Painting in Peachland began at the age of 84


Norma Taylor from West Kelowna needed a little persuasion before she decided to take up painting at the age of 84.

“I said no, it’s no use in me going,” she recalled.

But it’s never too late to start. Her two daughters, who are both artists, convinced her to give it a try through the Art Club at the 50+ Activity Centre.

“I went for two weeks and I was hooked.”

Taylor will be turning 90 next month and she estimates have painted 30 to 35 pieces since joining the club.

At each session, club members are shown a picture for inspiration and it can be replicated as realistically as they choose.

“We don’t all do the same thing with the picture,” she said. “At my first one the teacher said ‘This is the picture we’re going to paint.’ I looked at it and said, ‘Me? paint that myself.’ However I started and made quite a nice job of it.”

Taylor finds painting easy in a practical sense, but theoretical lessons on “depth in the background, this, that and the other thing was all weird talk to me.”

She’s always been a fan of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh, but before she crafted herself into a painter, most of Taylor’s creative endeavors came from knitting and sowing.

“Having a family you need to make and mend. So that’s what I did. But I didn’t do anything artistic till I was 84.”

When Taylor’s daughter and son-in-law saw her depiction of Garden of the Hospital in Arles, a van Gogh painting from 1889, they both wanted to hang it in each of their homes. So to meet demand, she reserved the first edition for her son-in-law, then painted a bigger version for her daughter, which she delivered to her in Australia for Christmas 2015.

Looking back at her earlier works, Taylor sometimes feels like they’re better than her recent paintings, but her style has evolved and she works much more independently.

“Now I can carry on and do the painting with only a little help from (instructor) Roberta (Farrelly). Before I was needing help for virtually every move.”

Taylor said she’s never been much of a mixer, but after her husband Syndey died in 2005, she was looking for more ways to become active

“Try it,” she advises. “Even if it doesn’t work for you it’s worth a try because it’s very time consuming but it’s very rewarding. I get lots of pleasure out of doing it – you feel that you’ve used your time usefully.”

She especially enjoys the company of the art club, who all critique one another’s works to encourage artistic growth.

Taylor’s home is decorated with many of her pieces.

“Whatever I’ve painted I put up,” she said, though she shares many of her pieces with her children and grandchildren.

After a break for the holidays, she’s eager to return to painting with the Art Club, though the group is on hiatus until a renovation is complete at the 50+ Activity Centre.

When the facility is in working order, the Art Club meets every Friday at noon.

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