Welcome to AWE Online Exhibits

Through in-person and online classes, AWE is able to reach out to seniors to engage their creativity, as well as providing a forum for community building. Classwork is selected for online and on-location exhibits, building a bridge to audiences of all ages.

Weekly classes include a lesson presentation, classwork review, and work time. Classwork is then selected and shared for display in exhibitions online and on location.

Please also check out our previous Annual Exhibits which are viewable on the Annual Exhibits page of this website.

AWE Senior Bridge Project
Online Meeting – Sun. Aug. 7, 2022
Special Exhibit Presentation Video:
A Celebration of our AWE Artists

New Work Summer 2022
Featuring recent AWE classwork
Jun. 15 – Sept. 15, 2022

Cover Art – “Summerscape” by Toba Herman – Rhoda Goldman Plaza

Catalog View
3D Gallery View:

Meet the Artists

Belmont Village Albany Instructor Virginia Jourdan
Nan Wadstein
“Vase with Flowers”
 
The Carlisle Instructor Yvette Brown
Jayne Ross Matsuda
“Winter Elk”

Sure that she was destined for a more-than-average life, Jayne Ross-Matsuda fled her childhood base in New Jersey for New York City as soon as she could.

Her father was willing to pay only for post-high school courses that would provide “practical skills”. At a local business college she became acquainted with the PBX switchboard system, and soon after found a job in New York City, utilizing that skill. Working for a Manhattan-based tin broker infused Jayne with a fascination for business which ultimately landed her in upper management at CBS. Following retirement, Jayne took acting classes which opened another career. She has performed off Broadway, in regional theatre, has had a number of commercials in her acting portfolio and has worked in radio drama, television and film, appearing in several episodes of Law & Order. By her own admission, Jayne has had a long-time but erratic interest in the visual arts. It has only been at The Carlisle, in the Art With Elders class, that she has found teachers who can instill the discipline required to learn the skills that result in a deeply satisfying art practice.

Debbie Solomon
“Hidden Waters”

“I like paintings landscapes, fishes, things under the sea, in the air. Wherever I want to go, I go”, says Deborah Solomon, affectionately known as Debs. Born in New York City in 1954, Debs survived a traumatic head injury when she was 11. During a long and difficult rehab-ilitation to relearn how to speak, New York’s renowned museums became a surrogate for school, which led to a lasting love of art. In 1982, Debs began studying painting at the National Academy of Arts in Manhattan. “You’ll always see what you’re doing if you go on and paint naturally, don’t hold back. Your hand knows more than you do. I might think my hand and my mind don’t agree. Well, we do agree!” she laughs. Debs was the longest-serving volunteer at the Central Park Conservancy, where she weeded and pruned for 25 years until she and her father moved to San Francisco three and a half years ago. As an adult, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “I was sad, I thought I couldn’t do it, but then I thought, ‘I will do it again,’ and slowly and surely I did. Always think of hope and go on.”

Aurora Spikol
“Meadow Walk”

Aurora started taking art classes in the evening when she was still working. She was an active member of the Art Society at the World Bank (where she worked in Washington, D.C.) which held annual art exhibits and she had continued to participate even after her retirement. She had participated annually at the Glen Echo Park Labor Day Exhibits in Maryland, and also with other local community centers while residing in D.C. When she moved to San Francisco in 2011, Aurora took classes in Drawing and Watercolor painting for two years at the Sharon Art Studio at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. She uses the different media although she prefers oil and watercolor. “I’m enjoying painting very much. I never knew that art painting would be part of my life. The more I paint, the more I discover myself. I am always challenged but at the end, I feel happy to see my work.”

Ann Swinehart
“Pottery”

I never held an artists paint brush until I was 95 Years old and have seldom put one down since. I hoped the activity of painting would help me to recover from a depression brought on by injuries sustained in a car crash. It did! I feel whole and at peace when painting. I find the cityscapes of Mitchell Johnson exciting and have painted at least 60 orchids in the last year!

Leatrice Weiss
“Reef”
I went to the High School of Music & Art, now called La Guardia High School. I was an art major there, where I also became the theater editor of the school paper. I have always had a fondness for theater (probably developing this fondness from my mother who enjoyed performing as well); my earliest memory of performing on stage was at three years old. I have always been a creative person, enjoying art, music and theater very much. As a camper and camp counselor during my teenage years, I wrote several musicals – and acted in them – continuing my love for theater performance as an adult in Paramus, New Jersey. Throughout my adulthood, I have painted more as a hobby. As an adult I also wrote several children’s books for which my daughter did the illustrations. I usually like working with any acrylic or watercolor but find that acrylic tend to be more forgiving.
Coventry Senior Center Instructor Hugh Leeman
Ann Adelman
“Untitled”
 
Laura Lee Gillespie
“Untitled”
 
Sandy Jones
“Untitled”
 
Beverly Rockabrand
“Untitled”
 
Jeanne Rogers
“Untitled”
 
Anne Whybrow
“Untitled”
 
Curry Senior Center Instructor Min Lee
Elisa Benedicto
“Penguin”

Elisa Benedicto Tita Ely is a member of Curry Senior Center’s Samahang Pinoy, a Filipino ladies group. She has been a member for three years and has participated in many of Curry’s programs, especially during the pandemic. One of the programs she regularly attends is Art with Elders (AWE) every Thursday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tita Ely loves to draw but struggles to find time to devote to it. Through Art with Elders, she has been able to find time to enjoy her passion. She said, “I am good with drawing, but I can be better.” The AWE instructor, Min Lee, starts their session by showing them techniques such as how a simple circle can start a picture and become a lovely work of art. The painting below was Tita Ely’s latest. The body of the animal began with three different sizes of circles, and the rest is history. She also learned how to mix colors and add shadows to make the subject of the painting stand out.

Cecelia dela Cruz
“Truck & Dog”
 
Natee Galinato
“Hummingbird”

I am Natividad T. Galinato , Natee in short. I had been in the USA 6 years ago as petitioned by my daughter. I am an active member of Curry Senior Center, Samahang Pinoy, Pilipino Seniors Resource Center, Canon Kip Senior Center, Bayanihan Choir, Co-chairman, Lead Team SF Power in San Francisco.

Arts is an ingredient added into my life. Why? This made me grow & transform for a better person. Since covid 19 pandemic, I indulge myself through painting. Painting is an art. I  love it & one way of expressing my thoughts, feelings & observations. It is a stress reliever for me as senior & free from boredom. In gratitude, I would say  ” Thank You, to our dear teacher Mr. Min Lee who is very talented sharing his ideas to us.

Virginia Jean Navarro
“Dancer”

I graduated at Saint Louis University (Baguio City) with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. I took my Masteral Degree at Philippine Christian University (Manila). I am a retired teacher in the Philippines and I worked as a Daycare Teacher again here in USA for six years. I am also actively collaborating with different organizations like: Curry Senior Center (Samahang Pinoy), Bayanihan Community Choir, Canon Kip Senior Center, Beginners Ukelele Class, Pilipino Senior Resource Center, RETAS Bindlestiff Studio, Arts With Elderly, Charismatic Group and Migrante USA.

Maria Nelita Garcia
“Love Birds”
 
Emelita Torio
“Meditation”
 
Dr. George W. Davis
Senior Center
Instructor Virginia Jourdan
Geri Hill
Home, Home”
 
Shirley Swift
“Getting the Kinks Out”

I have been taking the AWE class for since 2019 with Virginia Jourdan. I moved to Illinois to be closer to my family so I participate in the virtual classes and enjoy seeing old friends and painting. In this class, I have learned about a lot of things, can’t remember all, but I’m drawing some different things then I usually draw. I learned to draw a cat, buildings and still life objects. My favorite medium is watercolor. It is so much fun. Some other things I enjoy are music, theater, musicals and love drawing people.

Fairmont Healthcare Instructor Mei Mei Everson
Carlos J.
“Untitled”
 
Christina R.
“Untitled”
 
Darryl C.
“Untitled”
 
Galicia U.
“Untitled”
 
Qing X.
“Untitled”
 
Robert L.
“Untitled”
 
Rolland D.
“Untitled”
 
Heritage on the Marina Instructor Yvette Browm
Barbara Anderson
“Mountain Lake”
 
Doris Howard
“Matriarch”

Born and raised in New York City, Doris spent most of her adult life on the Upper West Side until moving to San Francisco in 1989 to be closer to her son.  She describes herself as an extrovert and “The #1 Volunteer of the Western World.” At age 13 Doris went to her first demonstration in Harlem, an experience that led her to become active in civil rights and gender issues.  She earned a doctorate in psychology in her 40s while raising her son and had a private practice for many years in New York. In San Francisco, she was Program Director of Shrader House, part of the Progress Foundation, a non-profit agency in the mental health field. She’s edited several books and published numerous journal reviews and articles.  Doris was an active member of the Association for Women in Psychology, which presented her with The Doris Howard Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.  Over the years she travelled, for work and pleasure, to London, Paris, Rome, Australia and Asia. Doris began painting and sculpting ten years ago and works in watercolor, acrylic and encaustic. She favors geometric designs which are featured in much of her work.  “So many people are reluctant to do art,” she says, “But it’s one of the best things to do.  It’s the doing that’s the fun part.”

Margaret Jacobs
“Blue Mountain”
 
Kaye Narron
“My First Tree”
 
Laguna Honda Hospital Instructor Mark Campbell
Tony Lai Yu
“In Honor of the Ocean”

Tony was born in southern China and lived in the Philippines and in Hong Kong before moving to San Francisco thirty years ago. “There has been so much change in my life. I have seen so many things – war, peace, my family, moving here.” Tony’s thoughtful expression becomes amused and his eyes twinkle and he says “Well, I am 83 years old!” Art, however, has been a constant. An only child who loved to draw, he went to art college in Shanghai before embarking on a long and fruitful career as an artist. He enjoys landscape and still life painting but prefers figure drawing “since it’s the most demanding.” Tony is grateful for his two sons and daughter and he also greatly appreciates his health, which he attributes to swimming every week for thirty years. “All of it is good,” he observes, reflecting on some of his happiest memories. He smiles serenely, “It’s been a long, long life.”

Angel M.
“Night Light”
 
Ida Marksman
“The Clown”

Ida’s easygoing charm, sunny smile and vibrant spirit make clear why her nick name is “Beautiful,” as she blushingly confides. Born in San Francisco in 1940, a stroke paralyzed her right side when she was two years old. However, Ida declares, “I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I did everything a normal person would do.” Her parents immigrated from Northern Italy, and she grew up in North Beach “when it was special.” She cherishes memories of summer evenings when children would play kickball on Telegraph Hill as parents chatted on their front steps and of leisurely Sunday strolls with her family to Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. One of life’s high points occurred when Ida was asked to sing for a benefit at the Fairmont Hotel. A fan of Doris Day and Al Martino, she still sings in the shows at Laguna Honda.Ida always liked art and loves to color. Even her wheelchair is decorated with a pink butterfly and v iolet flowers. “I can stay here in the studio all day and draw,” she laughs. “I always wanted to and never got the chance. Now I have that chance.” Her advice: “Don’t quit. I never quit when I felt I wanted something.”

Carl Stokes
“The World Inside”

Carl has always identified himself as an artist.  “I’m an artist!” he would say when meeting new people.  He is interested in all expressions of creativity and his taste in the visual arts has always been eclectic. In the last 20 years, however, he has focused primarily on painting.  

As a result of a health issue, Carl moved to Laguna Honda in 2019. Although he can no longer speak, he is able to communicate his wishes and thoughts using an I-Pad “talk” program.  His friends and care givers know how important painting is to him. He is very excited to participate in the AWE program at Laguna Honda.

