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Seniors Painting Class Leads To Third Annual Art Show

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Posted: Friday, January 3, 2020 12:56 pm

Every Monday for two hours, seniors gather to paint and socialize in a room at the Senior Center. Some of them had painted before, others started only a few months ago. As time has gone by, their painting skills have progressed. For the past three years the students have shown their work at the Imperial Beach Library. This year the third annual Senior Art Show started Dec. 1 and will go through Feb. 29.

During a recent class, students were working on a variety of subjects ranging from seascapes to vases of flowers, waterfalls and cats. Some were working quietly while others were chatting. For the past three years these dedicated students have been painting under the direction of teacher Shelby Marzoni.

While some of them painted in their high school days, others started later in life as did their teacher, Marzoni. Marzoni, who has a P.h.D. is sociology, raised five kids, held a variety of jobs including working as parent educator, dula, and childbirth instructor, started painting 15 years ago. This former Imperial Beach resident of 22 years decided to dedicate herself to be more creative and tackle more expressive endeavors, first by writing a novel set in Imperial Beach, yet to be published, and then she discovered painting.

In the three years Marzoni has taught the painting class, it has grown very quickly to the point it had 25 students. Now that the class is a little smaller, an average of 12, it’s more manageable and she can give more attention to the individual students.

At times Marzoni teaches a structured class, while other times students work on their own projects. Marzoni provides books and magazines the students can use to get inspiration for their paintings.

“They start by copying a painting. It’s easier than painting from a picture from nature,” she said.

Once a month she brings a friend or family member to model for the students and at other times she leads a paint along. For the past two weeks the class has been working on some branches with pine cones.

One of students, Nasrin Hogoghi, added a bird to the painting. “I never painted before… I come here and I forget all my problems. It’s good for the mind. The teacher is very good,” she said.

Hogoghi has been attending the class for only three months. She entered one painting in the art show at the library.

Another student, Jan Corbett has taken the class for the past three years and has two paintings in the show. She was working on a calla lily during the class but she prefers doing landscapes.

“I love the fact that you start with a blank canvas and you put something on it with shape, color, dimension,” she explained. Although she had done some tole paint before she said this type of painting is completely different and really enjoys it.

This painting class has been taught for the past 10 years by other instructors and Kathy Marqui has been there all along. She was first encouraged to take a class by friends after they saw her work at a wine and paint event. “I was inspired,” she said.

About the class she said, “I learn from other people. I come rain or shine.”

Over the years Merna Burden had painted in the company of a neighbor and it was a social outing for her, then a friend told her about the class. “I enjoy the social aspect and the feeling of accomplishment. Shelby is a good instructor,” she said.

Bill Wheldon was concentrating on his panting depicting a waterfall. He has painted since the age of 16 and has taken various classes over the years, but this class has made a difference. “I didn’t know how to do acrylic. I really enjoy it and learned a lot. I’ve gotten better,” he said.

The first year Marzoni stared teaching the class coincided with the opening of the new library. “When they opened the new library, June [Frost] (library branch manager) had this dream to feature senior artists and had a cable and hook system installed in the library. She made it happen,” said Marzoni.

The show is limited to 29 paintings based on the cable system. The first year of the show Marzoni showed one of her pieces, an oil landscape of the estuary entitled “Counting Bunnies.” Frost, loved the paintings so much that the Friends of the Library bought it for Frost as a wedding present.

The art show was hosted by the Friends of the Library and it went so well, the group voted to have it annually. This year the art show was celebrated with a reception on Dec. 11 with music by blues/jazz singer Missy Andersen.

“Shelby is so informative and helpful. I look forward to coming here,” said Carolyn Gilbert of the class. Orapin Aldrich agreed. “I learn a lot. I enjoy [the instructor],” she said.

“I do some direct teaching and some indirect…Ultimately people learn more from working on their own projects and making mistakes. They learn better when they mess up…That’s certainly how I learned by making mistakes and figuring out how to fix them,” said Marzoni.

“The quality has skyrocketed comparing to previous shows. People have taken on more challenging work and we have fewer copies and more people painting directly from still life like bouquets. Some paintings are for sale and are reasonably priced,” said Marzoni. Those interested can check out a catalogue at the library’s front desk to see which paintings are for sale.

The Third Annal Senior Art Show continues through Feb. 29 at the Imperial Beach Library Branch, 810 Imperial Beach Blvd.

For more information call 619-424-6981.

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