocean, although there are some lakes and the Rio Grande is right there, but the 360 degree sunsets over the high desert mountains offers a bit of compensation.
There are a few cities here in Florida...Sarasota...Naples...Miami...but none offer a country setting...although they do offer the Gulf and warm temps.
Maybe Austin would be good? The quality of the galleries and artists is not of Miami, but there is a lot of youthful creativity and energy, and the vibe of the town is very conducive to being an artist or art appreciator. Lake Austin is humongous and there are more than enough properties giving you the away-from-it-all feel. The hills are absolutely amazing--spectacular views there.
Anyway, good luck with your move. How exciting to try someplace completely new! Let me know where you decide!
Jennifer Scott McLaughlin
Artist and Realtor in Cape Haze Florida