Mission Plaza Apts. Instructor Min Lee
Pearl Pooner
“Rize of the Nile’s New Queen”

Pearl is a survivor. She is finally home again after five surgeries, five months in the hospital and one month in a coma. During her recovery, with two sheets of white paper and a pen, Pearl slowly tried to gain control of her fingers by drawing shapes. Circles at first, then triangles and finally her toy dog. The work she is creating now is inspired by the dreams she had while in the hospital. Growing up in San Francisco as a mixed-race child, she suffered discrimination and “ugliness.” Doing art was a way to bring something beautiful into her home. Her mother, who was raised with art in Mexico and an uncle who told her, “You have a creative mind,” inspired Pearl to draw. Her father gave her a Playboy Magazine so she could study figure drawing. She kept the magazine under her bed so her brothers wouldn’t find it. Pearl took art classes at City College, but had to give up studying for many years while she worked and raised a family. She began painting again just a few years ago. Now, she carries with her the two white sheets of paper from her hospital days. Although she is in pain much of the time, the crude drawings remind her that she is a survivor and an artist.

On Lok Chinese Instructor Insio Che
Dan Bao Xie
“Two Blue Birds”

Born in China, Ms. Xie had been joining the AWE class since 2018. At first, she started with doing the Chinese Calligraphy but pandemic started activity staff invited her to join the online AWE class in Dec 2020 and since then she began her watercolor painting class with teacher Insio. Ms. Xie likes the online art class because it is very convenient for her to join from home. No need to worry about getting ready for the driver to pick her up to go to Gee Center. Center activity staff is supportive and frequently checks in for any art supply replenishment. She is enjoying learning different techniques and is gaining skill in doing watercoloring. “This class improves my mood and makes me happy. Concentrating on painting helps me release stress and pressure” says Ms. Xie.

Linhua Xiao
“Flower & Butterfly”

In October 2020, I participated in the AWE online senior art course—Color Water Painting, which was taught and guided by the teacher. I started to learn watercolor painting from scratch. In December of the same year, and took part in the Cantonese art class. I really like painting. I didn’t have the opportunity and conditions in the past. Now I can learn through the Internet Zoom, which is a good opportunity.

After studying for a period of time, I have improved my knowledge and skills in watercolor painting. Although I am getting older, I still have to study hard so that painting can enrich and cultivate life. Thank you, teacher! Thanks  to Activity Team!

Mei Kuo Chen
“Moon n Peony”

Ms. Chen, born in Vietnam, says that when she was young, she didn’t have time to develop any leisure interest because she had to take care of family. But now she has the opportunity and time to explore new interests which she really enjoys. One of her new interests is the AWE online art class which she joined in December of 2020. She did not have any prior experience in painting, but now, taking this art class for the past 10 months, she reports that she can complete different images with guidance from her instructor, Insio. Ms. Chen especially enjoys using watercolors to paint plants, flowers, and landscapes. Through the class, she is enjoying making new friends, and says she appreciates how everyone shares their skills and learns from each other. She encourages other seniors to “take the opportunities to develop new interests even though we are elderly.”

Qing Ho
“Tiger”

Qing Ho, from China, began her art practice in December of 2020 when she joined the AWE-On Lok class taught in Cantonese and Mandarin by Instructor Insio Che. She is learning many new skills using watercolor, color pencils, pen, and pencil.

She says of the class, “During pandemic this class really support me spending my time on learning a new task. I don’t feel bored staying at home. The class also train me focusing on a subject matter. Time passed very fast when I was focusing on painting. This class improved my concentration, provided me a calm and tranquil mood.”

Rose Haw
“Flower in the Vase”
 
Sandy Fong
“Flower n Moon”

Born in 1946 in Canton province of China, Sandy was the oldest in a big family. When she was five, her family moved to Hong Kong, where she took care of her siblings while both of her parents worked. It left no time for relaxing or art. She later worked for a while making wigs, including one from her own hair. Sandy came to the U.S. in 1969 and has three children–two daughters and a son–as well as a seven-year old granddaughter. Her happiest moment in life was the birth of her children and grandchild. She also was able in the late ’80s to take her children back to Hong Kong and China, to experience the land of her ancestors. She’s pleased that they came away with a real appreciation of the culture and speak fluent Chinese. Her family, including her granddaughter, appreciates and encourages Sandy’s new interest in art, something she never thought she would be doing. Her main medium is water color and this is her first time painting a lotus. Her teacher Insio points out that all Sandy’s art has the feel of a Chinese brush painting, with its harmonizing colors. Her art, she says, reflects her calm personality. 

Yi Jiang
“Butterfly”

I started to learn painting at the end of December 2020. Art class is very help me overcome my anxiety, I feel good when I forgot everything to drawing picture, and I am happy and lucky for showing my picture. Although I start art classes lately. but I will try my best to paint and learn from teacher.

Zhen Yu Gong
“Tropical Fish”

I participated in the AWE drawing course around October 2020. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Activity Team has arranged for everyone, an online senior art course- -Color Water Painting, taught and guided by the teacher. We started to learn watercolor painting from scratch (start at 0).

In December of the same year, and also  took part in the Cantonese art classes. Due to old age and multiple body parts disease, numbness of the arms has brought many difficulties to learning painting, and it takes a long time to complete a painting. After completing each painting, I still have a sense of accomplishment, and I feel that learning watercolor painting also adds color to my life. I continue to encourage myself to work hard and persevere. Thank you, teacher! Thanks  Activity Team! 

On Lok Peralta Instructor Dmitry Grudsky
Usha Bhatnagar
“Serenity”

Ms. Bhatnagar was born and raised in New Delhi, India, where she later became a Trained Graduate Teacher and taught middle school children for 26 years. Usha found teaching to be a very rewarding career, and art was always one of her favorite subjects to teach. Usha and her husband moved the family to the US in 1999 with one goal: to help ensure their children achieve their higher education goals. Usha has taken great pride in supporting her family, and says that the happiest moments of her life have been to bear witness to her children’s success – her son earned his PhD in Mathematics and her daughter received Master’s degrees in both Economics and Education. Now a grandmother of three, Usha is thrilled to participate in the weekly Art with Elders at On Lok in Fremont. Her advice to the world is, “Look after your health, because health is your real wealth! Eat right and exercise every day!”

Irene IrishH Higgins
“Portrait, Masked Woman

All her friends call her IrishH and she’s led an interesting life. A multi-talented performer, she led a blues band (Spoonful of Blues) in San Francisco, composing some of the songs, playing bass and singing lead. She has worked with a small local theater group (Ninjaz of Drama) behind the scenes and in performance. With a Mission district crew (A Waking Dream), she constructed fantastical costuming and participated in the local Carnival and Pride parades, as well as Unity celebrations. Always a bit of a nerd growing up, IrishH studied Spanish in high school, adding German studies and some French courses in college, and later Russian. IrishH used her academic skills to empower learners in Academic Support programs at City College of San Francisco and After School Programs at Visitacion Valley Middle School. IrishH has been trying to deal with injury issues which have dogged her for years. Though she’s had to undergo surgery in 2015 and 2017 with another coming up probably next year, she is working on healing what she can through Physical therapy, Aquatic Physical Therapy and Pilates. She came to On Lok through a CCSF Older Adult Program art class and continues along the creative path here experimenting with water colors, acrylics and gouache paints as well as at the San Francisco Senior Center working with oil paints and ceramics.

Indira Pai
“Soft Landscape”

Being devoted to classical Indian music and English literature, I have always considered myself quite artistic.  Yet, even in my wildest dreams I haven’t thought of entering the paths of Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gough. Thanks to On Lok and Dimitri I learnt to use my brush and dabble with paint! 

Yi Jiang
“Lighthouse”

I started to learn painting at the end of December 2020. Art class is very help me overcome my anxiety, I feel good when I forgot everything to drawing picture, and I am happy and lucky for showing my picture. Although I start art classes lately. but I will try my best to paint and learn from teacher.

Zhan-Cheng (Susan) Shen
“Red Barn”
 
Zhen Yu Gong
“Lotus Flower”

I participated in the AWE drawing course around October 2020. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Activity Team has arranged for everyone, an online senior art course- -Color Water Painting, taught and guided by the teacher. We started to learn watercolor painting from scratch (start at 0).

In December of the same year, and also  took part in the Cantonese art classes. Due to old age and multiple body parts disease, numbness of the arms has brought many difficulties to learning painting, and it takes a long time to complete a painting. After completing each painting, I still have a sense of accomplishment, and I feel that learning watercolor painting also adds color to my life. I continue to encourage myself to work hard and persevere. Thank you, teacher! Thanks  Activity Team! 

Open Studio Monday Instructor Darcie O’Brien
John Collister
“Japanese Snowfall”

Covid-19 has no side effects or symptoms that are desirable, sought after, or pleasant. To my delight because of the stay at home mentality I decided to participate in the AWE on-line class. Surprisingly, I am enjoying the experience. Previously some years ago, I had taken a day long watercolor class wherein I had failed drawing distance stick figure people. I give to Darcie for her guidance a thankful virtual hug.

Shirley Keller
“Carla in Color”

Spirit Hill Meditation Garden and Art Studio, in Three Rivers, is Keller’s favorite place to be, letting the creative energies have the day. Keller plays with clay, focusing on ceramic masks. Repurposed items like hubcaps, skill saws, horseshoes, and more, are made into art pieces with dots of acrylic. Mixing words and art is her latest exploration on canvas and hubcaps. Gift Cards Keller designs from her photography. Keller’s art work grew out of her love of writing, which she does every morning. Coordinator for 1st Saturday in Three Rivers, a monthly art event.

Published in two books: But What About The Children? Diversity is Life: A Memoir, 2019, by Shirley A. Blair Keller  Amazon in paperback and Kindle; Tulare-Kings Writers Present Tales From The Strip Mall, An Anthology of Short Stories available on Amazon. Edited by Judith Bixby Boling, 2020.

Elliot Kushner
“Japanese Fields”

Why art? Magic, feel good. Tell stories. Mom gave me a pad of paper, pencil and crayons. I scribbled for hours. Original nations Chief, full headdress. Not PC, but still turns up the corners of my mouth. The best present. My uncle made a squiggle into a silly face. I used up those pads so fast. Art was my favorite subject in school.  Always took art classes when offered. Praise. I’m a fat kid. Meant a lot to get that approval. Nothing has changed. Came college, can’t eat as an artist.  And fear, I wasn’t good enough.   Did I say I really like to eat?  I worked hard, did well.  Law school.  Practiced law for 47 years. A living, not a passion. Never stopped drawing.  All over my notes, my files, at meetings, even trials. Never for presentation and no sense of public communication or process. Right brain at recess, left brain doing heavy lifting. AWE presented opportunity. Used car to explore my life now, old. Aches, pains with significant illnesses. Don’t feel old. I sit down to paint. It’s happening. On an incredible first date with that someone. I am hitting the winning home run (never happened). Seeing my mother’s smile handing her my drawing. We all receive the gift of making art. We hold out our moments. Revisit and relive or invent new ones. Perhaps we briefly appreciate creation itself and our creator. How does art feel? A bowl of pastry, warm, sugary.  Tastes good, it is happy, we all are happy. Old boat, sand bar beached, dreaming of glory days. Rusty wreck, bow held high. You too. Sounds silly, real magic. AWE, a happy accident. I wanted art. COVID made studying art difficult and dangerous. My wife’s friend, Carol, told us about AWE online. I attended a session from the San Fernando Valley. I met nice folks. Just wonderful. I am me. Thanks Mei Mei, Darcie, Carol and Jane.

Richard Newman
“Socially Distanced”

I am a semi-retired administrative law judge living and working in San Francisco.  In addition to my legal career, I have had a lifelong passion for learning about and creating art.  I began sketching and cartooning when I was very young, and in later years I became more interested in painting.  I haven’t had much formal training, but a few classes over the years have helped hone my skills. I am inspired by artists whose work  contains  a hint of mystery or ambiguity, such as Paul Klee, August Macke,  Richard Diebenkorn and Edward Hopper.  I especially like works, including many by Hopper, that depict a certain  narrative with respect to the figures or settings depicted. There is a sense in these works  that something significant has just happened or is about to happen, and I try to incorporate this sense of tension in my own work.  I often start from photos or  copies of paintings by other artists, but my imagination eventually takes over and– this is the intriguing part of the process for me–I’m never sure  what will ultimately emerge. 

