"I had never painted a day in my life before I joined this class," said Marilou Perry as she stood in front of her three showcased pieces in the Dawson County Senior Center's 8th annual "Art by the Young at Heart" art show on Saturday.
"Two years ago a neighbor told me about the senior center art class, and I've been going ever since," Perry said.
Perry was chosen by the class instructor to be the featured artist at the art show.
"When I found out I was going to be the artist spotlight, I was stunned," Perry said.
One of Perry's favorite projects has been the recent paintings she did after the course instructor had the class do a "copy the masters project," where they reproduced famous works of art.
"I liked that because in painting what they painted, I was able to understand how they did it and also how they could have made it better," Perry said. "I also like to paint nature. I would love to paint people's faces sometime, but I've never tried."
The class is taught by an artist and former school teacher from Macon, Carole Kinzie. Kinzie is a member of the Dawson County Art Council and volunteers her time to teach the seniors twice a week, and earlier this year was named Volunteer of the Year at the senior center.
Kinzie said that she loves when seniors come to her class and, like Perry, tell her they've never painted before.
"I love watching people paint who've never painted before, I just love to see it when they finally get it," Kinzie said. "It's so fun to teach them techniques and watch them improve."
The show presented paintings from 12 of the class's students, most of whom were present at the art show presentation at noon on Dec. 3.
Kinzie presented each of her artists and said something about them and their talents.
One of the students, Barbara Wallace, was jokingly reprimanded by Kinzie for her dislike of using shadows in her art.
During the show, Wallace sold two of her pieces within 30 minutes. Similarly to Perry, Wallace's experience with art prior to the class was very small.
"I started painting after I retired," Wallace said. "I had never held a brush before, but now I've been doing it for six years and I love it."
One of her paintings, entitled "Golden Desert", was modeled off a vase she bought at a yard sale. The painting has a flat, western-inspired look, with no shading but a gorgeous mix of rich and dusty desert hues.
Another student, Hanne Gear, had some prior experience in art and had several pieces in the show. She pointed out one painting of a backyard garden entitled "Summerday in the garden," and another of a hot air balloon floating mid-air.
"These aren't my best paintings," Gear said. "I have the good ones at home, because I have four daughters and I want them to inherit those."
All of the paintings were for sale, and proceeds went to buy more supplies for the art class.
Gear said she's always loved art and felt it was second nature to her.
"I painted when I was 18 or 19, and I painted with oil because we didn't have acrylic paint like we do now," Gear said. "But our teacher is very patient and I've learned a lot."
Kinzie said that when the class resumes next year, she wants them to try print and paper making. Kinzie also teaches a class at the library each month.
Presenting artists at the "Art by the Young at Heart" show were Betty Daniel, Hanne Gear, Carolyn Hayes, Evelyn Koch, Betty Losh, Ernest McGill, Joan Palazzolo, Marilou Perry, John Pulley, Marlene Quinn, Norma Ray and Barbara Wallace. "Eternal Artists" were Jessie Barrett, Eurith Irwin, Angelo Tamasi, Margie Wall and Joe Wood.
The art show presentation and reception was held at the Senior Center and coincided with the center's Christmas Bazaar, where seniors sell their homemade wares and Christmas crafts to the public.