WINDERMERE — The team at The Art Room in Windermere has grown, and its new instructor, PJ Svejda, will be teaching a series of engaging classes this fall to help artists of all ages excel in their unique personal styles.
Svejda was hired at The Art Room in June, after moving to the Orlando area from Atlanta. This summer, she is teaching an adult oil painting class.
Svejda earned her bachelor’s degree in illustration and her master’s degree in painting from Savannah College of Art and Design.
After teaching and showing art in Atlanta for five years, she started to think about making a move. That’s when she found out about The Art Room.
“I looked at all the pictures, and I read about it, and I decided that it would be somewhere that I would really enjoy working,” Svejda said.
She said she was also impressed by the high-quality artwork that students of all ages have created at The Art Room and by the professional grade of materials that are available for them to use.
After Svejda came to Florida to visit The Art Room and meet with owner Linda Ziglar, the two artists knew they were a match.
“The more we talked, the more I realized that (Svejda) gets it,” Ziglar said. “We think the same way. She’s a great fit here.”
Svejda always knew she would like to be a teacher. As a teenager and young adult, she taught horseback riding and acting, so it was natural for her to later aspire to instill her passion for art in others.
“I really take pride in the students’ progression; I love seeing people that learn to trust themselves and become proud,” Svejda said. “It’s really fulfilling as a teacher to see those things click.”
Svejda said she has noticed that adults tend to paint for relaxation, and teens tend to want to convey a message with their artwork. Because every student is different, she is sure to allow them to express themselves freely.
“I’ll give them suggestions, and even if they choose not to take them, it’s neat to see where their train of thought will take them,” Svejda said. “I try not to be too pushy, as far as rules go.”
First-time students always are welcome in Svejda’s classroom, even if they haven’t yet identified their styles and strengths. And her philosophy is that it’s always OK to make mistakes, because that is how new artists learn.
“I guarantee by the end of the class, they’d be excited,” Svejda said. “You start to play around and see what things could be and get a little more comfortable. … Everyone is really encouraging to one another. At the end, everyone feels like they belong.”
In addition to teaching at The Art Room, Svejda plans to get involved in the Orlando art scene and show her work at various local venues, like she frequently did in Georgia. She specializes in portraits and figures, and most of her favorite original pieces are paintings of women or animals.
“I love the way that humans and nature coexist,” Svejda said.
Svejda is also available for private lessons and commissioned pieces.
For more information about The Art Room’s upcoming courses, visit artroomorlando.com.