Dolores Smiller
“Winter”

Dolores Smiller of Pittsburgh, PA is a painter, photographer and mixed multi-media artist. She has been recognized in many art venues for her painting and glass blowing and was a recipient of a national award for outstanding photography from Eastman Kodak. She volunteered her time for years as the team photographer and reporter for her daughter’s swim teams and photographed and provided various artistic designs for many events for the Carnegie Mellon University Mechanical and Chemical Engineering Departments. Her local library hosted two art shows in recent years featuring just her work and she has been sought out and commissioned to create paintings and drawings for individuals. Recently, she donated architectural drawings of stained glass windows for a local historic group fundraiser. While not a professional artist, Dolores has pursued the study of art her whole life completing many courses mostly through the Design and Painting and Sculpture Departments of Carnegie Mellon University School of Fine Arts. Watercolor study is her most recent passion and she takes a class locally in the Pittsburgh area. She is extremely appreciative to have the opportunity to join the online AWE program classes, in addition. According to Dolores, “The COVID restrictions on any type of gatherings (art classes) paralyzed my creative soul. It caused me to not create any artwork for more than a year. My heartfelt thanks to AWE for restarting me!” 

Paula Tschida
“Cherry Blossoms”

Paula Tschida is a retired educator who joined our class in 2020.  Paula is enjoying the opportunity to learn new skills in painting and drawing and to develop her creativity through art.  Meeting and learning from Darcie and all the students in the art class have been gratifying experiences for Paula.  She appreciates the positive and encouraging spirit in the class.  Paula enjoys visiting museums and other sites so that she can see the originals of her favorite works of art.

Nadine Whittaker
“Blue Flowers”

I was born in New York, but my family moved to San Diego when I was 3 years old. Later, I attended UCSD and then worked as chemist. In 1975, I obtained position as chemist in Sunnyvale, CA. In 1976, I was working full time and decided to go to SJSU part time in hopes of a masters degree. I met my former husband there. We married on 5/8/1977–Mother’s Day. My first daughter, Leilah, was born 7/12/1978. My second daughter, Almira, was born 10/27/1979. My 3rd daughter, Summer, was born 10/16/1988. When my husband and I divorced, I moved back into the 1st of 3 houses we owned in San Jose, which is now my home. My daughter Summer has always been interested in art. She worked for several years at the Whitney Museum in NYC. While at the Whitney, she took several classes in ceramics and a had a website where she sold some of her work. She now works at the Pratt Institute In Brooklyn, NY. I started taking an art history class and a studio art class about a year ago on Zoom from the Greenwich House Senior Center in NYC. They have many classes, one just has to remember the 3 hour time difference. Then I heard about the Art With Elders classes and joined their Online Open Studios with Darcie and Mei Mei. I find art relaxing. I also take classical piano lessons and spend at least one hour a day practicing.

Open Studio Tuesday Instructor Mei Mei Everson
Elliot Kushner
“Voyage of Exploration”

Why art? Magic, feel good. Tell stories. Mom gave me a pad of paper, pencil and crayons. I scribbled for hours. Original nations Chief, full headdress. Not PC, but still turns up the corners of my mouth. The best present. My uncle made a squiggle into a silly face. I used up those pads so fast. Art was my favorite subject in school. Always took art classes when offered. Praise. I’m a fat kid. Meant a lot to get that approval. Nothing has changed. Came college, can’t eat as an artist. And fear, I wasn’t good enough. Did I say I really like to eat? I worked hard, did well.  Law school. Practiced law for 47 years. A living, not a passion. Never stopped drawing. All over my notes, my files, at meetings, even trials. Never for presentation and no sense of public communication or process. Right brain at recess, left brain doing heavy lifting. AWE presented opportunity. Used car to explore my life now, old. Aches, pains with significant illnesses. Don’t feel old. I sit down to paint. It’s happening. On an incredible first date with that someone. I am hitting the winning home run (never happened). Seeing my mother’s smile handing her my drawing. We all receive the gift of making art. We hold out our moments. Revisit and relive or invent new ones. Perhaps we briefly appreciate creation itself and our creator. How does art feel? A bowl of pastry, warm, sugary.  Tastes good, it is happy, we all are happy. Old boat, sand bar beached, dreaming of glory days. Rusty wreck, bow held high. You too. Sounds silly, real magic. AWE, a happy accident. I wanted art. COVID made studying art difficult and dangerous. My wife’s friend, Carol, told us about AWE online. I attended a session from the San Fernando Valley. I met nice folks. Just wonderful. I am me. Thanks Mei Mei, Darcie, Carol and Jane.
Jerry Lash
“Bird Study”
 
Margaret Bacon
“Lama”

I came to Art with Elders as a writer. Brent H. Nettle, Kathy Barrows, and Darcie O’Brien connected me with artists in the program to write their bios for exhibits and two books. I always came away inspired, especially by the artists who were new to drawing and painting.

During the pandemic when classes went online Darcie invited me to join. I was a bit intimidated but Darcie and Mei Mei, as well as the other students, were (and still are) so supportive and encouraging that I felt my creativity soar. While I still consider myself more of a writer than an artist, I’ve fallen in love with watercolors and many days I’d rather paint than write!

Nadine Whittaker
“Tiger Face”

I was born in New York, but my family moved to San Diego when I was 3 years old. Later, I attended UCSD and then worked as chemist. In 1975, I obtained position as chemist in Sunnyvale, CA. In 1976, I was working full time and decided to go to SJSU part time in hopes of a masters degree. I met my former husband there. We married on 5/8/1977–Mother’s Day. My first daughter, Leilah, was born 7/12/1978. My second daughter, Almira, was born 10/27/1979. My 3rd daughter, Summer, was born 10/16/1988. When my husband and I divorced, I moved back into the 1st of 3 houses we owned in San Jose, which is now my home. My daughter Summer has always been interested in art. She worked for several years at the Whitney Museum in NYC. While at the Whitney, she took several classes in ceramics and a had a website where she sold some of her work. She now works at the Pratt Institute In Brooklyn, NY. I started taking an art history class and a studio art class about a year ago on Zoom from the Greenwich House Senior Center in NYC. They have many classes, one just has to remember the 3 hour time difference. Then I heard about the Art With Elders classes and joined their Online Open Studios with Darcie and Mei Mei. I find art relaxing. I also take classical piano lessons and spend at least one hour a day practicing.

Wendy Weiner
“Untitled”
 
Openhouse Instructor Hugh Leeman
Kered Whitcraft
“Spanish Master Okuda”

This is perfect for this moment 

Every art piece reveals another part of me that is now falling into place. Had a dream last night of Tetris game made out of wall-size colored blocks. I need it to sort the blocks into a certain pattern and then everything “fell into place“

Just to clarify I am not transgender. I am not trying to change the gender I was assigned to at birth. I just wish to determine what that gender is to me. I may look “male” but that is only because of years trying to hide what I truly was because I was afraid of other peoples’ reactions. Openhouse has been teaching me to be free in this aspect, “gender non-conformist“ is what they are now stating my category to be 🙂

All change now as every morning when I wake up my head is filled with dreams that need to be expressed. I spend hours manifesting. I am correct, when the student is ready a teacher will present themselves

now that I need it more than ever before the gift of art has been released inside of me 

The Reutlinger Community Instructor Betty Rothaus
Sumer Aggaral
“Lakeside”

I was born in my grandparents’ village of Bilaspur, India, one of five children. My father was an elementary school teacher who was transferred every 2-3 years; so , we all moved village to village that were 10-20 miles apart. My High School was in the District Headquarters of Ambala City, followed by College Studies in Physics, Chemistry and Math and then in Engineering College in Agra;I then worked as a professor in a greatly reputed Institute. In 1970, my wife and 3 children and I moved to the USA and at Penn State I progressed from Lecturer to Professor, spending 15 years there and then, another 15 years at University of MA in Boston. Painting is an interesting engagement! This California lake is surrounded by people -walking,chatting, relaxing and picnicking.

Sidney Glickfeld
“Starlight, Starbright”

The heavenly body seen in this painting is part of our solarsystem! Since the beginning of human history and before, It has provided us with a form of starlight in our late afternoons.

“Starlight, Starbright”, is in primitive Yosemite, probably a thousand years ago. This was the home of Native Americans, who practiced conserving the land. They revered nature as holy. This is a practical approach-to(conserving)our place in the universe.

Misia Nudler
“Memory of My Lost Little Town

I grew up a happy child with wonderful parents and family; I still miss them dearly. Although I lived through the Holocaust, these memories are still with me and bring out the best in me. When I started school, I dreamed of being a teacher, which I greatly admired. My dear Mom always had faith in me and said, “Mishale, when you will grow up, I am sure you will be a good teacher.” But my destiny was different. After the war, I married a wonderful man in a DP camp; we came to the USA- to Oakland and had our family. We were so lucky to have family present; and we joined the TBA Synagogue and made many dear friends. As a free person, I devoted myself to doing outstanding volunteer work, showing that the best quality in a person is to be giving of yourself to others. My dream came true….I became a teacher…I was “teaching” about humanity.

Gaylee Rubin
“Cut Flowers”

“Cut Flowers” Its July, and there’s a dinner party tonight! These flowers will be the center piece on the table! The vase will be clear glass and the stems will be visible. The tablecloth is blue violet and the walls are pale peach. The menu is grilled steak, baked potato and a large crispy salad and lemon cake from Susie’s Pasteries. At the party will be the Rands and the Solomons and us!

Roslyn Tunis
“My Garden”

I began my career in art at age 9 painting doll faces and decorating doll hats for my dad’s business! As a preteen, I took myself to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for Art Classes and my first Museum experience! Museums became my passion.

Working as a Museum Curator for five decades allowed me to experience many artistic traditions including Ethnographic Art and Indigenous cultures. My own art work is a blend of it all- mythological, realistic and spiritual.

Christine Wasserbauer
“Orchid Party”

“I’ve been painting and talking since I was three! As the first grand-daughter and a 2nd generation American, I grew up in a large and creative Polish family who encouraged me as they restored a 100 year old house themselves. I watched my Mom paint, sew, sculpt, crochet and bake. My father studied journalism and writing( interrupted by WWII); he transmitted messages for Western Union, became a tool and die maker and used his hands for creative projects at home.

Rhoda Goldman Plaza Instructor Yvette Brown
Patty Farber
“Play on Monet”
 
Jack Herman
“Toba and Jack”
 
Toba Herman
“Summerscape”
 
Connie Manning
“Self Portrait”
 
The Sequoias Instructor Yvette Brown
Arnold Benetti
“Sunburst”

I started to do art work when I was a boy. If I found any blank paper lying around my house I had to draw on it.  Sometimes it drove my parents crazy! In Grammar school I tried painting like the French impressionists. In high school I had a great art teacher and was lucky enough to win several awards for my art and a scholarship at the California School of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. In college I majored in photography. After that for 30 years I became a metalsmith specializing in metal work in the style of the arts and crafts movement. 

Edward Bergh
“Fantasy Flower”

As a youngster I did some drawing and painting in school, but it wasn’t until I entered the school of architecture that I began art instruction in earnest. After graduation I worked as an architect and occasionally made up compositions of forms and colors using colored pencil, pastels or designer watercolors. 

I am learning to use acrylic and love to paint from my imagination. 

Joan Diblin
“Steph”
 
Joan Dillon
“Leo”
 
Richard Williams
“Red Ball”

Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Richard grew up in Wisconsin, went to Northwestern University, and performed in live theatre, mostly comedies and musicals, for twenty years. His favorite character was playing King Arthur in Camelot. 

But his true passion is ceramics. Richard returned to school for an MFA in ceramics and came to California planning to become a potter. He has worked in San Francisco’s Castro district for thirty years as one of the managers of a non-profit studio for ceramic artists – Ruby’s Clay Studio – where he has his studio.

