18th annual Villages Art League Artist Showcase attracts plenty of browsers

The 18th annual Villages Art League Artist Showcase drew steady streams of art lovers to the Savannah Center all day on Saturday. Co-sponsored by the VAL and the Recreation Department, admission was free, and the  large event attracted visitors from as far away as  Tampa, West Palm Beach and New York.

Dawn and Ron Mastrodonato
Dawn and Ron Mastrodonato

While many  of the visitors came for the entertainment value of viewing local artists’ work, others made good use of the day to purchase original works of art for their homes and for holiday gifting.

“I love going to all the  Villages art shows,” Charlotte Villager Teresa Cavanaugh said. “We are so blessed. I enjoy the paintings, the clay work, the sculptures and even the hand-painted clothing is always beautiful.  I also love talking with the artists — such interesting, talented people. One of these days, I’m going to enroll in a class and see if I have any talent, ” she said with a smile. Her sister, Angela, from West Palm Beach, came along for the show.

Bruce Richards from Staten Island, N.Y. bought quite a few embossed note cards from colored pencil artist, Dawn Mastrodonato. He chose cards with patriotic and holiday themes.

“This is a new thing I’m doing,” Dawn, a long time resident of Village De La Vista, explained.

Her husband, Ron, was on hand to help with the exhibit and wrap purchases for customers.

Also doing a brisk business with note cards, plus small sketches and calendars, was artist Freddie Venturoni, 92. Energetic and exceedingly modest, Venturoni’s pen and ink drawings of familiar Villages scenes have become well known and sought after.

“Visitors during the Christmas season and spring break seem to like my small art items,” Venturoni said, “because they can easily pack several to take home in their luggage. They make affordable Villages souvenirs and gifts.” Venturoni was thrilled to  be among eleven artists chosen to paint murals for the new Rohan Recreation Center on SR 44 at the southern border of the community. “Everyone else’s murals are in color — I never thought they’d want my black and white Brownwood ink sketch.”

Judy Kimmel’s exhibit was a study in contrasts. Next to her large watercolor paintings of bright red hibiscus flowers and poppies were smaller ocean-themed collages which included real sea shells and coral pieces.

“I usually paint my red flowers in pairs,” the Village of Pennecamp resident said, “and sometimes people buy two paintings to group. It seems each time I paint, the palette colors come out slightly different — so if two pictures aren’t painted together, they just don’t quite match  perfectly.”

Sharon Wilson
Sharon Wilson

Sharon K. Wilson displayed her beautiful “abstract realism” works using alcohol ink, and also showed exquisite watercolor paintings. Wearing bright blue to match some of her art, Wilson told browsers she likes to work with the quick drying ink, but achieves softer affects blending her watercolors.

Connie Gray
Connie Gray

Wilson’s fellow Santo Domingo Village neighbor, Connie Gray, was showing interesting mixed media collage paintings a nd watercolors. “Different textures make these collages dimensional,” Gray explained. “You’ll find bits and pieces of common materials in my pictures — I never throw anything away if I can use it.” Her colorful scenic garden art had corrugated cardboard and even plastic chips cut from shower curtain material. Jane Bosack’s large Caribbean beach scene paintings could easily find a home over someone’s sofa or dining table, transforming the room into an island paradise. The Bonnybrook resident loves to paint sailboats, tropical birds and beach scenes.

Paula Lapp
Paula Lapp

Hadley Villager, Paula C. Lapp, loves “happy” orange. She showed a variety of oil paintings with orange sunsets, among other color schemes.  Lapp paints from life, from photographs and even  m agazine clippings. ” These are paintings of Brazil, the Appalachian Mountains, lakes, a cornfield — it doesn’t matter as long as it catches my eye.” One visitor commented how she loved the sun’s rays filtering over a mountain top. “You caught this at just the right moment,” she told the artist.

Folks wandered by Norma Parcell’s peaceful nature scenes just as a Christmas Carol about Peace on Earth was being played. Among the calm oil and acrylic painting themes in the Tall Trees Village resident’s corner were an old barn; a snowy lake scene with red houses reflected in the placid water, and shrimp boats.

Norma Parcell
Norma Parcell

“People like to put my work in quiet rooms,” Parcell said — “dens, bedrooms, halls.” Her paintings of Holstein cows are also popular. “I  grew up a farm girl,” she revealed, “milking cows before school. We had Holsteins back in Indiana. Someone even had me do a large cow mural for them.” There were four cows in a painting on display at the art show. “I call them ‘Tom, Dick , Harry and Bessie,'” she said.

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