Julie McGlone offers the residents in her art class a choice: the giraffe or the goat.
Or a third option: something completely different.
During the Splash With Us watercolor group’s session on July 13 at Colony Cottage Recreation Center, 12 people, each sitting at their own table, made their decisions.
McGlone has been running Splash with Us, which is geared mostly toward intermediate and advanced artists, for about 12 years.
The most important thing she stresses in the group is the fellowship between the artists.
“We’re here to help each other,” McGlone said.
This session was focused on either a pair of giraffes with a unique symbol pattern on one side of the paintings; or a close-up of the face of a goat.
“No two pieces (from the group) look alike,” said McGlone, of the Village of Duval. “They have their own style.”
Or they could work on another painting of their own choosing. Once in a while, the residents walked around to see how the other’s paintings were coming along.
Becky Lossie chose to paint the goat’s face.
“He’s sweet,” she said.
This was Lossie’s second appearance with the group. She dabbled in art many years ago, but she wanted to get back into it. After some 15 years away, Lossie found it was almost like starting over.
“(McGlone’s) good,” said Lossie, of the Village of Lake Deaton. “She gives you all the help you need, but she doesn’t take over your painting. I like the transparency (of watercolors), the softness.”
Dee Connolly picked the giraffes as her painting, sketching out the animals on paper before adding the watercolors. She especially loved the pattern along the right side of the image.
“It gives it so much texture,” said Connolly, of the Village of Tall Trees.
Connolly has been coming to the group for the past four years. It was an art group that met when she wasn’t out golfing.
Before this group, Connolly hadn’t painted with watercolors in some 40 years.
“(When I did my first painting,) I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can still do it,’” she said. “(The group has) a nice, relaxed atmosphere. It allows you to do your best work. There’s no tension, no stress.”
Some of the people have been with Splash with Us since its beginning, forming lasting friendships in the meantime.
Each week, McGlone gives them several choices to work on during the session. The week before the July 13 session, McGlone had them work on collages that became birds.
“Even if you don’t finish, you walk away with a new (painting) technique,” McGlone said.
Some of the residents have been coming to the group since the beginning.
“I think this is a group of friends that started out as strangers,” McGlone said.
McGlone took art lessons for some 40 years up in New Jersey. After moving to The Villages, she thought she was going to take it easy, but she heard the call of the art group.
So, she formed one and started coming up with lessons.
“I needed something on my calendar,” she said. “Watercolor is not a hard medium. You can add on or take away, or you can cut (the paper) up and make collages.”
The group usually hosts its own art show on the second Saturday in November, but McGlone said she may postpone it depending on what happens with the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff Writer Michael Fortuna can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5273, or email@example.com.