709 Main Street • Windermere, FL 34786 

The Art Room is proud to feature some of our fantastic students on this page.   These artists have done some outstanding works of Art and we would like to share their successes with you.

Karyn Phillips

Karyn can’t remember any time in her life that she did not enjoy art.  One of her earliest memories of creating her own artwork was as a child in Vacation Bible School.  Her mom was always doing art and as a family they visited lots of museums.  That is where she began to appreciate and love art on a different level.  Karyn has traveled to Italy and has seen many of the Old Master’s paintings.  She loves art and is always searching for new things to explore.

Karyn likes doing acrylic painting, collage and mixed media.  She especially enjoys the collage class at The Art Room.  It has become her favorite medium.  It takes on a life of its own as she transforms any visual she sees as an inspiration into her own unique piece of art.
Art is definitely Karyn’s ‘happy place’.  She can escape from whatever pressures or stresses may be going on in her ‘real life.’  She can grab some brightly colored paint and vibrant papers and get lost in the process of creating.

Sometimes when she is working on a piece and its not going the way she wants, she will take a step back and reevaluate.  Taking that step back when you feel frustrated is so important.  Karyn may end up seeing things in a new way and take off in a different direction.  Sometimes when she comes back to the piece, she sees what needs to be fixed.  Karyn says, “Getting some distance can help you see things more objectively in your personal and professional life as well.”

Karyn has lived in the Orlando area since she was 5 years old.  She is married and has 4 children and 2 grandchildren.  She works part time now and she, “ has more time to work on creating more art and evolving my own personal style.  The Art Room has had such a huge, as well as, positive impact on me personally.  I can’t wait for Mondays and my collage class.  It’s such a great way to start the week!”


Pam Perlstein

Pam has always enjoyed interacting with nature never realizing that art would open up a new and exciting relationship with the world. As a retired science teacher she was looking for an activity that was fun, challenging and rewarding. Painting had always been high on her bucket list so when she took her first art class last summer, she was hooked. “I fell in love with being creative through art immediately,” says Pam, “Being able to peer into the complexity of my natural surroundings and see beauty in all it’s detailed splendor has enriched my life.” Early on Pam set her goal to experience working in as many mediums as possible. She has experienced painting in watercolor, acrylic, oil and alcohol inks. Her favorites are acrylics and alcohol inks.

Pam says, “For me art is a freeing experience. I refer to my art as ‘art therapy’. Just by giving shape, color and texture to an image, I am able to release anxiety and gain positive energy. Art makes me feel good. I get totally immersed in creative expression and all my worries fade away. I can smile and laugh, often at myself. Art says things for me and to me that words cannot sufficiently express. Capturing the glint in the eyes of a living creature allows me to peer into the spirit and connect me to nature on an emotional level.”

When asked what life lessons Pam has learned from art, she says…. “Patience is a virtue. Life, like art is a process. Through art we can appreciate the little things, the intricate details as well as the grand splendor of our surroundings. I will never be able to look at a cloud formation a tree, a puddle, a frog, a butterfly or a sunset the same way again! Artistic expression allows me to see inside myself, find peace and self-appreciation. My mind becomes free to explore. Art is a universal language that promotes positive emotional responses. Art is a safety valve, it promotes a positive spirit that allows healing from within.”


Rafaella Coppa

Rafaella remembers doing simple drawings in 4th grade and then coming home and doing more complicated drawings with internet classes.  She loves painting in acrylic!  The colors can be very vibrant and she finds it easy to shade with acrylic paint.

When Rafaella is painting she feels happy.  She says that because she paints with vibrant colors it causes her to feel happier than when she paints with darker colors.  When she was painting a half and half painting of the sun and moon, she felt happiest painting the sunny side of the painting.  “Not everyone has the same style or chooses the same colors,” she says.  “I love bright colors!”

Rafaella says that you have to be patient when you paint.  “In the beginning the painting is not so good, but in the end it will be nice if you stick with it.”  We shouldn’t judge a painting before it is finished she says.  ‘Its like judging people.  Sometimes you think you don’t like them but later you find out you do like them when you get to know them.”

Rafaella says, “Art is so cool!  There are so many types and styles, sizes and ways you can create art!”

