An upcoming art show will feature emerging local painters alongside established artists.
The new artists expressed surprise at being included, considering the most experienced among them has only been painting for about six months. None had expected to be doing this at their age, they said.
The group of eight are residents at Crescent Gardens Retirement Community in South Surrey, and have been learning how to paint in Tuesday classes taught by Angie Payne.
"I've always believed there was talent in the retirement homes," said Payne.
"Whether they're six or 66, I believe I can bring that out of them. I always get a product."
And Payne said she also believes her students need to market their work and share it with the public.
The exhibit, called Art in the Secret Garden, is slated for Thursday, Aug. 16 at Crescent Garden's outdoor courtyard. The evening event, from 7 to 9 p.m., will feature wine and cheese, and live music, while visitors explore the artworks.
The call is open to artists of various media, even though the students at the home tend to work mostly in acrylics.
Joyce Campbell, who was putting the finishing touches on a painting of a puppy, said she gets completely absorbed in her work.
"It's very therapeutic," she said. "It's just relaxing, comforting."
Campbell, like many others in the class, said she was surprised to discover her own ability.
Payne described her approach to teaching as being very strict about things like perspective, but very open about colour choice. Everyone starts out with a colour wheel, she said, and then they explore on their own, with direction on technique or other aspects of painting.
And everyone chooses their own subject matter and style.
Gina Kuvinka, for example, chose to paint the train station that features in many of her fondest memories of her husband.
Last Tuesday she had done the painstaking work of getting the proportions and angles of the building just so, and was beginning to block in the colour.
"I never painted in my life," she said with a chuckle. "I'm trying, it works," she said of Payne's approach.
Painting is "good for your brain."
That kind of a comment was echoed by others, that learning to paint helped each of them to look with more attention, to notice things like clouds in the sky, and shades of colour too.
Josie Boychuk, who takes the class with her husband Peter, said it was a pleasant way to pass the time.
"You forget your troubles," said Gisele Battle.
"No, it adds to your worries," joked Boychuk.
"It keeps you awake at night," her husband said, and the room erupted in laughter.
For some, like Rudy Serfas, it's taken a bit of time to warm up to painting.
"I'm getting to like it more and more all the time," he said, adding that he now likes his painting of an inukshuk more than the photo from which he was working.
Ursula Graham said she has found she prefers sketching to painting, and has begun collecting books to help her with the technical aspects of shading in order to improve her work. She, like others, has begun painting on her own outside of class.
Jean Sarginson, who was working on an ambitious garden scene, said she generally prefers doing watercolours. She summed up the sentiment of the group when she said, "I'm determined I'm going to do this to the best of my ability."
Payne, obviously proud of her enthusiastic students, said some of their finished paintings could go up against professional artists' work.
A prolific artist herself, Payne also teaches students of all ages, in groups or private sessions.
The painters from the retirement home will have their work exhibited on Aug. 16, along with professional artists who may offer some pieces for sale.
Entry deadline for Art in the Secret Garden is July 25. It will be held at Crescent Gardens Retirement Community, at 1222 King George Blvd., next to the Pacific Inn. Call 604-541-8861 for a submission form.
For more information on Payne and her approach to art, see http: //artangie.ca. firstname.lastname@example.org