Richard has been an avid participant in Art With Elders for many years, painting stunning landscapes of some of his favorite spots. Richard exhibits with AWE frequently, often choosing to donate his work. Richard has been in the “Artist Spotlight” of our newsletter and his recently sold work, Stony Cliff, was on the cover of our 24th Annual Show Program.

Richard, who describes himself as a generally positive person and a peacemaker, is excited about painting. “You’re never too old to discover new things,” he says and quips, “I doubt I’ll develop into Grandpa Moses, but I’m having a great time in my AWE class.”

SF Towers Instructor Yvette Brown
Judy Donahue
“Hannah in the Garden”

I am very grateful for being able to have the time to paint with Art With Elders. I never really had time before. I love coming together with fellow artists to focus on art and to share in the experience.

Stephen F.
“Distant Hills”
 
Joyce Lampert
“Country Hillside”

I started painting at 95 years old and had never painted or created art previously. After classes started coming back post Covid, I found myself wanting to fill the time. I really look forward to coming to class. This is a new beginning for me, taking art classes, and I haven’t missed a class yet!

Visitacion Valley
Family Center
Instructor Min Lee
Eva Chan
“Sunflowers”

 
Li Zhen Jenny Huang
“Bridge”

I am Li-Zhen H. I came from China. I use to work for Chinese business and part time work with advertise art. I have been immigrant to the U.S for 26 years. I have gotten my College Degree and I work for child for 14 years. I love painting and drawing since I was six.

Fanny Liu
“Blue Jay”

Learning to draw is my post-retirement plan. After two years of retirement, I will study drawing in a community school. For about a year or so, the community school will stop this course due to funding.
I did not continue to study. When the coronavirus broke out Later, the senior center has ART CLASS to study on Zoom, so I can continue to learn to draw. I am very happy. The drawing process brings me a lot of knowledge and fun. The more I learn, the more interested I feel. I like to draw. Chinese painting, watercolor painting, etc. Drawing brings me a fulfilling life.

Jun Ming Wong
“Husband and Wife”

I didn’t have the opportunity to learn to paint before!  Last year I was lucky 🈶️ the opportunity to follow Teacher Fuglee to study art courses! The teacher treats me who doesn’t have the basis of painting and the artistic cell! Patience and tireless teaching! I benefited a lot and increased the joy of drawing.  I like watercolor painting! I hope my painting style can express beautiful things!  Make people feel the beauty of the world! I love art and Mr. Lee’s excellent teaching spirit! I am 85 years old this year. Live and learn. Draw to sunset red!

Western Park Apts.
and Friends
Instructor Mei Mei Everson
Sarah Armstrong
“Walking Together on a Beautiful Day”

Sarah Armstrong is a trailblazer. Born in 1944 in Oil City, Pennsylvania, she graduated from Cornell with a liberal arts degree in government, intending to become a college teacher. Frustrated with the politics of higher education, she changed careers and worked in Human Resources for three different companies over a total of 39 years. She was a pioneer of benchmarking “best practices” at her first company, where she used this technique to develop the HR department. She says that life was challenging in those days for a woman who wanted a career in management. The high point of her career was working at ITT (formerly International Telephone & Telegraph), which was like “being paid for going to graduate school in business.” She was the first woman to become a department head there. She was then hired by Campbell Soup Company where she was in charge of executive and employee pay and benefits. She retired from Campbell in2006 after 20 years of service. Knowing that she loved Berkeley, she bought her house here several years before she retired. She plays classical piano and has recently taken up the cello. She enjoys spending time with her three children and three grandchildren. Her advice is to “know who you are and stand on your own two feet.”

Masha Beylin
“Friends Forever”

My name is Masha. I was born in Leningrad city, now St. Petersburg, in Russia. St. Petersburg is very beautiful city with great palaces, bridges, and art museums. I loved visiting the Hermitage, the world famous art museum. I spent hours enjoining pictures of Italian renaissance and French impressionism. All my life I dreamed to learn how to paint. Luckily, I became a student of Mei Mei, a very talented art teacher and great person. She makes my dream to paint a reality.

Alice Gibbons
“Yellow Finch”

“In the legendary neighborhood of Montparnasse, the most celebrated painters and the most secretive amateurs come to the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere to practice the timeless art of painting” – taken from the Academy’s historical sketch. After four years of study at the San Francisco Art Institute, majoring in printmaking, Alice Gibbons recalls fondly the spring of 1967 when she went to Paris to study at the Academy to improve her painting and drawing techniques. Artistic inclinations surfaced early in Alice’s life in her native San Francisco. And she has worked devotedly to achieve a high degree of competence – a devotion that has paid off handsomely in local, national and international exhibits of her prints, drawings and etchings. She is represented by galleries through the U.S. and abroad and her prints especially are in many private collections. Alice loves entertaining a concept, image or idea and then grappling with just how to communicate this idea through art. When she gets stuck doing this, that’s when she’ll return to the classroom to perfect her techniques. She’s determined to find a way to express herself. “I find I become quite peaceful in this process,” she notes, “it’s nutrition for the soul. I feel better physically, too.”

 

Yelena Khristich
“The Fox”

If you’re lucky, Yelena might sing you the Ukrainian folk song that is featured in this painting of her grandmother’s house where she spent her summers in the central Ukrainian town of Poltova. Born in Kiev in 1948, she lost her father at the age of thirteen, but went on to study in the Polytechnic University, where she met her husband. The couple raised a daughter, who inherited Yelena’s love of singing, and the family came to the U.S. in 1998. Yelena began doing art with AWE five years ago, but a broken wrist interrupted her art-making. Her teacher Rafael gave her a series of exercises to help her brain recover from the trauma and on that same day, she was able to write her name for the first time with her non-dominant hand. She likes to paint in what she calls “Ukrainian style,” once adapting the work of a Mexican artist that inspired her into her own native style. A creative person, she also enjoys sewing, embroidery, and knitting–a skill she uses to make blankets for babies in the neo-natal unit. As for the lessons she’s learned: “Immigration is very hard, but if you like music and art it always helps you to recover and adjust. The deeper you go into a new culture, the better.”
Chieko Lafferty
The Squirrel”

The ebullient Chieko Lafferty, born in Kyoto, Japan, worked as an accountant. However, here dreams always led to art. After an apprenticeship, she began designing Western-style fabric patterns. Ten years later, she decided to visit the United States before settling down, but in San Francisco she met Jack, a dashing Scot, to whom she has now been married 36 years.Chieko takes fine arts classes while continuing to work as a bookkeeper. She loves to draw, and enjoys painting still lifes, but her favorite is figure drawing. She regularly returns to the classics to check her technique. “If you can draw a circle, cylinder, box, you can draw,” Chieko explains. “The basics are so important. Sometimes it’s boring –another white bowl! But then you can go anywhere. ”Chieko enjoys reading in Japanese and murder mysteries in English, cooking all cuisines, listening to classical music, and taking walks. More than anything else, she is constantly exploring, seeking to develop her style. “There are rules, but rules are for breaking,” she laughs. “I love that!” For example, she will refigure classical compositions with a cubist technique and use origami paper for collage. “If I paint something and everyone says, ‘That’s Chieko’, that is what I want.”

Courageous Creativity
AWE Celebrates Black History
February 23, 2022 – December 31, 2022

Art With Elders Celebrates Black History with this special exhibit honoring African American Artists. The exhibit spotlights the creativity of African American artists within the AWE program. Laguna Honda Hospital artists are featured along with participants from several other San Francisco Bay Area communities.

Work from the exhibit by Laguna Honda residents is also on display on the first floor at Laguna Honda Hospital, but public access to Laguna Honda remains restricted due to precautions related to COVID-19.



Walter Jordan III
“Mother”
Laguna Honda Hospital

“This old body ain’t down yet,” Walter declares. Diagnosed with hydrocephalus in his youth, after fifteen surgeries and many health challenges he asserts that he is “on a journey to keep going no matter what. I’m not giving up now.” Born in Many, Louisiana, Walter came to the Bay Area as a young child, attended both City College and San Francisco State University and received a business degree. He credits his mother, an important inspiration and voice in his life, with instilling in him a strong sense of determination. Walter was employed by the Hydrocephalus Foundation for ten years, worked as a teacher’s aide in sign language and ran a catering service at San Francisco City College. He’s particularly pleased with his Cajun catfish jambalaya and German chocolate cake. Walter plays piano, speaks conversational Tagalog, Cantonese and Mandarin, and loves to sing.He is “flattered and flabbergasted” by the attention he receives for his artwork. Walter enjoys the AWE classes and believes they have a positive impact on his goal of getting well.

Geraldine “MamaG” McGowan
“Self Portrait”
Laguna Honda Hospital

“Mama G,” as Geraldine is known around Laguna Honda Hospital, greets everyone with a wide smile and they all smile back. Born in Texas in 1942, she admits being spoiled by her brother and sister as the baby. Her father owned a large farm and she grew up feeding the fifty goats and caring for the vegetable garden and fruit trees. The family also raised chickens and hogs, sharing the “mess of meat” with their neighbors after butchering the hogs.

Mama G graduated from high school in 1959 and stayed on the farm plowing, hoeing, cutting trees and working on cars. In 1962, she came to California to visit her mother and ended up staying, supporting herself by babysitting and later cleaning the Officer’s Quarters in The Presidio. In later years, she studied at City College and became a library technician. During her eight years working at the San Francisco Main Library, Mama G loved meeting and helping out the patrons. She has a daughter and son, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

She paints, sculpts and creates ceramics and has begun painting a series of Mexican masks.

Carl Stokes
“Monet’s Garden”
Laguna Honda Hospital

Carl has always identified himself as an artist.  “I’m an artist!” he would say when meeting new people.  He is interested in all expressions of creativity and his taste in the visual arts has always been eclectic. In the last 20 years, however, he has focused primarily on painting.  

Carl suffered a stroke in March, 2019 and moved to Laguna Honda in June of that year. Although he can no longer speak, he is able to communicate his wishes and thoughts using an I-Pad “talk” program.  His friends and care givers know how important painting is to him. He is very excited to participate in the AWE program at Laguna Honda.

Orin Solace
“To Kill the Truth”
Laguna Honda Hospital

“I know when the picture is wrong, and at the same time, I know when it’s right,” says this high-energy, intellectual abstract thinker with a great sense of humor. Describing his artistic process, Orin says, “Once it’s done, I do it again. The fifth time, it’s right.” 

He remembers fondly summer vacations at his grandmother’s house in Ojai.  He majored in aviation studies at San Jose State, where he was an avid rugby player, but never achieved his dream of becoming a pilot. He also once worked as a counselor in a group home.

Orin loves to dance, especially in raves, and even still does some mean John Travolta dance moves from Grease in his wheelchair. He enjoys reading, citing Orwell’s Animal Farm as one of his favorite books.

Orin, whose favorite artist is Salvador Dali, especially likes the fact that there is no pressure in his AWE classes. He’s come to learn from his art teacher the importance of focus. His room is covered from wall to wall with his word and picture art, but he admits that a “picture is worth a thousand words.” 

Shirley Middleton
“The First Couple”
Laguna Honda Hospital
 
Ricky Allen
“Nutz”
Laguna Honda Hospital

“Art inspires me…like a passion.” Rickie has been doing art on and off for over ten years. “Art would be my first love,” he says. He watches art programs on TV and does art in his room. “It’s a coping mechanism and I always want to improve.” He is currently taking the CCSF painting and ceramic classes offered weekly at Laguna Honda. He likes to depict animals in both his paintings and his ceramics.  He also wants to do landscapes and abstract pastels.

Rickie is one of thirteen brothers and sisters, only 4 of whom survived to adulthood. He has a long work history that includes working in hospitals, and doing janitorial, landscape, painter and plumbing jobs. He also liked to work with kids.

He is still very active. In addition to his art, he works in the Laguna Honda gift shop and general store as part of his vocational rehab program. He has also participated in the gardening program and the Resident Council.

