PHOTOS: Virtual gallery showcases inspirations of Semiahmoo Peninsula seniors

White Rock’s Joan Bywater shows the setup she uses when participating in online paint parties hosted by the Seniors Come Share Society. (Contributed photo)White Rock’s Joan Bywater shows the setup she uses when participating in online paint parties hosted by the Seniors Come Share Society. (Contributed photo)
Clara Yervis and her grandson Daniel work on a painting together, during a ‘Seniors Inspired’ class. (Contributed photo)Clara Yervis and her grandson Daniel work on a painting together, during a ‘Seniors Inspired’ class. (Contributed photo)
This painting by Sheree is among those to be featured in the 'Seniors Inspired' virtual art show. (Contributed photo)
Joan Bywater’s emulation of work by Georgia O’Keeffe will be featured in the ‘Seniors Inspired’ virtual art show. (Contributed photo)Joan Bywater’s emulation of work by Georgia O’Keeffe will be featured in the ‘Seniors Inspired’ virtual art show. (Contributed photo)

A virtual art show that’s set to launch on the online stage May 21 is all about inspiration.

‘Seniors Inspired’ is the culmination of an effort to spark some excitement and imagination in seniors who were feeling the weight of the pandemic.

It’s “just to show that seniors are so – what’s the word? – they’re just so able to take something that is a struggle and turn it into something that’s beautiful, and right now, during the pandemic, when we’re all so tired of this… they’ve been resilient,” said Shannen Kealy, volunteer co-ordinator for Seniors Come Share Society.

“They’re coming with resiliency and passion for something, and inspiring others.”

Kealy said the society received a grant last year that enabled them to offer free supply kits to seniors who were interested in trying their hand at painting. Paint parties got underway in September, with two-hour classes held once a month via Zoom.

Over the months that followed, participants explored the work of a spectrum of artists, from Monet and Van Gogh to Emily Carr and Alma Thomas, and finished each class with their own masterpiece.

“We started with Van Gogh and I just taught the different techniques; some of the things Van Gogh did to make his work really special,” Kealy explained. “We talked about the artist as well, and everybody ended up with very different pictures.

“We’ve just been having such a great time being inspired by the work of others. Some of the seniors, they’ve taken a couple of classes and then they’ve gone on to make their own work, which is exactly what we wanted, for them to just feel comfortable enough saying, ‘what can I try on my own?’”

For Joan Bywater, the art classes were a welcome way to return to an activity she thoroughly enjoys. The White Rock senior had been attending Tiggy’s in Crescent Beach prior to its closure in January due to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Crescent Beach art studio, viewed by some as a community centre, closes its doors after 26 years

“When I saw that (Come Share) were going to do a program for painting, I was immediately interested,” Bywater said. “I’m no artist, by the way, but I like to paint, so I thought, oh, this is perfect.”

Emulating the work of American artist Georgia O’Keeffe – described on as “renowned for her contribution to modern art” and known for her paintings of flowers and New York skyscrapers – was particularly satisfying, said Bywater.

“I found I could really let myself go with that one, it was just lovely.”

For Clara Yervis, the classes have been “a really amazing experience,” and provided another activity she could do with her 11-year-old grandson, Daniel.

“I really enjoy sharing with my grandson the passion for painting,” Yervis said. “He’s learning, but he loves it.”

The opportunity to get even closer to Daniel was too good to pass up, she said.

“Life is short and… we don’t know what we can expect. Why not enjoy the time with our kids and grandkids?”

Kealy said the ‘Seniors Inspired’ show will feature a virtual gallery of the participants’ art works, open to the public through to June 4 at Featured artists will also include others in the community who didn’t participate in the Come Share program but wanted to share what the pandemic has inspired them to create, she said.

The opportunity was offered to a wider audience after hearing one participant share the impact that painting had for her, Kealy explained.

“She told me about how sad she was by what was happening down in the States with the storming of the Capitol, and it inspired her to start painting. And then when she was, it brought her joy and brightened her mood. That inspiration kind of helped her move forward with her life and have a little bit of hope and joy,” Kealy said.

READ MORE: VIDEO: World leaders are appalled by storming of U.S. Capitol

“Her telling me that made me think, well, maybe there’s other seniors out there who are finding ways to be inspired and creative at this time.”

One example Kealy is hoping to include is that of driftwood sculptures created by a seniors walking group. Members, at the end of their walks along Crescent Beach, make a sculpture out of driftwood, she explained, noting the pieces have caught the eyes of many, and been a focus of countless photos.

“What is art if not something that motivates more art?” Kealy said.

Bywater described being invited to participate in the art show as “quite an honour,” and expressed appreciation for “all the things Come Share and other agencies are doing” for seniors.

Kealy said additional senior artists are sought for the online show, however, she needs to hear from them before May 12 in order to include them. Those interested can reach her at 604-531-9400, ext. 203.

Art classes are planned to resume in September, and Kealy noted that those who aren’t comfortable with Zoom classes may request the materials covered and any instructions in writing.

In the meantime, seniors who want to dabble over the summer are welcome to contact her for an art-supply kit.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

art exhibitCoronavirusSeniorsSurrey

Just Posted

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of May 31

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read