Debra Wier

Debra started to seriously enjoy drawing when she was 12 years old.  Her aunt did not believe that she was the one who drew her artwork and Debra took that as a compliment.  She continued to draw until she had time to discover other mediums.  When Debra’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Debra began to take watercolor classes to relieve the stress of caretaking.

Debra has learned to enjoy so many different art mediums.  Her first class was watercolor and later she branched into oils and then acrylics.  It’s hard to choose just one as her favorite but she would say watercolor with acrylic running a close second.

When she was a teacher at Lakeview Middle School Debra directed the Art Club for several years.  “This was a way to express myself, share my knowledge with the children and provide them a chance to create and escape from all of the pressures of school.”

When Debra is creating art, she says the world just disappears.  “My shoulders fall back into place and I feel serene and relaxed.  Nothing is more calming than putting a brush to canvas.”

We asked her what life lessons she has learned from art and Debra responded, “Life lessons? Hmmmm.  Follow your bliss, don’t listen to negativity and believe in yourself.  Creating art allows you to put all problems into perspective, so paint as if your troubles depend upon it.”


JULY 2018
Vera Lee Hobbs

Vera’s earliest memory of enjoying art was drawing with her dad as a child. He would draw her tigers and dragons. He even made her elementary school flashcards with his drawings. Vera took her first art class in first grade. “I LOVED IT!” she said, “Ever since then, art was always something I wanted to take and be part of.”

Vera has drawn with pencil, charcoal, pastel and painted with acrylic. She always felt the most comfortable with acrylic and then she decided to challenge herself and paint with oil. “It was so much fun and so freeing! Where there used to be intimidation from myself, there was fun exploring something totally new!”

Vera was traveling to Africa on a mission trip and they asked her to teach a watercolor class. She had never painted in watercolor and always thought it was extremely difficult. She remembers, “I am at The Art Room! I have all of these talented teachers around me. I need to do this! I took my first watercolor class with Linda this past year and loved it! It is challenging but in such a rewarding way.”

Vera says that art is truly her therapy. “Art and especially The Art Room have always been my happy place. The people there are so fun, talented and most importantly, encouraging.” This past year Vera lost 2 very important people in her life. “Never before has painting and drawing been my conduit for processing not just my happy times, but also my grief.”

Vera, says “perspective” is the life lesson she has learned by doing art. “Not just the technical art term, but keeping things in perspective. It might seem like such a horrible mistake, I messed up my painting, I will never get it right…..but in the end with one little tweak, it always ends up ok….not the way I originally planned it, but still ok….by the grace of God. Don’t just keep looking down at the minute details. Take 10 steps back and look at the big picture. You might just surprise yourself!”


JUNE 2018
Shirley Yu

When Shirley was just 4 years she remembers making a flower that looked like a 4 leaf clover…..she knew then that this is what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

Watercolor is Shirley’s favorite medium. She loves the way the water activates the paint and you can make many different colors and shades. She also enjoys sketching with pencil and ball point pen. But, she adds that watercolor is the medium she enjoys the most.

Shirley feels good when she is creating art. She says, “I can’t describe it….looking at a picture and then trying to make it on another paper or putting a picture from your head onto the paper……it is like catching a moment in time that might happen or might not….that makes me feel good”

Shirley says that she has learned a lot of patience doing art. She is also able to ignore things around her when she is painting. “I can tune everything out and work on my painting.”

Shirley says, “Art makes me feel like…..somehow you can capture a moment in time that passes and preserve it and express how you feel.”


MAY 2018
Suzanne Bender

Suzanne remembers enjoying art as far back as grade school when she won a poster contest.  She took art all four years of high school and to this day, her daughter has her first still life painting hanging in her home.  Suzanne also has good memories of doing decoupage and painting with her mom.

Suzanne enjoys working with acrylics and painted paper collage.  “Allison’s class at The Art Room is fun, challenging and I enjoy ‘the sky’s the limit’ ideas!  Great collage group…unique and creative.”  She also admires watercolor and mosaic.

Happy!  This is how Suzanne feels when she is doing art.  “I love knowing I’m doing something I really enjoy and I like letting an idea grow and seeing your collage begin to take shape and it begins to talk to you…..there is always an element of surprise just when you least expect it!”
Life lessons when doing art are “to have fun!  To loosen up and just go for it!  To go at your own pace but also to challenge yourself along the way!  As soon as my apron goes on, I lose all track of time!