Cassandra Watts
“Untitled”
Laguna Honda Hospital
A native San Franciscan, Cassandra lived in various neighborhoods when growing up and says one consistent element of her childhood was that the names of presidents followed her throughout her schooling. She attended Andrew Jackson and Jefferson Elementary Schools, Roosevelt Middle School, and Washington and Lincoln High Schools.After completing her education, Cassandra worked for a variety of organizations and companies including the San Francisco Unified School District, Bank of America, and Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays–a job she particularly enjoyed. It allowed her to travel extensively in Hawaii, where she explored the islands and spent time on the beach with friends. Family, friends, and creating art have always been central to her life. Her ideas for art just come to her, Cassandra says. They enter her thoughts and take over. She uses a variety of mediums, including drawing, charcoal and painting. She also enjoys working with colors and has a special interest in faces, which inspired her several years back to complete a portrait of Reverend Jesse Jackson. Cassandra credits art with helping to improve her mood and says that sitting at her easel always makes her feel better.

Mary Fleming
“London Breed,” “Barak Obama,” “Dancer”
Dr. George B. Davis Senior Center

I have been taking the AWE class since 2019 with Virginia Jourdan. We would meet on Mondays at the Davis Senior Center, but now I’m taking virtual classes since Covid19 began.
I look forward to taking the class. I enjoy learning about mixing colors, drawing animals, 1 and 2 perspective. Perspective drawing is my favorite even though it’s complicated. My favorite medium is watercolors. My favorite class project was painting the waves in the ocean.
A couple of things I would say about me is that I believe in the trinity and will continue loving others.

Shirley Swift
” Blue Jay and Berries”
Dr. George B. Davis Senior Center

I have been taking the AWE class for since 2019 with Virginia Jourdan. I moved to Illinois to be closer to my family, so I participate in the virtual classes and enjoy seeing old friends and painting. In this class, I have learned about a lot of things, can’t remember all, but I’m drawing some different things then I usually draw. I learned to draw a cat, buildings and still life objects.

My favorite medium is watercolor. It is so much fun. Some other things I enjoy are music, theater, musicals and love drawing people.

Classie Kendrick
“Birch Tree”
Dr. George B. Davis Senior Center
I have been taking the AWE class since they started the virtual lessons in September 2020.

Some things I enjoy about the class is that it is relaxing. I am also learning something I never knew I could do. In this class, I have learned how to draw, paint with watercolors and mix different colors. I discovered that if I don’t have the color, I can make my own color by mixing colors together. My favorite medium is pencils and water colors. My favorite project was the rose I drew. I would like people to know that I am proud that I have the energy and health to keep doing what I’m doing. At my age I’m on my feet doing something all the time, I am steady moving.

Irene “IrishH” Higgins
“Our Voices,” “The Swing,” “The Artist’s Mind”
On Lok Gee Center

All her friends call her IrishH and she’s led an interesting life. A multi-talented performer, she led a blues band (Spoonful of Blues) in San Francisco, composing some of the songs, playing bass and singing lead. She has worked with a small local theater group (Ninjaz of Drama) behind the scenes and in performance. With a Mission district crew (A Waking Dream), she constructed fantastical costuming and participated in the local Carnival and Pride parades, as well as Unity celebrations.

 Always a bit of a nerd growing up, IrishH studied Spanish in high school, adding German studies and some French courses in college, and later Russian. IrishH used her academic skills to empower learners in Academic Support programs at City College of San Francisco and After School Programs at Visitacion Valley Middle School.

IrishH has been trying to deal with injury issues which have dogged her for years. Though she’s had to undergo surgery in 2015 and 2017 with another coming up probably next year, she is working on healing what she can through Physical therapy, Aquatic Physical Therapy and Pilates.

She came to On Lok through a CCSF Older Adult Program art class and continues along the creative path here experimenting with water colors, acrylics and gouache paints as well as at the San Francisco Senior Center working with oil paints and ceramics.

S. Renee Jones
“Soul Traveler”
SF Senior Center

Renee was raised by a single-parent father in the Mission District of San Francisco. She had nine sisters and brothers. Her father also helped raise other children as well. She says at one point there were 18 children living under one roof.  Her father was named “Father of the Year” three times by the SF Examiner. He taught her to be the person she is today: responsible, caring and hard working.

There was always art in her house growing up. One day her father brought home a large white rug from a home he was helping to tear down. He spread the rug out on the sidewalk and gave all the kids colored markers and allowed them to draw whatever they wanted on the rug. That made the kids feel special!

He also brought home old cameras, which started Renee’s interest in photography. Today she runs an art gallery (6th on 7th Gallery), and teaches photo workshops for “adults living in poverty” and military veterans.

“There are not enough positive images of people of color,” she says, “And my goal is to put those images out in every medium.”

Willie Shipman
“Declaration of Independence”
Aspen Healthcare Pacific Heights

Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, Willie Shipman was athletic and loved playing sports – as a center fielder in baseball, a guard in basketball, and football too.  In high school he started doing art, including drawing and painting. Willie likes using brushes, and prefers realistic art.

These days, he is a regular in the Art With Elders weekly class, where he experiments with making collages on cloth.  He carefully arranges and glues small rectangular and square pieces of felt into a colorful pattern.  He prefers darker colors, especially blue and green.  “Making art keeps me calm,” he shares.

Born May 27, 1944, as a young man Willie served in the U.S. Air Force in Oakland and San Francisco.  Remembering how he liked the northern California climate, he moved to the Bay Area in 1962, living in Oakland for a while and then on Jones Street in SF.  He worked as a longshoreman on the docks, and also did masonry work laying brick and concrete.

Easygoing and thoughtful, Willie enjoys reading the newspaper and nonfiction books about history.  He plays cards and Bingo, and always shows up for events with live music.  He is a music lover who used to sing at church, in school, and in the service.  “I like all kinds of music, like jazz.  Gospel’s all right.  But not rock.”

Leleticia Mapp
“Heart”
Excel Healthcare

Born in 1965 and raised in Oakland, CA., Leleticia’s life has been a challenging one, she went to several different elementary and middle schools and later worked on the street selling her body to make a living. Leleticia began having trouble with her vision at the age of 23, when she consulted her doctor they discovered a tumor on her optical nerve. Shortly after, she had a stroke and was in a wheel chair.

When she discovered Christianity, she turned her life around. She went to Laney and Merritt College, where she took a braille class, got a job at Royal Airways as a receptionist and has three beautiful children and a grandchild. “I love to color, but I love going to church more than anything.”

When in class, she has the instructor tape down her paper so that she can keep track of where she is working. Her preferred medium is crayons, she feels the texture of the paper and where she has already colored. Leleticia says, “I love bright colors, they give me a relaxed feeling.” She asks her instructor which colors are which of the crayons and sets them aside to use individually. “I have to ask which color is which because one time I put pepper in my coffee instead of sugar, so I want to be sure of what I choose.”

Evelyn Washington
“To the Smokehouse”
Central Gardens

Evelyn Washington was born on a Louisiana farm in 1928. Her father was the son of a slave. “That’s where the name ‘Washington’ comes from,” she says. “My father’s father was brought over on a boat with no clothes.” As a child, she played in the fields and made her own toys. Recalling a pet pig who protected her from snakes, she laughs heartily. “You have to have strange pets when you live in the country!” She attended school until third grade, leaving to do housework at $4.50 a day.

Evelyn’s 21 year old brother was seriously wounded in combat in World War II. As he was being evacuated from the war zone aboard the USS Drexler, the destroyer was attacked by kamikazes on May 28, 1945, and he perished. She actually made a picture of it in art class. “I’ve never seen the ship in my life, I just thought about it and that’s how I painted it,” she explains.

After a stroke, Evelyn moved to San Francisco to be with her two children and four grandchildren. She is extremely proud of how much they all have achieved. Evelyn’s advice for a productive life: “Do whatever you can now. If you want to do it, do it, because if you never try, you’ll never learn.”

Velma Clay
“Brother in the Service”
Excel Healthcare

Velma was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1926 into a family of seven girls and four boys. She had a very special relationship with her twin sister. Her happiest childhood memories centered around the holidays, when everyone in the family gathered together.

After graduating from high school, Velma attended cooking school. It was there that she found her passion and her career. When she moved to California in 1947, she found a job cooking in the cafeteria of Capwell, Sullivan and Furth, the well-known San Francisco department store. There, her specialty became peach cobbler. She also enjoyed singing as a soprano in the choir of the Second Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Velma was married to her second husband, Matthew, for fifty years and is the proud mother of two children. Though her baking days are over, she’s discovered weekly bingo games at Excell, where she plays three cards at a time! Looking back at her life she says, “I tried, even if I didn’t always succeed.”

Percy Osibin
“Getting Cuts
That Don’t Hurt”

Excel Healthcare

Percy’s life has not been an easy one. Born in Fresno in 1945, when he was four his family moved to Oakland, where he, his brother and sister were placed in foster care for eight years–a time in his life with only bitter memories. At fifteen he was expelled from high school, became a heroin addict, and ended up in prison for bank robbery. 

It was there, in prison, that his life finally changed for the better. After earning a high school diploma and a BA in Psychology/Sociology, he began writing plays. “Black Montage,” his piece about people striving to rid their community of drugs, was performed in prison.

Upon his release, Percy received a grant to bring “Black Montage,” with the Black Light Project, to the community in the late 1970s. He later became a community organizer, working on the campaign to protect the Oakland community from lead-based paint.

He is proud of his son and daughter and of his art, which lines the walls of his room. It’s in his art, he says, that he finds spirituality. At last, he says, “I’ve learned to find the balance, work for a peaceful outcome, and look for justice and truth.”  

Cynthia Knight
“Red and Black Party”
Excel Healthcare

This native of Oakland, born in 1962, has had her share of tragedies in life. Her 25-year old son was a homicide victim, and she suffered a lengthy life-threatening coma in mid-life that doctors thought she would never survive. Yet it was her illness, she says, that taught her everything—patience and understanding, how to re-group myself.

“When Cynthia awoke from her coma, her hearing and vision were seriously impaired and doctors told her she’d never walk. She had to relearn how to how to use her contracted hands to write her name. She uses a special bridge for holding her paint brushes and pencils for art class.

Cynthia’s only previous experience with art was when she would draw pictures for the young children to paint in the day care center she ran out of her house. Now when she does art, she says she picks a subject that’s meaningful to her because she wants it to catch attention. She enjoys playing bingo and being outdoors, which isn’t very often.

“While I’m out waiting for Paratransit to go to the bank,” she says, “I enjoy the day—the people, the sights.”

Doris Backey
“Hand”
Lytton Gardens

Doris and her twin brother were born in 1932 in Georgia. She was the oldest by twenty minutes, and their mother, a housekeeper, later had another daughter. Her father was a sharecropper on a southern plantation.  When she was small, he had to flee the plantation due to an altercation with the owner. The family later joined him in Florida. 

Doris met and married her husband Romar when she was sixteen. He joined the Navy and was stationed in the Bay Area, where he later worked as a baker and she held a job as a food server in a Veterans Administration Hospital. 

The couple adopted and raised one of her sister’s sons, Reginald, and were married for 37 years until Romar’s death. She also worked in job placement at the California Employment Development Department until she retired.

Doris is an accomplished gospel singer and has been known to belt out “How Great Thou Art” on a bus to quiet down a group of young people. Her friend of twenty years, Judy, describes her as a loving and giving person, who is very spiritual. 

Ceola Beasley
“Traveling”
Aspen Healthcare
19th Avenue

Ceola’s colorful abstract painting, “Traveling,” refers to the way the watercolor paint traveled down the paper when she lifted it up and moved it around.

A native of Louisiana, she moved to San Francisco in 1944.  She raised “eight or nine kids” and has “quite a heap” of grandkids.  She is in her early 90s.

Her family visits her almost every day, and at Tuesday’s art class she gets them to help her paint.  Instructor Virginia Jourdan observes, “If you give her a brush and paint, she gets really relaxed and into the painting, meditating on the colors.”

