Helping New Artists See the Light at Art Ovation Hotel

Todays News

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY AUG 23, 2019

If there’s anything that artist Judi Light is certain of in this world, it’s that anyone can be an artist. And as the current artist-in-residence at the Art Ovation Hotel in Downtown Sarasota, she’s doing her part to spread the news, offering free watercolor classes for four hours a day in the hotel lobby studio, today through Sunday.

“My philosophy is that everybody’s got the talent and the creativity,” Light says. She herself didn’t even pick up the paints until 2012, and now the self-taught artist’s work can be found at both the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy in Sarasota and The Cottage Art Gallery in Nokomis. What typically holds people back, she’s learned, is simply their own self-doubt. “We’re usually self-editing so much and so self-critical that we don’t allow ourselves to do what we can actually do,” she says. But with these informal classes, she hopes to show people a side of themselves they may never have seen.

With all of the paper and paints supplied, participants begin by learning some basic techniques, but quickly move on to their projects, which will typically either be impressionistic floral images or personal cartoons. Surrounded by Light’s charmingly off-the-wall illustrations of animated creatures and characters reminiscent of something one might find in a Lewis Carroll fantasy world, participants can find plenty of inspiration all around them, but Light insists they put their own imagination to work when creating their own. And in her class, there’s no right or wrong.

What’s important is not that this first attempt is perfect, she says, but that participants understand that they have the artistic ability and creativity within themselves, and they don’t need her looking over their shoulder when they go home and try it on their own. But they can still take an extra bit of Light’s inspiration with them, as much of her work is available for sale at Art Ovation as well, including cards for all occasions and all four volumes of her illustrated storybooks, The Magical World of Twigshire, featuring original artwork accompanied by stories that range from “pure nonsense” to heartwarming stories inspired by the simple profundity of authors like A.A. Milne.

Light will be at Art Ovation teaching the curious and creative today and Saturday from 4pm to 8pm and on Sunday from 11am to 3pm. Classes are free to attend and students can pop in for as long or as little as they desire.

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