Seniors create on canvas

Published Nov 20, 2013 at 6:08 am (Updated Nov 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm)

Info Box: Hillsdale Center

First established in a two-story house on Glenmore, for the past 13 years, LifeSpan’s Hillsdale Senior Resource Center has called the Dormont Borough Building its gathering place. The center continues to increase its resources and services for older adults and provides fellowship, lunch and activities Monday-Friday. Painting classes, bingo, board games, crochet, fitness, card playing, chess and Wii games are just a few hints of what the center offers.

Colorful oils, watercolors and acrylics. Easels, brushes, mixing trays and canvases. Painting is not only fun, but great therapy. “I don’t ever remember holding an artist’s brush before coming here,” are words I heard from just about every member of the art guild during a recent visit to LifeSpan’s Hillsdale Senior Resource Center in Dormont.

Painting instruction began at the center in the early 2000s after a simple request was made by some creative divas hoping for a few art classes. Enthusiasm soared, and in 2003 this artists group became known through the South Hills and beyond as the Primary Colors Art Guild.

Excited with all they had learned and showing plenty of determination to do more, the group held its first art exhibit and sale that year, and celebrated its 11th annual event in May 2013.

By providing opportunities for fellowship, personal growth, enrichment and education in art, Hillsdale Senior Center and the art guild furnishes mature men and women with a place to express themselves artistically. Members paint what interests them, often recalling moments of their past to visualize designs.

Age and gender have no boundaries with regard to creative expression and social interaction. Claude Monet is known to have produced some of his most recognizable works while in his 70s and Anna Moses, creator of “Grandma Moses,” didn’t start painting until her late 70s. Drawing, painting, photography or having an interest in other hobbies increases self-esteem, awakening a passion that time didn’t permit during parenting and employment.

Boasting 20 regular artists, the guild always welcomes new artists, beginners and those with experience. Space is now available 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Currently, men and women from Mt. Washington, the South Side and other Pittsburgh communities gather with those from the South Hills, finding enjoyment in capturing pictures and ideas on canvas.

“I’ve only been coming here for two months,” said Diane Fritz. “I once did ceramics, but now I’m painting. Animals are my favorite.”

Dormont resident Pat Myers joined the guild early this year. “With absolutely no art experience, I was sure the instructor would tell me that I had no talent and I would go home,” laughed Pat. “I found a colorful picture in a magazine and I’m trying to duplicate it. I call it ‘Floral Kiosk.’ I love coming here.”

“I’m a retired lab technician and have always been interested in art and music,” said Charles Yan of Green Tree. “I heard good things about this art guild and have been here ever since.”

Instructor Ann McCartney brings fresh ideas and techniques to her age 50 and up artists. With more than 20 years of painting experience, membership in local art leagues and exhibiting in art shows, Ann brings to the Hillsdale group a variety of theories and styles. Her artwork will be displayed in the gallery at Hillsdale in December along with Christmas-themed paintings and works of art by its members.

To learn more about LifeSpan’s Hillsdale Senior Resource Center and Primary Colors Art Guild, call 412-343-6050.

EEN: Primary Colors Art Guild will hold its Christmas Art Sale Dec. 4 at the Hillsdale Center.

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