In addition to making art, she plays Bingo, goes on lunch outings to Applebee’s (she loves pancakes), and attends Bible study.  She enjoys music and used to sing at church, when she “was stronger.”

Ceola likes to wear beautiful bracelets, rings, and earrings, which sparkle like her smile.

Corean Johnson
“Water Reflection”
Redwood Healthcare

Corean was born in Louisiana and grew up in Texas. She’s the youngest in a large family with four brothers and six sisters. At the age of 40 she boarded a bus with her sister and moved to Oakland, CA. where she’s made her home ever since. She and her sister bought a house on 64th Avenue where she raised her four children. She studied Dietetics at California State University and worked at UC Hospital.

Corean recently started painting and paints whatever inspires her at the moment. When she first starts a new piece she says, “I always think, what am I doing? But then, I usually feel good about what I’ve painted.”  

Troy Robinson
“Paris is Burning”
Redwood Healthcare

Troy was born in San Francisco and later moved to Oakland. After graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Oakland he attended San Francisco State University where he says jokingly, “I majored in partying.” Troy worked for many years and his last job was at Data Broadcasting Corporation in San Mateo.

An avid sports fan, Troy enjoys watching Warriors and Oakland A’s games. Troy also enjoys traveling and particularly enjoyed a trip to Colombia he took with a girl-friend in his younger years.

Troy describes himself as a carefree, easygoing, free spirit. He has been creating art throughout his life. “Making art me feel great,” he says. He paints whatever inspires him in the moment. 

Nancy Pittman
“Untitled”
Excel Healthcare

Nancy was born in 1938 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, the oldest in a family of three girls and one boy. Creative at an early age, she liked art, sang in plays and musicals, and learned to sew.

She attended nursing school and had one daughter, using her skills as a seamstress to sew all her daughter’s clothes. But at the age of twenty-four, Nancy’s life changed forever when she suffered an aneurism. After an extended hospital stay, her parents and siblings brought her home, helping her through a long period of rehabilitation. Never again able to frame words, she lived with her parents for many years.

Upon her parents’ death, Nancy moved to California in her late forties to be close to her daughter Rhonda.  She has four grandchildren, one of whom followed in her grandmother’s footsteps, attending Nancy’s former nursing school!

She still loves watching football and baseball, a legacy from her father, and her life is filled with painting, music, Bible study and good food (especially her favorite dessert of crème brûlée).  Her daughter describes her as strong, independent, self-reliant and a person who “walks to the beat of her own drum.” 

Canzanetta Lofton
“Circus”
Oakhill Springs

Canzanetta, known as Kansas, likes to recount how she received her unusual name. When she was born, her mother, undecided on what to name her, consulted another new mother across the room. The woman, a stranger, suggested the exotic name. But Canzanetta’s great grandmother, who lived to be 105, insisted on nicknaming her “Kansas,” since it was easier to pronounce.

Born in Sacramento, the first of three children, Canzanetta later moved with her family to Oakland. She has worked in an educational guidance center and various libraries stocking books, as well as at the Salvation Army and in convalescent homes.

Canzanetta has suffered from seizures and headaches most of her life, and was often bullied in school for not “talking right.” At the age of 18, with the help of Rev. Thomas Compton, she was fortunate to find a place where she could be herself—at the Berkeley Mt. Zion Baptist Church. 

She enjoys the slow music of radio station 102.9 and gospel music. And her AWE classes offer her an unexpected benefit: she never gets a headache when she’s working on her art.

Sheila Moore
“Moore II”
Excel Healthcare

Born in 1961 and raised Oakland, CA., Sheila attended McChesney Junior High and then Oakland High. Later on, she became a typist at Hine Laboratory and had two children. Throughout her life Sheila was very adventurous, her favorite thing growing up was motorcycles. She rode a four-wheeler around town. When she met her husband, they traveled the country together going as far as her husband was able to drive that day. They loved going on trips to different states and wanted to do so by motorcycle. A trip she recalls fondly is visiting her husband’s hometown in Oklahoma. Sheila’s dream is to travel to Egypt. 

Sheila began making artwork through Art With Elders. “My painting comes out of me wherever I am. I don’t know what is going to come out, it is sporadic and don’t know until I am there.” Art has become a form of self-expression for Sheila. Art making is an automatic gesture for her that happens naturally. “The teacher wants us to express and that is what happens. What comes out of me is what is in my background.” Sheila explains that when she is making art, her mind switches off and she just focuses on the art.

Jacqueline Cross
“Lonely Scene”
On Lok Peralta

Jackie likes cities. She was born in Philadelphia, the oldest of three girls, and moved to New York when she was seven. She later returned to Philadelphia, where she finished high school, and eventually moved again, this time to Atlantic City “to get away from home.”

She’s had an adventurous life. Married three times, Jackie is a mother of three daughters and three sons. She worked a number of jobs to help support her family, including as a cashier, waitress, and short-order cook.

Fifteen years ago she ventured out again, this time moving to California by herself at the age of 55. Jackie first lived in West Oakland and then three years ago came to the Cottonwood Apartments in Fremont, located right next to the On Lok Center.

It’s there that she started her newest adventure: taking up brushes and painting twice a week. Her favorite medium is watercolor and Jackie, whose mother is still going strong at 88, looks forward to many years of creating art.

 

AWE at San Francisco Women Artists Gallery
Celebrating our women artists!

San Francisco Women Artists Gallery
647 Irving Street at 8th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122
10:30 – 5:30 Tuesday – Saturday

Tues. Jan. 11 – Fri. Mar. 4, 2022
Opening Reception – Sat. Jan. 15, 2022 2-4pm

Featuring women of AWE and their work:
Hamida Asif – “Blue Cliffs” – On Lok Peralta
Victoria Chan – “Falls” – Cypress Golden Gate
Yu Chen – “Plein Air” – Oak Center Towers
Irene IrishH Higgins – “Crane by the Shore” – On Lok Gee Center
Yelena Khristich – “Open Mind“ – Western Park Apartments
Gretchen Klug – “Home” – Raksha Care Home
Chieko Lafferty – “DeKooning Woman” – Western Park Apartments
Gloria Learned – “Bluebird” – Heritage on the Marina
Leleticia Mapp – “Hearts” – Excell Healthcare
Ida Marksman – “Bathers” – Laguna Honda Hospital
Bess Meek – “Mystifying Walk in Central Park” – The Reutlinger Community
Nina Ng – “Messy” – Aspen Transitional Healthcare Pacific Heights
Teresa Picirillo – “Warrior Woman with Bear” – Laguna Honda Hospital
Vanita Shah – “Log House” – On Lok Peralta
Lotchanna Sourivong – “Colorfield Blue & Gray” – Laguna Honda Hospital
Maria Gladys Trujillo – “See Food” – UCSF Memory and Aging Center

Hamida Asif
“Blue Cliffs”
On Lok Peralta

 

Hamida describes herself as a happy person. “I have everything I desire and I thank God for my health and my children,” she says.

She was born in 1939 in Karachi, Pakistan, where she grew up with her six sisters and two brothers, many of whom are now scattered around the world. She and her husband, an engineer, had five children. Upon her husband’s retirement, her children called and begged them to live with them in Fremont. They immigrated to the U.S. about 15 years ago and now have 13 grandchildren.

Hamida likes to watch television and enjoys doing needlework. She used to do a lot of the cooking, but now she says that’s limited mainly to holidays. Her family still loves her delicious biryani, a mixed rice dish.

Her AWE classes are her first experience with art. She is open to any medium and has recently discovered acrylic on canvas. Landscapes are her favorite subject.

Victoria Chan
“Falls”
Cypress Golden Gate

Victoria “Vickie” Chan considers herself a lucky woman. Born in Hong Kong in 1931, she remembers people dying in the streets during the Japanese Occupation, which began when she was ten. “I’m a Christian,” she says. “I always thank God.

“When World War II ended, she attended an English high school and entered nursing school, following in the footsteps of her mother, who was a mid-wife. She undertook advanced nursing studies in England returning to Hong Kong to work as a head nurse until after the pro-communist riots in 1967. Then in 1968, she and her husband, an engineer, moved to the U.S. with their two young children.

Vickie worked for many years at Laguna Honda Hospital, first as a staff nurse on the night shift and later as head nurse. After her retirement she enjoyed frequent trips to Europe and China until a serious fall limited her travels. Now the grandmother of five goes to church and plays mahjong weekly, exercises and does tai chi every morning, and enjoys watching Chinese movies. Her AWE classes are the first time she has ever painted.

She feels she’s learned some lessons in life: “Always look forward, forget the past, trust in God, don’t complain, and be happy.”

Yu Chen
“Plein Air”
Oak Center Towers

“I’m old, but it’s OK. You enjoy yourself,” says this energetic 78 year old. Born in Shanghai, she started learning English in third grade. She still puts her skills in service to others as the official translator at Oak Center Towers, where she also helps with the weekly market and monthly newsletter.

A chemical engineer, Ms. Chen spent 35 years working in China. Her only daughter, with her mother’s English lessons and family’s financial help, later earned a degree in Electrical Engineering in the U.S. Ms. Chen and her husband joined her in New Jersey, but a cousin and warm weather lured them to Oakland in 2001. She still enjoys travelling, taking regular trips with her daughter.

Ms. Chen, who learned just a little art in her childhood, insists she’s not an artist. She advises, “Tell people even if you don’t know how to do color, any person can do it. No matter whether you’re an artist or not.” She enjoys painting flowers and animals and her favorite medium is watercolor. And the important lesson she’s learned in life: “If you want something, you can get it. Just try, even in the hardest times.”

Irene IrishH Higgins
“Crane by the Shore”
On Lok Gee Center

All her friends call her IrishH and she’s led an interesting life. A multi-talented performer, she led a blues band (Spoonful of Blues) in San Francisco, composing some of the songs, playing bass and singing lead. She has worked with a small local theater group (Ninjaz of Drama) behind the scenes and in performance. With a Mission district crew (A Waking Dream), she constructed fantastical costuming and participated in the local Carnival and Pride parades, as well as Unity celebrations.

 Always a bit of a nerd growing up, IrishH studied Spanish in high school, adding German studies and some French courses in college, and later Russian. IrishH used her academic skills to empower learners in Academic Support programs at City College of San Francisco and After School Programs at Visitacion Valley Middle School.

IrishH has been trying to deal with injury issues which have dogged her for years. Though she’s had to undergo surgery in 2015 and 2017 with another coming up probably next year, she is working on healing what she can through Physical therapy, Aquatic Physical Therapy and Pilates.

She came to On Lok through a CCSF Older Adult Program art class and continues along the creative path here experimenting with water colors, acrylics and gouache paints as well as at the San Francisco Senior Center working with oil paints and ceramics.

Yelena Khristich
“Open Mind“
Western Park Apartments

If you’re lucky, Yelena might sing you the Ukrainian folk song that is featured in this painting of her grandmother’s house where she spent her summers in the central Ukrainian town of Poltova. Born in Kiev in 1948, she lost her father at the age of thirteen, but went on to study in the Polytechnic University, where she met her husband. The couple raised a daughter, who inherited Yelena’s love of singing, and the family came to the U.S. in 1998.

Yelena began doing art with AWE five years ago, but a broken wrist interrupted her art-making. Her teacher Rafael gave her a series of exercises to help her brain recover from the trauma and on that same day, she was able to write her name for the first time with her non-dominant hand.

She likes to paint in what she calls “Ukrainian style,” once adapting the work of a Mexican artist that inspired her into her own native style. A creative person, she also enjoys sewing, embroidery, and knitting–a skill she uses to make blankets for babies in the neo-natal unit.

As for the lessons she’s learned: “Immigration is very hard, but if you like music and art it always helps you to recover and adjust. The deeper you go into a new culture, the better.”

