We had a first in this year’s Art is Ageless® juried competition: two artists shared the People’s Choice award. And they happen to be teacher and student.
Sue Vince has been taking Barb Culley’s painting class at the Salina Senior Center for many years. Sue said she fell into painting almost by accident after she retired from the Central Kansas Cooperative in Education program in 2004.
“I happened to mention to another of Barb’s students,‘You just do the neatest things.’ I had never painted in my life,” said Sue, a resident of Salina Presbyterian Manor. “The next day Barb called and said, ‘I hear you’re interested in painting.”
Sue said she likes oil paints because they’re so forgiving. She mostly paints landscapes, and next she’d like to try her hand at painting animals.
Barb, the teacher, said Sue works hard to make her pictures as realistic as possible. “She likes detailed work, and she strives to make it look exactly like what she’s looking at. She sees things really well,” Barb said.
Barb has been teaching art for 35 years, after a short stint teaching high school P.E. For a few years, she owned her own studio and offered classes there. Teaching older adults is no different from teaching anyone who is enthusiastic about making art, she said.
“They’re just like kids. They’re eager. I can teach anyone to paint; it just takes desire and patience,” she said.
The group setting allows her students to encourage one another or offer suggestions, Barb said. Sue said Barb is also very willing to help, “but she’s very good about letting you do your thing, and when you need help, why, you just holler at her and she comes over and sits down.”
Both women were honored to receive the People’s Choice award and to share it with someone they know well. Barb’s winning piece, “Sunflowers Galore,” is a mixed- media creation. She brushed on a base of acrylic paint, then adhered watercolor paper and modeling paste to form flower petals. Finally, she painted it with oils. “Everybody likes texture. They want to touch it,” Barb said.
Sue’s painting, “Kick Back and Relax,” depicts a peaceful lakeside cottage. She said this is the third year she entered the contest, and she won an honorable mention last year. Every time, the exhibit inspires her, she said.
“When I go to see these Art is Ageless shows, it’s just amazing to me what these people can do,” Sue said.