Seniors display their creativity

January 25, 1998

by Kevin G. Gilbert / staff photographer

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Seniors display their creativity


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Like several of his classmates, Donald Black started painting with Paint by Numbers kits when he was young.

The smell of the oils and feel of the canvas has stayed with him all of his life. Now at age 81 he finally has time to devote to painting.


Like many of the other students in Eliane Ambrose's art classes for seniors, Black can hardly find room in his home anymore to hang his works.

He nearly sold one of his paintings recently. A woman in his church offered to buy one of his coastal scenes, but he said he couldn't part with it.

"He's got so many paintings in the house now that there's no more room. He even has them in the basement," said Black's wife, Thelma, who said she doesn't paint.

Lu Mattern, 69, of Waynesboro, said her mother was an artist.

"It's something I always wanted to do, but I never had time for it when I was young. I was busy raising my three children," she said.

The dozen or so paintings - snow scenes, landscapes, still lifes and seascapes - on display at the Otterbein Ministry Center Friday represented the first show by Ambrose's students.

They meet once a week at the center and paint under Ambrose's watchful eye for two hours.

She has been teaching the class for about two years, she said.

She uses one of her paintings as a model for her students to copy.

"It takes them four to five weeks to finish a painting," Ambrose said. "For a lot of them, it's their first painting. Some of them have never picked up a brush before. They didn't know they had any talent," she said.

A few of her students said they have had some art lessons in the past.

Some seniors said they paint for relaxation, some for the challenge.

"It's therapeutic, a way of expressing the way you feel," said Jayne Kauffman, 68, of Waynesboro.

"We're leaving a legacy for our children and grandchildren," Kauffman said.

Sarah Marie, 21/2, one of Kauffman's four great-grandchildren, was with her at the center Friday.

"She already has her eye on this snow scene," Kauffman said.

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