From about 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. Monday, about 15 members of the Villages Art League assembled at Paradise Park on the original side of The Villages to create art work in plein air. One or two came out much earlier, to catch the dawn’s early light — and because the temperature hovered a round a humid 90 degrees by noontime, most of the artists packed up their easels a little early, eager to escape the heat.
“We do this from time to time — each of us has our own special spot to set up and paint around the lake,” said artist Raymonde Winans. “Painting outside is inspiring — that’s all I can say. We’re out in nature, with the scenery, the colors and the bird sounds,” she said, gesturing toward the shimmering reflections in the calm waters of Paradise Lake. Some artists paint realistic scenery; others paint from photographs or drawings and still others embellish their scenic paintings with thoughts and images from their creative imaginations.
“This is a nice park — it’s usually pretty quiet,” said artist Fran Naughton. “We come here for the light. A few people might
stop to talk, but mostly they just might glance from a distance and walk by. A few come here to their dogs too — there’s a dog park over there.”
“There is usually shade and a breeze, said Nancy Dias, president of The Villages Art League. “We bring lunch to share and we enjoy painting in plein air immensely. Nature and the outdoors relaxes and inspires us. We’re among friends, and that’s nice also. Sometimes the weather changes, and so does the light and shadows. That can be good or very challenging.”
The Villages Art League is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It began when a few painters got together at the old Paradise Recreation Center in 1989. At that time, that was the only recreation center in The Villages. Villages Recreation Department John Rohan congratulated the group at their April meeting. The group’s founder and past president, Eleanor Simmons, now in her 90s, was there also, as was Adrienne Davis, who helped grow the league by starting a
newsletter and e-mail communications.
The group meets three times a week : Monday s at Saddlebrook Rec Center ; Thursdays at Mulberry Grove and Saturdays at Paradise Recreation Center.
Meetings are open to all Villages artists. Members enjoy a light lunch buffet, and are treated to a demonstration of various mediums and techniques by visiting artist s each month. The group also meets to paint together on other Monday mornings and arranges multiple trips and exhibitions of members work throughout the year. Members hear art-oriented speakers and see videos — all intended to keep things interesting and allow the artists to improve their work.
Registration for the July 12 Summer Art Show will take place this coming Saturday, June12 . at Lake Miona Rec Center. Artists wishing to display their work are encouraged to complete their paperwork at that time.