Gretchen Klug
“Home”
Raksha Care Home

Gretchen was born in Alliance, Nebraska, and lived in several Midwestern cities in her youth before the family moved to San Diego. Her German-born father, an osteopath, and her mother believed in the importance of healthy living and Gretchen was raised in a nudist camp from the age of 10-18.

After coming to Berkeley, she worked as a secretary, taking dictation for Chancellors Robert Gordon Sproul and Clark Kerr. She remembers fondly the sense of community in Berkeley at the time—the wine and spaghetti parties, poetry, meditation groups, and folk music. For years Gretchen helped raise her sister’s children and she and her mother rented rooms to students who weren’t welcome in other places. She has also worked for the California State Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation, Workmen’s Comp and an alcoholism clinic, her favorite job.

Gretchen has been interested in art since her childhood when she made art with the children she babysat, and despite serious vision issues continues to this day. What she describes as her best painting was a huge tiger, which she had to stop painting because it kept getting “bigger and bigger.” She’s a fan of Frida Kahlo and her AWE art teacher describes her work as “having a shamanic, Native American feel.”


Chieko Lafferty

“DeKooning Woman”
Western Park Apartments

The ebullient Chieko Lafferty, born in Kyoto, Japan, worked as an accountant. However, here dreams always led to art. After an apprenticeship, she began designing Western-style fabric patterns. Ten years later, she decided to visit the United States before settling down, but in San Francisco she met Jack, a dashing Scot, to whom she has now been married 36 years.

Chieko takes fine arts classes while continuing to work as a bookkeeper. She loves to draw, and enjoys painting still lifes, but her favorite is figure drawing. She regularly returns to the classics to check her technique. “If you can draw a circle, cylinder, box, you can draw,” Chieko explains. “The basics are so important. Sometimes it’s boring – another white bowl! But then you can go anywhere.”

Chieko enjoys reading in Japanese and murder mysteries in English, cooking all cuisines, listening to classical music, and taking walks. More than anything else, she is constantly exploring, seeking to develop her style. “There are rules, but rules are for breaking,” she laughs. “I love that!” For example, she will refigure classical compositions with a cubist technique and use origami paper for collage. “If I paint something and everyone says, ‘That’s Chieko’, that is what I want.”

Gloria Learned
“Bluebird”
Heritage on the Marina

Elegantly ebullient, with a warm, self-deprecating sense of humor, Gloria is 89 years old. Born in Tucson, Arizona, she grew up in Santa Barbara with her brother, Mark, and still has fond memories of a playhouse her father made for her, which even had a sink with a brass faucet and running water.

For their honeymoon, Gloria and her husband bought one-way tickets to Europe. In Paris and Darmstadt, she taught English to U.S. soldiers who did not speak English, while he was a journalist for the Stars and Stripes. They had four daughters.

Gloria loves the outdoors and enjoyed hiking by the lakes in Marin. She is still very active, attending Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, movies, and other outings with her daughters, granddaughter, and great-grandson. Always creatively inclined, she studied calligraphy, and also loved knitting and embroidery, but only began taking art classes five years ago. Recently, Gloria was enthralled by perspective drawing exercises taught in class, and she is excited to master this new challenge.

“The greatest thing in the world you can have is a sense of humor,” Gloria says. “Sad things happen to everyone, but it will get you through anything, if you can manage to laugh.”

Leleticia Mapp
“Hearts”
Excell Healthcare

Born in 1965 and raised in Oakland, CA., Leleticia’s life has been a challenging one, she went to several different elementary and middle schools and later worked on the street selling her body to make a living. Leleticia began having trouble with her vision at the age of 23, when she consulted her doctor they discovered a tumor on her optical nerve. Shortly after, she had a stroke and was in a wheel chair.

When she discovered Christianity, she turned her life around. She went to Laney and Merritt College, where she took a braille class, got a job at Royal Airways as a receptionist and has three beautiful children and a grandchild. “I love to color, but I love going to church more than anything.”

When in class, she has the instructor tape down her paper so that she can keep track of where she is working. Her preferred medium is crayons, she feels the texture of the paper and where she has already colored. Leleticia says, “I love bright colors, they give me a relaxed feeling.” She asks her instructor which colors are which of the crayons and sets them aside to use individually. “I have to ask which color is which because one time I put pepper in my coffee instead of sugar, so I want to be sure of what I choose.”

Ida Marksman
“Bathers”
Laguna Honda Hospital

Ida’s easygoing charm, sunny smile and vibrant spirit make clear why her nick name is “Beautiful,” as she blushingly confides. Born in San Francisco in 1940, a stroke paralyzed her right side when she was two years old. However, Ida declares, “I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. I did everything a normal person would do.”

Her parents immigrated from Northern Italy, and she grew up in North Beach “when it was special.” She cherishes memories of summer evenings when children would play kickball on Telegraph Hill as parents chatted on their front steps and of leisurely Sunday strolls with her family to Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square.

One of life’s high points occurred when Ida was asked to sing for a benefit at the Fairmont Hotel. A fan of Doris Day and Al Martino, she still sings in the shows at Laguna Honda.

Ida always liked art and loves to color. Even her wheelchair is decorated with a pink butterfly and violet flowers. “I can stay here in the studio all day and draw,” she laughs. “I always wanted to and never got the chance. Now I have that chance.” Her advice: “Don’t quit. I never quit when I felt I wanted something.”

Bess Meek
“Mystifying Walk in Central Park”
The Reutlinger Community

“The colors are ecstatic,” Bess giggles, as she describes one of her colorful paintings that hangs above her bed. “That’s my little lavender person – it’s me. I call it ‘Voilà!’ When I paint, the colors have fragrance, a memory, a temperature and a feeling.”

Bess is infectious, just like her art. “I’ve been happy since the day I was born,” she says with a smile. She grew up in a family full of Pekinese and Pomeranian dogs, raised by her father, and reports proudly that she was frequently called on in class to read for the other immigrant students in the lower East Side of New York City, where she was born in 1932. Later she worked as an assistant bookkeeper for a giftware company, raised three children, and became intrigued with pharmacology.   

Bess has read everything from Erma Bombeck to Lobsang Rampa and boasts, “I’ve learned how not to be a stick in the mud.”  She’s a Gemini, loves German milk chocolate, and her favorite season is fall because “when you look outside, it makes you shiver inside.”  

Her wise advice: “If you don’t laugh, you get in a rut. Life is here for the living.”


Nina Ng

“Messy”
Aspen Transitional Healthcare Pacific Heights

Ninety-seven-year-old Nina speaks only a little English, but she’s still learning. “I like to learn, “she says. “Learning makes me happy.”

This gentle elder artist, born in Hong Kong, worked as a teacher and has three daughters, one son, and two grandchildren. Her happiest moments came when studying in college, and she still revels in the times she’s been able to return to Hong Kong.

Nina also reportedly likes to eat. Once she get up in the morning, she enjoys reading the Chinese newspaper at Kindred, and her caregivers report that she’s never given a mean look to anyone.

Nina’s philosophy is “just try,” and that’s what she’s been doing in her art class. Though Nina doesn’t think her art is good, her teacher Rafael disagrees. “She’s a rookie,” he explains, “who started with scribbles and has developed her own language of line and movement.”


Teresa Picirillo
“Warrior Woman
with Bear”

Laguna Honda Hospital

“Art makes the world pretty.” Teresa has been doing art all her life. She studied print making and metal arts at UCSF, but long before that, as a child, she used food coloring to decorate the meals on her dinner plate.  Born without a hip, Teresa has been disabled since birth. Her father died when she was quite young and she was sent to live with her grandmother. Her heart has already been broken she says and, so, it cannot be broken again.  Her goal has always been to decorate everything.  Make the world pretty!

She is a very prolific artist. Her drawings are very intricate, detailed and colorful. “Psychedelic!” one might think. In addition to selling her paintings, she supported herself making jewelry.  Using metal scraps left over from her classes at UCSF, she made one of a kind pieces which she sold on Castro Street.  Other street artists sold their work during the day. Wanting to have the street for herself, Teresa sold her jewelry at night.

Teresa’s drawings always tell a story. The story she is telling these days is about women and how powerful they are. “Women can save the world,” she says. “Eventually, women will save the world!”


Vanita Shah

“Log House”
On Lok Peralta

Vanita was born in 1942 in Varavel,  a city in the Gujarat province of India. She was the oldest of four brothers and a sister. She enjoyed art in school, but as was the tradition at the time, she left school after the eighth grade and entered an arranged marriage at the age of fifteen.

The couple had three sons and a daughter, and Vanita stayed at home caring for her children. She loved to cook, especially her specialties of samosas and shrikhand, a sweet dessert made of strained yogurt that is a Gujarati specialty. She is now the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren.

Vanita and her husband visited the United States whenever possible to see her children and she moved here after her husband’s death to be close to them. She has returned to India to see her husband’s family, as well as traveled to Dubai to visit one of her sons.

Vanita, who describes herself as a very good-natured person, feels that education is important and appreciates her AWE class. Her art teacher Dmitry says that she specializes in folk art and reports that, with her attention to details, her drawings take months to finish.

Lotchanna Sourivong
“Colorfield Blue & Gray”
Laguna Honda Hospital

A bright and determined individual, Lotchanna was born in Laos and moved to Santa Rosa, CA at the age of 4. She finished college and has traveled around the world, working variously as a barista, translator, community organizer, researcher, and more.

Lotchanna, called Channa by her friends, says her participation in the Art With Elders class allows her to learn new skills and increase her eye-hand coordination, as well as her patience. She describes herself as a “feisty and adventuresome risk-taker” adding that working in class has also helped her learn to control her temper by cultivating in her a sense of calm and patience. Some of her adventures include bungie jumping in Spain and driving cars in the desert of Saudi Arabia, an uncommon pursuit for women in that region. Her hobbies include travel, gardening, cooking, reading, and art.

Channa knows much about art thanks to visits to galleries and museums. She especially enjoys surrealist artists, such as Salvador Dali and appreciates abstract art like that of Jackson Pollock. Currently, Channa is working with acrylics on abstract compositions, frequently painting in layers, and even experimenting with torn paper and tape to create 3-dimensional paintings. Channa values her ”art family” and believes “there’s a reason behind everything.”

Maria Gladys Trujillo
“See Food”
UCSF Memory and
Aging Center

Maria Gladys comes from a large family in El Salvador. The eldest of 7, she helped raise her siblings. She and her sister immigrated to the United States in 1972 and she has lived in San Francisco for the majority of her life. On arriving in the United States, she and her sister started working immediately to help their family. She took classes to learn English and manufacturing, and worked producing school uniforms for children. Maria Gladys was happy to meet her husband after being in the U.S. for about 4 years, and they have two daughters together. She is excited to have grandchildren one day.

Maria Gladys loves all of the feedback she has received from the AWE class instructors. She feels that her drawing skills keep improving and that motivates her to continue attending class. Aside from drawing, she enjoys gardening and taking long walks. She has also been enjoying spending time with her daughter, who recently moved back to San Francisco from the east coast. Her other daughter has been living in France for about 10 years.

Maria Gladys says she has seen a lot of changes in San Francisco over the years and she is proud of her hard work and her family.

Artists from the AWE program at
Openhouse Bob Ross LGBTQ Senior Center
and Coventry Place
Hosted
by Spike’s Coffees and Teas
Mon. Jan. 3 – Tues. Feb. 1, 2022

A Visual Story Through Self

This exhibit, “A Visual Story Through Self,” features art and artists from the AWE program at the Openhouse Bob Ross LGBTQ Senior Center. Openhouse works to center the voices and experiences of LGBTQ+ older adults by providing opportunities to make social connections and build community. These artists encompass the dynamic diversity that enriches San Francisco. Their artworks were made in community art classes with Art With Elders. AWE uses technology and art to bridge the isolating divide of the ever-changing circumstances of the pandemic. This show represents a rich tapestry of varied perspectives woven together through the dynamic language of visual art. These artists’ visual stories remind us that connection is an ongoing creative process that results in an ever-evolving community. 

