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Sarasota Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 1 year ago

Sarasota artists try something new with big top project

Natural light painters go beyond their normal scenery.
by: Amelia Hanks Community Reporter

Trying to paint when it is 44 degrees can be tough for Floridians, but the Light Chasers were undisturbed on a recent chilly morning.

“I’ve never tried to paint anything like this, it’s kind of neat. I usually just paint seascapes,” said Tish Stanhope as she outlined the Circus Arts Conservatory’s Big Top while standing in the empty field near University Town Center mall. 

The Light Chasers paint all over Sarasota every Thursday from 9 a.m to noon, but this is the group’s first time to paint a big top. The group paints outdoors, always using natural light. 

Usually, the tent is erected in January, but the CAC decided to put up the tent a few months earlier because the Sailor Circus Arena is currently under construction on Bahia Vista Street.

MaryAnn Ellicott, the director of the Light Chasers said a change of pace is what brought the group to the big top. “It’s a lot different than palm trees and landscapes,” she said. 

Joan Peters, a painter, said the big top is really interesting to paint in a lot of ways.

“What’s so beautiful about it is all of the shadows,” Peters said. “It’s such a fun subject and very different from what we normally do.”

The Light Chasers have 683 members in their group, which is the largest plein air painting group in the world. It was started 10 years ago by Terry Mason, a local resident.

Ellicott said all levels of painters, from beginners to professionals, are welcome.

The next big Light Chasers event will be at Phillippi Estate Park on Feb. 22, where group members will host its eighth-annual art show.


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