Seniors College Group Art Show on at The Guild until April 12

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Sally Cole
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After caring for the needs of others, two artists display their work for the first time in Seniors College of P.E.I. art show

Alice Chandler spent her life devoted to caring for her family and running Seabreeze Motel and Cottages in Stanhope.

However, that focus changed when she enrolled in her first art class at the Seniors College of P.E.I., seven years ago.

“I was inspired by my mother who took up art after her family had grown. So the class became something special for me,” says Chandler.

Since signing up, she has learned how to draw and paint with acrylics.

“Now I’m just starting to get serious about watercolour classes,” says the Charlottetown woman, laughing as she remembers her first few moments.

“Being in a class with people who were more advanced than I (was) made me feel nervous at first. I was scared to do anything on the canvas until my instructor told me to do so.”

But, with every brush stroke and pencil line she took, her confidence grew, and that anxiety disappeared.

“Through the classes I met so many friendly people who encouraged me,” says Chandler, who is one of the people showing their work for the first time at the Seniors College Group Art Show, which is on view at The Gallery @ the Guild in Charlottetown until April 12.

Brian Bagley is another who is taking part.

After caring for his parents for the past seven years, when they died he looked for something to fill the enormous hole their departure created.

So, six months ago, he moved from Alberta to Prince Edward Island to be closer to his brother, who lives in Charlottetown.

“I had been away from art for five years and wanted to get back into it again. So after settling in, I started taking classes in January,” says the Stratford resident.

The experience has been beneficial.

“Everyone in the class is very friendly. I also take my sketchbook with me wherever I go. Drawing in the community, I get a lot of positive feedback from people who see my work.”

A self-taught artist, the retired architect technician creates imaginative pen-and-ink drawings and watercolour paintings.

“I find an idea and I go with it. I’ll find something in a book and I’ll create a theme with it.

“I go from realistic to surrealistic to fantasy. My subjects range from buildings to people. This is a gargoyle from the Notre Dame Cathedral,” says Bagley, pointing to a whimsical character in one of his drawings.

Although people arrive at different levels and have different reasons for coming to class, they share one thing in common, says the show’s curator, Marion Copleston.

“They have a desire to fulfil, to explore the idea of making art in one form or another. Then, after they’ve been here for a while, they keep coming for the camaraderie and what happens in class. With people who have been coming back for years, you get a group friendship going on. Then, when there’s illness or tragedy, they get together for support.”

In her explorations, Chandler has made many discoveries.

“Once I enrolled in what I thought was a class in perspective, but it turned out to be anatomy. But, as I went along, I found it really helpful to have because when you’re drawing people or animals, you need to know where the muscles and body parts are,” she says.

Organizations: Seniors College of P.E.I., The Guild, The Gallery Notre Dame Cathedral

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Alberta, Prince Edward Island

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  • Dwight Chandler
    April 03, 2014 - 23:22

    Very proud of my mother, Alice Chandler, she's been very busy filling her life with things she loves to do, that being paintings and has in my eyes done quite well. Funny thing about this story is I never knew Mom, that you operated a "bed and breakfast"? Where you leading a double life? lol She did however own a motel in Stanhope for 35 years called Seabreeze Motel and cottages. :D

  • Barry Hancock
    April 03, 2014 - 11:03

    We live above Brian in a condo and have seen some of his work.Awesome is the best word I can use to describe it! We have a piece of his work that I look at often,love it.Good stuff Brian,a real talent!