Openhouse Artists
Keith Baillie – “Castro Collage”
LA Campos de la Garza (Luis) – “Falling For Fall”
Robert Leone – “Abstract with Flowering Vine”
Lourdes Riviera Pollard – Vejigantes
Kim Ringle – “Bamboo”
Fran Schiff – “She Her They Them”
Kered Whitcraft – “EDM”

Crescent Park Artist
Rita Gibbs – “BUTTER”

Artists of Openhouse Bob Ross LGBTQ Senior Center – Instructor Hugh Leeman

“Castro Collage”
Keith Baillie

Keith Baillie is a Brit who worked in Silicon Valley and is now retired in San Francisco. His passion is traveling but the covid shutdown has afforded more time to paint scenes from photos of the city and his travels. He is an untrained, naïve artist primarily using gouache. He is currently a student of Hugh Leeman’s Art for Elders course (through Openhouse).

Castro Collage

“Falling For Fall”
LA Campos de la Garza

Luis de la Garza’s life-long interest in art found him working many years in museums, archives, and libraries managing their collections. Collages and graphic design have been his major artistic output. He participates with other elder community members in San Francisco’s Openhouse art classes taught by Art With Elders instructor Hugh Leeman.

This piece is an expression of what is elicited in the artist when Fall comes around. The color orange permeates his reverie. The rolling hills of northern California come into focus with hues of purple in the sky. Folks in their finery gather around meals and share community and family. Gratitude abounds for having access to that food. These imaginary responses are formed in at his home alone as he continues to face cautionary precautions brought upon by virus variants. Acrylic paint and cutouts from magazines and junk mail were used to create this collage. 

“Abstract with Flowering Vine”
Robert Leone

“I’ve been taking an art class with Hugh Leeman through Openhouse since November of 2020, and I’ve come to rely on it as a mainstay of my week, especially with the restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic.

I look forward to using what I’ve learned and spend several hours each week working on various art projects, which is a new experience for me and very satisfying. I look at everyday things in my life or ideas that have been running around in my head and see how I can incorporate them into my art.”

Lourdes Rivera Pollard
“Vejigantes”

Puerto Rican, born in New York City.  

“In the early 60’s I moved to Big Sur, San Francisco and now I live in
Los Gatos/Santa Cruz mountain.

I love the fact that the AWE program offers Zoom Art class to elders. This has allowed me and others to participate from home by eliminating travel barriers and invisible borders. The AWE program made me realize I missed painting. For the last 30 plus years, my main involvement in the arts had been as a photographer.

Due to COVID 19, being out in the public was not an option for me. With Openhouse AWE, I was able to turn negative into a positive opportunity by participating in a weekly online class with instructor Hugh Leeman. The Saturday class has given me a group of diverse elders to meet with, positive support, and a place to meet, learn, share ideas and make new friends.” 

 

   “Bamboo”
   Kim Ringle

I am a lesbian artist who has made San Francisco her home for the past 45 years. With my trademark “Blue Nails” or signature “Keem” I have worked in all kinds of media from drawing, painting and collage to puppetry and music. 

In the past, I was part of “Hand Ghost Theatre”, now defunct, a puppetry group that designed and created it’s own scripts, puppets, scenery and music. Recently, my collage “Dancers” was a winner in the Openhouse “Pride Inside” 2021 Art Contest.

 

 

“She Her They Them”
Fran Schiff

“EDM”
Kered Whitcraft

Kered is legally blind with advanced glaucoma. Nine months ago a friend suggested to try and Art With Elders class. Even though he’s going blind, Kered began to truly “see” for the first time through the creation of art.

“EDM” – Magazine ads and acrylic paint collage:

“I screen capture just several videos of Instagram/TikTock underground trance DJ, Solomon_Keys_Official’s trippy videos. I love attempting to capture what his music feels like to me.”

Artist of Crescent Park – Instructor Hugh Leeman

 

 

“BUTTER”
Rita Gibbs

I am a 66 year old black woman who has been handicapped for the last 5 years, and in the last year have started to enjoy art, in the last year I’ve been taking art class with Hugh and now I’m really enjoying drawing art.

AWE Community Feature:
AWE at The Sequoias – Featuring artists of The Sequoias with AWE Special Guests

Sept. 13 – Oct. 30, 2021

Always Beginning:
Beginning, Invention, and Discovery

May 15 – Sept. 15, 2021
Link to view exhibit here

“The artist is always beginning” Ezra Pound

AWESTRUC Art Share
with the AWE Open Studios
and Dr. George W. Davis
Senior Center
April 15 – June 15, 2021

Link to View Exhibit

“Radiant Hues” by Larry McCown and “Hillside Deer” by Shirley Keller

The Open Studios are part of our AWESTRUC (Art With Elders Shared Through resourcefully Using Computers) program. The AWESTRUC program, developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, consists of online interactive classes held using the Zoom platform. While many of the online classes serve specific senior living communities or day programs, we also offer Open Studio classes for individuals.

Open to all ages and abilities, the Open Studios provide an opportunity for friends and families to join together in art-making, and engage artists living independently from across the U.S. To learn more or sign up, please visit our Online Classes page. This exhibit is accompanied by a video of our Art Share event in which the featured artists talk about their work.
Event Video:

Heartworks: From AWE with Love
AWE Artists celebrate love for Valentine’s Day
Link Here to View Works
February 14 – April 14, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Heart 1”
Danielle Dossier Lytton Gardens and“Hearts” Shirley Swift The Davis Center

We Dream, We Paint
A collection of recent works by AWE Artists

January 15 – March 15, 2021
Link here to view exhibit works

“It’s All in the Eyes” by John Collister – Saturday Open Studio

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” – Vincent Van Gogh

The Connected Earth and Other Works
A collection of recent works by AWE Artists
November
15 – January 15, 2021
Link here to view exhibit


“The Connected Earth” by Gloria Ruth and “My Son, Steve” by Rita R. Goldman

Every Canvas is a Journey All It’s Own
Landscapes of the Imagination
September 15 – November 15, 2020

Link here to view exhibit

Partner Site Feature: The Reutlinger Community
September 15 – November 15, 2020 Link Here

Art With Elders has been in partnership with The Reutlinger Community and Artist Instructor Betty Rothaus for many years. This exhibit features work from eleven of her Artist Participants, as well as images and brief biographies of the artists.

Bringing Unique Visions to Life
Full time Artist-in-Residence, Betty Rothaus, MFA, (center above) offers residents individual guidance in bringing their unique vision to life. Within a beautiful fine arts studio, residents who have never created art before, as well as experienced artists, enjoy learning new skills and expressing themselves through drawing, painting in oil, acrylic, pastels or watercolor, sculpting/pottery in clay, collage, textiles, jewelry and/or mixed media.  Exhibitions each year provide a joyous sharing of our residents’ accomplishments with the entire community.
The Reutlinger Community Art Program (https://www.rcjl.org/the-reutlinger/art-program/

Resilient!
Link Here to view show

Featuring works by 85 artists from across the Bay Area
July 15 – September 15, 2020

 

PANDEMIC RESPONSE ART

AWE Artist-Participants respond to the pandemic with creativity.

Susan McCown

Susan, from California, retired to Hawaii where she enjoyed the beauty of nature. As a member of the group, Wise Old Women (WOW), she painted, created pottery, arranged flowers, and learned the art of “Healing Touch.” She returned to Vallejo to be near her family. A resident of Vallejo Hills, she enjoys the sense of community there. She has become a dedicated member of the AWE class. Fellow classmate and husband Larry says of his partner, “She’s an artful soul!”

THEY HAVE NAMES


Fran Marcus

I have enjoyed dabbling in art since I was in elementary school. As an adult, I have taken classes in painting, stained glass, jewelry and mixed media.I taught elementary school for many years and always loved doing art projects with my students.  Often, long after they went home I would find myself drawn back to the art table to experiment with new approaches to the lesson. I enjoy art history and always make it a point to visit art museums when I travel. Since joining AWE in April I have been experimenting with various mediums (watercolors, colored pencils, acrylics, markers, charcoal) and learning techniques for doing landscapes, portraits and abstract art. I find the classes educational,  challenging, relaxing and rewarding. In addition, I find that I really  enjoy making art in community with others.  

Living with Uncertainty

 

Covid-19 Quilt

Shirley Keller

Spirit Hill Meditation Garden and Art Studio, in Three Rivers, is Keller’s favorite place to be, letting the creative energies have the day. Keller plays with clay, focusing on ceramic masks. Repurposed items like hubcaps, skill saws, horseshoes, and more, are made into art pieces with dots of acrylic. Mixing words and art is her latest exploration on canvas and hubcaps. Gift Cards Keller designs from her photography. Keller’s art work grew out of her love of writing, which she does every morning. Coordinator for 1st Saturday in Three Rivers, a monthly art event.

Let There Be Peace

Mary Ann Taylor

I am a retired elementary teacher. I taught all grades during my career and my favorite grade was fifth, because of the students’ interest and the curriculum. I also taught in Finland and Taiwan. I loved the cultural experience and making lasting friends. I enjoy the Art With Elders’ classes, since I did not have time to study art until I retired.

Kay Talbot

I am indebted to Art With Elders for providing a new experience with art. To me art is a different way of seeing our world. When I was in practice as a life transitions counselor, I used drawing and collage with some of my clients. This was especially effective with adults and children who were grieving a loss. I am the author of a workbook titled “What Happens Next: Messages from Heaven.” It provides space to answer contemplative questions with writing, drawing, and/or painting. I am a resident of Vallejo Hills retirement community in Vallejo where I first learned about AWE. Thank you for your wonderful art courses.

Pandemic Eyes

Chelsea Lee

Chelsea Lee is 8 years old.  This is her first time taking online class with her mother and she enjoyed it very much.  Chelsea completed this “Covid 19” in May for the class theme: Pandemic Response Art.  She said: “I like art because I can be creative and make beautiful artworks.  I like to use color-pencils because it won’t leak through like markers and it is easier than other mediums; it is more focus on drawing which I like it better.”

COVID 19

 

COVID-19

Pamela Osborne

I love to sit and sketch, not looking at my paper to make sure it “looks” right as a meditative process. When I can bypass all the negative talk in my head, the final art piece always humbles and amazes me. Then I experience what is possible.

Kay Talbot

I am indebted to Art With Elders for providing a new experience with art. To me art is a different way of seeing our world. When I was in practice as a life transitions counselor, I used drawing and collage with some of my clients. This was especially effective with adults and children who were grieving a loss. I am the author of a workbook titled “What Happens Next: Messages from Heaven.” It provides space to answer contemplative questions with writing, drawing, and/or painting. I am a resident of Vallejo Hills retirement community in Vallejo where I first learned about AWE. Thank you for your wonderful art courses.

COVID 19

 

Louise Gibler

Louise has lived a life “centered in art.” Born in New Jersey, she and her husband Dick met when they were both working for a Superior Court judge. Dick was a landscape painter and she began painting with him, often taking their easels and oils outside to paint together. While living in New Jersey, they began attending classes at the well known Arts Students League in New York at the time when Jackson Pollock and Georgia O’Keeffe were there. The couple worked and painted together until Dick’s death at the age of 75. She moved to Canada near Toronto where her son was living and joined an art community. “Art,” she says, “saved my life.”

Pandemic 2020
Paula Thompson

 

 

Cool Cats Wear Masks
Carol Martin
After so many years of lifetus interruptus, I began painting again now that I am retired and have mucho Covid-19 time on my hands.  High school and college were my painting days of still life and abstracts  with a prize and honorable mentions here and there while living in Colorado.  My inspiration to paint again was late 2019, floral and fauna, but also, began a Fire Art painting in honor and awareness for our firefighters.  Though I am not a professional (yet) and have no special certificates or degrees, I absolutely love working with oils and acrylics painting any subject.  Attempting watercolors and colored pencil, still a challenge. Please check out my website carolsoriginals.com and note my granddaughter’s gallery.  May my legacy be of encouraging my granddaughter to push forward with her talent.
Mandate 2020