Nearly 80 talented artists were on hand Saturday at Lake Miona Recreation Center Saturday for the 11th Annual VAL Summer Art Festival. Hosted by the Villages Art League, the festival brings together the finest artists and craftsmen in The Villages for one glorious display. The theme this year was 3-D Art. Diane Weekley, chairperson of this year’s event, explained the meaning. “Everything displayed is in dimension. It’s all perceived in 3-D,” she said.
Everything from colored pencil drawings to acrylics, pottery, jewelry and photography were on display and for sale Saturday with a huge turnout crowd.
Jeanne Willette, president of the Villages Art League said the planning for this year’s event started back in February.
“We have such a great group of volunteers that help plan these events, they almost plan themselves,” she said.
Willette’s talent lies in colored pencil and watercolor. She has perfected her Gingko leaves by using tissue paper with a wet on wet technique.
“I am basically self taught. I have taken lessons in the past but, the tissue paper was my idea. It’s a trick I came up with,” she said. “I wanted them to look more realistic.”
Each painting takes about 100 hours.
While there were several animal portrait artists, one that stood out was Jo Magram, a 25-year VAL member and head of publicity for the event. Magram takes photographs of people’s pets and brings them to life on canvas using oil paints.
“I memorialize peoples pets. It’s special to have portraits of them. They are family members,” she said.
Weekley said they couldn’t have had such success without the help of the Recreation Department.
“They have been wonderful to us. They have made this event an absolutely delightful experience for everyone involved. The Rec staff at Lake Miona really went all out for us. We are so grateful to them,” she added.
The next show will be held Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 26, at Savannah Center. Willette said the fall show is their biggest show with over 100 artists displaying and selling their works. Admission is free.
The Villages Art League was formed in 1989 when a group of artists started painting together at Paradise Recreation Center. Since then, it has blossomed into one of the largest groups in The Villages. They paint together 3 times a month at various locations throughout The Villages. They welcome anyone who is interested in painting, no matter what the level. For more information, visit www.thevillagesartleague.org