Villages Art League creates 2,000 bookmarks ahead of Summer Art Festival

Artist Lynne Albers paints red and orange flowers on book mark favors.
Artist Lynne Albers paints red and orange flowers on book mark favors.

At Monday’s Villages Art League meeting, several artists quietly worked on their paintings as usual; but at the back of the room, at the Saddle Brook Rec Center, a group of dedicated volunteers worked to create nearly 2,000 bookmarks for the VAL’s upcoming Summer Art Festival.

Old, discarded or forgotten canvas paintings, donated by local artists, were cut into ‘book mark-size’ strips, and were being re-purposed as take-away favors for everyone attending the July 12 show at Lake Miona Regional Rec Center on Buena Vista Boulevard. A group of eight gals were using their creative judgment to produce attractive, one-of-a-kind, hand-made items festival guests would enjoy using.

“Some of the canvas pieces are fine the way they are,” said Billie Edwards, who was busy stamping the league’s logo on each strip. “Others have abstract markings and stray lines we can make into pictures; still others we will completely repaint.”

Artist Diane Weekley painted tranquil sailboat scenes on re-purposed canvas strips.
Artist Diane Weekley painted tranquil sailboat scenes on re-purposed canvas strips.

Diane Weekley was hard at work creating book marks with serene sailboat scenes and Lynne Albers was adding pink and orange flowers to some of the canvas strips.

“I think we will more than meet our quota to have one bookmark for each person who comes out to our show next month,” league president, Nancy Dias, said. She and four other artists — Judy Nahmias, Leda Rabenold, Laura Sandsrom and Betty Waisanen —  were busy painting, sorting and counting the bookmarks.

“This will be an indoor show,” Dias said. “On blistering July days, people always prefer to attend events in air conditioned comfort. This will be the

Artist Billie Edwards works on a series of bookmark favors.
Artist Billie Edwards works on a series of bookmark favors.

eighth year we are having the Summer Art Festival, and it has always been very well attended.” It won’t matter how hot the sun is, or whether there’s rain or thunder — this show will go on!

This year, the festival, which runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., will offer live demonstrations of several art forms at the top of each hour. Well known league member, Jo Mangram, will give an oil painting demo. Popular artist, Diane Andrus, will demonstrate watercolor techniques; Jack Ottilige will show his pen and ink skills and Roger Sherman will give “how-to” tips on pottery decoration. In addition, Margie Picard will show how she paints tie dyed silk scarves.

League members are very happy the Villages Recreation Department is allowing them space to exhibit paintings at the various regional recreation centers this summer. “The Rec people have always been very helpful and supportive of our group,” Dias said. “Paintings will be showing at Colony Cottage, Eisenhower, La Hacienda, Lake Miona, Laurel Manor, Mulberry Grove, Paradise and SeaBreeze lobbies. We also have one here at Saddle Brook Rec Center, where we often meet to paint.”

“There will be a lot going on at the show,” Edwards said. There will be entertainment, free door prizes, and raffle tickets for sale to win valuable artwork donated by well known local artists: Sue Donohoe, Wendy Lahey, Fran Naughton and Lisa Woodward.

League members hope people who enjoy fine art will mark their calendars for July 12, to attend the Villages Art League’s Summer Art Festival  9 a.m to 3 p.m. at Lake Miona Rec Center. The festival will be extra special, because 2014 is the 25th anniversary of The Villages Art League. Car pooling and golf cart use is recommended to facilitate parking at what has traditionally been a very popular event.

For more information, contact Billie Edwards: billieledwards@gmail.com or phone 352 552-7830.

Club president, Nancy Dias, along with artists Judy Nahmias, Leda Rabenold, Laura Sandstrom and Betty Waisanen, painted, sorted and counted bookmarks for the upcoming Summer Art Festival. 
Club president, Nancy Dias, along with artists Judy Nahmias, Leda Rabenold, Laura Sandstrom and Betty Waisanen, painted, sorted and counted bookmarks for the upcoming Summer Art Festival.

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