From Suzanne: “I found The Art Room about 4 ½ years ago and want to thank Linda and her whole staff for the wonderful hours spent there….everyone cheers each other on and they make wonderful friends.  The pleasure of the creative process is so rewarding….Art has become a big part of my life!  More than ever!”


APRIL 2018
Linda Holmes

Linda began her art journey just 2 years ago.  She joined an online creativity class and immediately fell in love.  She knew that she had found a new passion.  Linda has been painting primarily in oil but just recently discovered mixed media and is having so much fun learning new techniques.

When Linda paints, she says, “I am totally present.  I love the freedom of trying out something new and knowing that if it doesn’t work, I can always paint over it.  Nothing is ever wasted.”

Linda has learned some interesting life lessons from painting.  She says that painting is full of life metaphors…..the main thing that it has taught her is to see better.  “to notice the subtle range of light to dark and to not immediately label things.”

“I knew the minute I stepped in The Art Room that I was meant to be there!


MARCH 2018
Paula Haughey

Paula has been creating art since she was a small child.  She remembers when she was 12 years old that she would sit on the back field in Ireland and sketch what she saw.  When she was in 6th grade, she remembers winning an art award at school.

Paula loves oil, charcoal, oil pastels and inks.  She enjoys painting in oil the most because of the freedom it gives you.  Paula enjoys the excitement of the art journey.  She says, “When you start a painting, you never really know how it will turn out.”

When Paula is painting, she says “she is in her own world, a world with no worries.  I don’t think about anything but putting on the paint.  I feel really, really happy.  I can’t paint sad.  It is the one thing that has always been steady in my life.”

Paula says that painting has taught her that there is no problem too big.  You can always make it work out.  “I can have a really bad day and when I paint, my art gives me a different perspective.  I have been inspired by The Art Room.  It has been the backbone of growing artistically this year and a place where I come….it’s my therapy room.”

Paula is the art teacher at Holy Family and loves to inspire the children.  She says “there is an artist in every child.”


Rachel Jolly

Rachel’s first memories of art are when she was 6 or 7 years old.  She remembers her nanny taking her to a park and they would paint the ski and the grass.  When she was 8 years old she came to the Art Room for a gourd workshop and she has been attending classes, summer camps, and private lessons ever since.

Rachel’s favorite medium is watercolor.   Watercolor is so beautiful with the way the colors blend.   She said it is hard to paint with watercolor because sometimes when she messes up she has to start over.  Acrylic allows you to make a mistake and then you can paint over it.   When looking at paintings, Rachel says that watercolor paintings are her favorite.

Rachel feels relaxed and focused when she is painting.  Sometimes she likes to sing when she is painting.  (she has a beautiful voice!)

When Rachel is creative, she says, “Even if you mess up you can fix it.  No one will judge you when you make a mistake.  If you give up in art, your painting will be half finished….in life, if you give up, you won’t accomplish much.” “Art makes me feel happy.  At first paintings look bad and when you finish, they look really good!

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"I've been taking classes at The Art Room for almost a year now and I could never say enough great things about this place! The classes are fun for all skill levels and the instructors make sure you leave with a piece of art you love. I am constantly learning new techniques with every class I take. My kids (ages 6 & 9) love the classes too! The instructors are so patient with the kids and really help them learn and understand why they are doing what they are doing. The atmosphere is laid back and relaxing. Everyone is very encouraging of each other. We are all there to learn something new and create something beautiful. Each instructor is different and has a different style, but they are all extremely talented! They will never make you feel intimidated and will guide you step by step to an amazing piece of art."

Brooke P.

"I adore working with the ladies at the Art Room. Linda, PJ, Connie, and Alison are just amazing teachers. I have taken their oil, drawing, portfolio, acrylic and painting like the masters classes and have learned so much in each and every one! They have done the amazing and pulled an artist out of me... cannot say enough about how wonderful, talented, encouraging and patient they are." 

Nancy McEvoy

"Absolutely love this place! Everyone is so nice and encouraging. The Art Room is the perfect place to unwind and learn something new!" 

Brooke Waites Phipps
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