The Cape Coral Art League is preparing for its fourth annual Art Festival Show & Sale this weekend at their gallery at Cultural Park.
The festival runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with original paintings, jewelry, pottery, photography and crafts displayed for sale as well as handmade ice cream and cookies for sale. The event also offers craft activities for kids, raffles and art demonstrations. Admission and parking is free to the public.
Aspiring artists are encouraged to take advantage of the Art League's painting and photography classes, sessions and gallery displays held throughout the year as well as the weekly open portrait session.
A costumed model is used as the subject for open portrait sessions held every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Art League, 516 Cultural Park Blvd. Each session costs $10 for Art League members and $15 for non-members. Sessions are not designed for portrait painting instruction. Artists can work in any medium and should bring all of their own supplies and easel.
Models pose for two three-hour sessions, giving artists a total of six hours to complete a portrait or work from different angles.
The sessions were started by Marianne Bell four years ago and is now the only known portrait painting sessions in Lee County. The closest outlet for portrait sessions is in Punta Gorda, Bell said.
"Portraits is the best hand-eye coordination for artists to sharpen their skills," said Bell. "You get to practice and learn how to paint a three-dimensional subject. It forces you to focus on the subject so you can capture not only the likeness, but the personality of the model. That's why there are so few really great portrait artists in the world."
Winter season is the peak for attendance at the portrait sessions. A session can be canceled if fewer than three artists show up, but Bell said sessions never have more than 10 artists participate.
"We rely on the snowbirds," Bell said. "We shut down often in the summer. Generally we will have a session as long as people come to them and it's a great deal."
If You Go:
What: Art Festival
Show & Sale
Where: The Cape Coral Art League at 516 Cultural Park Blvd.
When: 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. Saturday Jan. 25 and Sunday Jan. 26.
Nancy Pavuk of Cape Coral attended her first portrait session this week.
"I took a portrait class last year and have painted some in the past," said Pavuk, a retiree from the legal field. "I'm getting more into it now."
Bell changes the model every two weeks for variety and is always seeking new "interesting" subjects to pose. No previous experience is necessary to pose at the portrait sessions.
"It gives artists an opportunity to learn to do portraits, practice, and paint better portraits," said Bell. "Besides, where else can you find someone to sit still for so long?"
Marian Borneman of Cape Coral, an Art League board member, enjoys every session she attends.
"Every Tuesday you know you get to paint," Borneman said. "It's a wonderful ambiance here and I come for the camaraderie with other artists. Actually, these three buildings - Art League, Theater and Historical Museum - are wonderful places. It's called Cultural Park for a reason, to keep culture available for the people, and not many people know we're here."
The Art League, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is self sufficient, raising its own funds through memberships, gift shop and art sales, classes and other special events like this weekend's Art Festival. It receives no funding from the city.
"We just want to get the word out to people so they can take advantage of the only open portrait painting sessions around," said Bell.