Learn­ing a life­long plea­sure

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Stanstead

Ev­ery­body has a creative side and, with the right guid­ance, it doesn’t take long for that creative side to flour­ish. You can see proof of this at the Haskell Li­brary through­out the month of June with an ex­hi­bi­tion by three novice painters from

Stanstead: Beryl Joyce, Lor­raine Mark­well and Jane Webb.

I vis­ited with the three women ear­lier this month as they fin­ished up some of their pieces at the home of their in­struc­tor, mixed me­dia artist Jean Har­ris. Both Jane and Beryl have been learn­ing how to paint from Jean for about three years while Lor­raine has been at it for only one year. All three had never painted be­fore Jean en­ticed them to give it a try.

“We start by paint­ing still lifes and then we move on to com­pos­ite paint­ings. It takes a while to have the con­fi­dence to do ab­stract paint­ing. Even­tu­ally peo­ple paint from their head and their heart, but it takes time,” com­mented Jean.

The three women are a com­mit­ted group, meet­ing once a week at Jean’s home, in Stanstead, where they work steadily for hours. “They learn some tricks of the trade, like to no­tice where the light is com­ing from; they learn that from paint­ing the still lifes,” said Jean.

“A friend of mine was paint­ing with Jean and asked me to try it. I was hes­i­tant at first, my son was ill in the hospi­tal. It took me about a year to re­ally get into it,” said Jane as she worked on a paint­ing of a hip­popota­mus for her daugh­ter. A paint­ing of a bright red fire-truck was wait­ing to be com­pleted, a re­quest from her son. Those paint­ings will, along with many oth­ers, one day be fam­ily heir­looms. “I find that paint­ing is a nice dis­trac­tion. It’s been a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence meet­ing Jean; she gives us a lit­tle idea and steers us in the right di­rec­tion. And now I’m ready for big­ger can­vasses. I would have never said that a year ago!”

“I had no ex­pe­ri­ence at all when Jean asked if I would like to try it. Now I find paint­ing fan­tas­tic, en­joy­able and there is al­ways some­thing to do,” com­mented Beryl who was hard to pull away from a complicated man­dala that she was work­ing on. “Beryl has done a num­ber of in­ter­est­ing pieces,” men­tioned Jean. “Ev­ery­thing about paint­ing has sur­prised me. I never thought I could do it,” ad­mit­ted Beryl.

“I find that paint­ing is a stress out­let, it’s chal­leng­ing, and it is bring­ing out a creative side that I didn’t know I had. Com­ing here and learn­ing about art from Jean, it makes us see ev­ery­thing dif­fer­ently. Now the de­tails of things jump out at you,” com­mented Lor­raine who was work­ing on a paint­ing fea­tur­ing one of her favourite sub­jects: hum­ming­birds. “Part of paint­ing is de­vel­op­ing a keen eye, like see­ing the dif­fer­ent shapes and colours in trees. Paint­ing is a life-long skill that you can do alone or in a group. And once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for­ever,” ex­plained the in­struc­tor. “It’s been an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” con­tin­ued Lor­raine. “I wish I had more time to work on it. My grand­chil­dren are im­pressed and now they are all try­ing to paint!”

And now, thanks to the pol­icy of the Haskell Free Li­brary to show­case lo­cal artis­tic tal­ent through­out the year in its Read­ing Room, these three bud­ding artists will be able to ex­hibit the best of their work. “They all chose what they wanted to put in to the ex­hibit. Now we just have to mea­sure out the walls in the Read­ing Room and draw straws for the prime spots!” Mrs. Har­ris men­tioned.

The artists are hold­ing the vernissage for their month-long ex­hi­bi­tion at the Haskell Li­brary on June 2nd, from 10:30 to noon. “I booked the space at the Haskell a year ago, think­ing I would put on an ex­hi­bi­tion. But my stu­dents have enough work and their work is good enough,” said Jean with a touch of pride.

Photo Jour­nall

Photo Vic­to­ria Vanier

Jean Har­ris (left) has been help­ing (l. to r.) Lor­raine Mark­well, Beryl Joyce and Jane Webb learn to paint with im­pres­sive re­sults that will be on dis­play at the Haskell in June.

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