Art is for everyone at Paint with Your Friends.
“I always wanted to paint so when I retired I went to art school and kept studying. With art, you’ve always got something to learn,” said Jocelyn Reynard. She had done some painting before, at 14 she had a job at The Bay in Vancouver painting people’s pets on trays for $1 each. Her son recently found one of those painting for sale on the Internet for $100.
“It’s amazing what people can do with art. They often think they can’t do anything, but they can. They can do a lot more than they think. It really helps to come here and paint with other people. I learn a lot and I get inspired,” she said.
Paint with Your Friends was started by an art teacher, the late Bill Davis, whose classes wanted to keep working together after courses ended. The group has artists of all ages and stages of learning working in a variety of mediums.
Jean MacDougall has been a member of the group for about five years.
“I just wandered in the door and the welcome here was the best welcome I had. I love coming here because we think about what we are working on and forget our everyday concerns,” she said.
The group members paint what they like. The painting of a zebra leaning against a wall is by Jane Vice, a former graphic artist from South Africa who likes to paint wildlife.
“I met Jocelyn when I was new here. She’s such a good mentor. I had never done any painting, just drawing, before so I’m learning. It’s such a lovely group. I would say to people to just come and enjoy it,” she said.
Pat Southam is one of the original members, going back about 20 years.
“I really enjoy it and the Arts Centre is so good to us,” she said. “I think everyone should come and paint. It opens your eyes to a whole new world and way of looking at things. I think a beginner would feel very comfortable here.”
Kristen Dejong and her friend Aurora Greenaway started to come to the group last November.
“I felt really welcome and encouraged and it’s been awesome and inspiring,” said Dejong, while Greenaway added, “I was never into painting since I stopped finger painting but Kristen inspires me. I love coming here.”
Marilyn Irwin, who recently moved from Alberta, didn’t think she could paint at all when she started to attend.
“Now I’m painting and drawing everything and thoroughly enjoying it. I’m learning so much from it. I like doing paintings for my grandchildren. My grandson asked me to do him a picture of a train and I did,” she said.
As an art teacher, Dot Szalanski didn’t find much time to do her own art.
“I found out about Paint with Your Friends quite soon after I moved here eight years ago and I’ve been coming ever since. It gets me going with my painting and I look forward to it.”
Paint with Your Friends meets Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with members bringing their lunches. Everyone is welcome. The drop-in fee is $3. There are large easels and tables available for the members. Someone will often arrange a still life scene for members to paint or draw if they choose or they work on their own projects.