Being an artist participant at the Festival of the Arts was an honor, a delight, and of course, magical !!! I shared the Disney Artist Tent near the Canada Pavilion with such talented artists who all paint the Disney characters in beautiful color and story! Don “Ducky” Williams was one I was so happy to meet and talk to about his career with Disney, which has spanned 37 years. He paints the characters with a classic expertise straight from the movies we grew up loving. For me he signed prints of his paintings “New Arrival”, Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo, and “At The Ball”, Cinderella and Prince Charming.
With thousands of guests visiting Epcot, I surely spoke with many hundreds from all over the world. Deluxe Prints of my five paintings (images shown above) were beautifully reproduced and matted by my printer and available for sale. My work received enthusiastic response, and it was wonderful to hear guests’ stories of why they chose my artwork, including fun facts. For example, I signed “Adorned”, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel for Liz and Kevin who became engaged on the carrousel, and for John who remembered riding the carrousel as a kid with his sister when it was in Olympic Park, N.J. before the park closed in 1967 and the carrousel was acquired by Disney, refurbished and installed in Magic Kingdom. “Adventure”, Space Mountain was a new release for the Festival and received alot of attention (of course, no one got engaged or married on that one!), drawing guests into the booth, as did “Tranquility”, Disney Cruise Line®. Naturally there were many stories of those who were married aboard the Disney Dream, like Melanie and Matt who felt it was “meant to be” to find this print and have me sign, as they were heading for a second cruise to celebrate their one-year anniversary on board the Disney Fantasy. Another cruise lover was Donna, who works for a wonderful Disney artist, Greg McCullough, and who stopped by with two of my prints that she had previously acquired on cruises, “Inviting”, Nigel from ‘Finding Nemo’, and “Poise”, Castaway Cay, so I could sign them, and then purchased “Tranquility” and “Adventure” as well. Another guest named Ian and his wife loved “Amazing”, Beauty and the Beast Castle, and explained they were the first couple to get engaged in front of the castle at its opening. “Majesty”, Cinderella Castle, received ‘that is so beautiful’ comments and I was taken by the appreciation guests had for its soft rendering. Generally speaking, many expressed a special interest in my style, and were moved by a sense of quiet realism they felt from the paintings.
Conversations abounded for example with four delightful sisters from New York between the college age and thirty, who rushed in to say they had sought me out and wanted to meet me. One sister was studying Fine Art in college, another was a Music Therapist, another a flight attendant, and the fourth spoke eight languages. When I told them seeing four sisters get along like best friends was a pleasure for me, they said it’s because they love to argue! That actually makes sense. Another young woman named Catherine, a daughter of an alumna from my college, Kenyon College, sought me out because she works for Disney in merchandising and had read my bio in the course of her work to discover that I graduated from the same college as her mother. I was impressed with a young man Jonathan who, with his siblings, was treating his parents to a Disney trip, and his sister had just become engaged during the visit. And a young girl no older than twelve interviewed me for a YouTube she was preparing to post. And the majority of young cast members that worked with me in the booth were there with the Disney College Program, a wonderful and invaluable on-the-job experience that provides these young adults with first class training that propels them in any career direction with proven team and leadership skills. They know what they are doing and they do it with ease and professionalism combined.
At the Festival, there were workshop and seminar offerings at the Odyssey Festival Showplace throughout the days featuring Disney artists speaking on a wide variety of topics. The first seminar I attended was given by Noah, my mentor through his on-line program and California “Reimagine” Conference, and an extremely popular Disney artist, who spoke on “The Power of Storytelling”. His passion to encourage others emboldened me to share my story with guests. I was astounded at how positively guests responded to my story of how I became an artist, and at how meaningful it was for them to hear. I was able to encourage guests of all ages just by telling them my story. Noah had said the sooner we tell our story, the sooner we can help others! There were also workshops on animation, props, theater costumes, paper cutting, composers, sketching, photography, brainstorming and so much more. And did I mention the amazing and artful offerings of food and drink?! It was impossible to pick a favorite dish as they were all surely delicious, but I certainly had a favorite in the Deconstructed Reuben and the Almond Frangipane Cake!
The Festival continues until February 19th, though I have returned home after a glorious and magical time. Original paintings that are currently on sale in various locations at Disney World are:
“Adventure”, Space Mountain, a new release on sale at The Art of Disney in Epcot
“Heavenly”, Cinderella Castle, at The Art of Disney in Epcot
“Luminous”, Prince Eric’s Palace, at The Art of Disney Epcot
“Delightful”, Lighthouse and Boardwalk, at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort’s new Market at Ale & Compass
“Festive”, Lighthouse and Hollywood Studios fireworks, at The Market at Ale & Compass
“Gracious”, Yacht Club, at The Market at Ale & Compass
“Majestic”, Cinderella Castle, at The Art of Disney in Disney Springs
“Ceremonial Grandeur”, the Wedding Pavilion, in The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at the Sandy Cove
“Stately”, Lions, at The Animal Kingdom
“Composure”, Giraffe, at The Animal Kingdom
by Rosemary Begley