Senior artists show off their best

Posted 5/18/10

With a couple of expressions of astonishment and words of praise from close friends, all of their hard work is worth it. Ruth Wilson collected some …

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Senior artists show off their best


With a couple of expressions of astonishment and words of praise from close friends, all of their hard work is worth it.

Ruth Wilson collected some of her proudest artwork — pieces she had created and given to friends and family members — over the last few months to display at the Classic Artists Arts and Crafts Show. The event ran from May 11-16 at the Classic Residence by Hyatt in Highlands Ranch, and the opening reception brought out residents, their family members and numerous staffers.

Among Wilson’s submissions to the exhibit was a pencil-drawn portrait of a snow-covered barn, which she simply titled “Barn in Winter.” Of course, the piece that hung at Classic Residence was a reproduction. The original piece hangs on the wall of her nephew’s home. Its frame is made of the wood from a childhood barn that inspired her remarkable etching.

“I had my own barn as a child very much like that, a farm in Iowa,” she says, pointing at the drawing. “That really reminds me of it.”

And with that, she has recreated a vivid memory on paper, a personal masterpiece that dozens have now admired. She also is the proud maker of needlepoint art, particularly intricate southwestern designs. They hang in a separate room, and are a source of conversation for those who pass by. She lost interest in her hobby after her husband passed away, but has considered taking it up again. She showed a renewed vigor when explaining her art to the visitors at the reception.

Wilson was among a few dozen residents to contribute artwork to the show. Al Klinger, a former engineer, displayed a sculpted rendering of the infamous National Geographic photo, “Afghan Girl.” The detail makes her seem almost lifelike, as it does in a similar piece, a bust depicting the weather-worn face of a cowboy.

Across the room hangs two oil paintings by Bob Holwell, both of which show desert scenes. But in one, titled “Desert Spring,” the attention to detail is so exquisite that it rivals paintings hung in prominent art galleries. A glowing pool reflection looks real enough to touch.

Then there is Annette Cassinis, a kind-faced woman who has taken a few art classes, but is largely self-taught and has enjoyed art as a lifelong passion.

“Well, you know, it’s a lot of years,” she says with a smile.

She honed her technique through her favorite hobby, and exhibited “Calla Lillies” and “Derelict Truck,” two standouts from the show. She has dabbled in oils, but now loves watercolors, and recently dived into more modern collages.

Many of the artists are in their 70s and 80s, and their life experience has clearly paid off. Jake Eisenson, for example, worked for years as a dentist and got started in sculpting art with his dental tools. Bill Giesenhagen, who submitted a breathtaking oil painting called “Bandon Tree” along with a handful of others, is a retired general contractor who started taking art about 15 years ago. The show included wood crafts, knitted baby blankets, clothes, metal art and several other mediums.

The residents’ ability to create incredible art easily parallels that of someone more than half their age. Surprisingly, many have taken up the hobby within the last 10-15 years. But they show no signs of stopping soon. Especially when good friends and art lovers offer such encouraging words.


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