Heather Grady decided to start teaching the class because her mother Jean (left) was living at Maeford Place.

Maeford Place watercolour class puts on colourful exhibition in Quesnel

First-time painters find new creative outputs late in life

A gathering room at Maeford Place Assisted Living was alive with colour when some of the retirement home’s residents put on an art show last Wednesday (June 26).

What started out as a few ladies taking a watercolour class took on a life of its own.

Heather Grady, whose mother, Jean Speare, is a resident at the home, is an artist who never considered herself a teacher.

She wanted to volunteer and decided to host a small class.

“It’s been a resounding success,” she said. “The ladies are amazing.”

The pictures on display in the room were a testament to how amazing. While they all had the same subject to draw, and they all used the same materials, the paintings themselves were delightfully different from artist to artist.

Grady said about eight students came regularly, while a few would drop in from time to time. At least two of the students had a fair amount of experience but still took a lot from the experience of attending the class.

“I wanted to take part in a group, and it was a good way to socialize too,” said Emily Scholin, who had six or seven paintings on display. She had a strong background painting with acrylic, but with some loss in sight, she always had trouble with watercolours.

With Grady leading the class, however, she found a passion for the medium.

“The way Heather teaches is just wonderful,” she said. “The method she was teaching [made it] easier for me.”

She is quite amused with how well her fellow painters with a little less experience did too.

“I like the way other people who were new to painting altogether at our age, who started out with an attitude of — Oh, I’ll never be able to do that — and then they do this,” she said, while extending her arm around the room.

Grady found the passion with which the new artists took to their craft very rewarding.

“I had been on a stalemate for seven years where I haven’t painted anything of note,” she said. “And now I’m painting like crazy.

“These guys are such that I don’t even like to miss a single class, and they don’t either. They’re getting very surprised with their abilities.”

Another daughter of one of the residents passed by during the interview, and Grady paused to say, “Your mom is unreal.”

A big smile passed across the lady’s face and she responded, “It’s funny because she’s never done it before.”

“Well, the talent has to be in your family,” Grady countered.

“There’s lots in our family but we’ve never seen her do it, and I can’t even draw a stick man,” was the reply.

“She did the flower pot all on her own,” Grady noted, with an impressed air. “In fact when I tried to offer some help, she was fairly offended.”

READ MORE: Quilter’s placemat project brightens Maeford Place table settings


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Emily Scholin discovered a love for watercolour thanks to Heather Grady’s class.

The paintings on display at the Maeford Place Assisted Living facility looked of top notch quality. Ronan O’Doherty photos

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