12 November 2020

Getting to know the artists behind the artworks | Arcare Art Competition 2020

For our very first Arcare Art Competition, we are celebrating the creativity within our Arcare communities and showcasing the unique skills and talents of residents and team members.

We received over 100 artwork submissions and over 700 people voted for their favourite artworks.

Residents have felt a sense of pride and accomplishment when they found out that their winning artworks will be printed on our Arcare Cards and distributed around the nation.

Here are the stories of the artists behind the artworks.

Winners of the Christmas Card category:

John Devlin, 83 years old, Arcare Hope Island:

I worked in the Film and Television industry as an Investment Advisor, but I never picked up painting or anything related.

When I moved into Arcare Hope Island in March, everything was so new to me and I realised that my life would not be same anymore.

So, I found myself becoming more and more isolated, especially during the COVID 19 lock-down when I was missing my wife terribly.

But a part of me knew that I had to do something to fit into my new way of life.

Painting has never been a hobby of mine, instead, it is a new talent that I have acquired since being at Arcare and I really look forward to the classes.

Our teacher, Lifestyle Assistant Michelle Shields is amazing as she draws out of us our inner feelings, encouraging us to look at the positive and put away the negative through colour, places and objects.

I feel more adventurous each time and time just flies by as I am drawn into another world.

I find painting very gratifying and purposeful.

Michelle was able to break my self-doubt and encourage me to learn new experiences and enjoy them.

I have been able to share my accomplishments with my wife and fellow residents who are now also eager to participate in the Painting Classes.

I cannot believe the effect painting has had on me as it has made me feel like I now fit in and belong with other like-minded people.

It has truly been a journey of self-discovery.

It is an amazing feeling to be recognised for an activity like painting – something that I have never done before moving into Arcare.

I always felt that I was not good enough and that I had no talent.

Through Michelle’s constant encouragement and persistence, I was able to produce ‘Starry Night’.

Janet Wear, 79 years old, Arcare Kanwal:

My very first job was at the Bank of New South Wales.

I’ve had other occupations throughout my life and they were in Nursing, Childcare, office work and Accounting.

But I enjoyed nursing the most.

I worked as a Registered Nurse at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Campbelltown and Randwick.

Painting is a fun hobby of mine and I enjoy it because it brings me a sense of peace and it helps me to relax and focus.

It is a good activity to pass the time too.

When I found out from the Arcare Kanwal’s Lifestyle team that I had won, I was very shocked and I could not believe it!

Shirley Yeates, 74 years old, Arcare Hillside/Sydenham:

I worked as a Physiologist until my retirement.

I only started painting after I retired and this all began with painting on tree bark at that time.

Only recently when I moved into Arcare Hillside and Sydenham did I start painting and making cards.

I also sold my crafts and cards at Arcare Hillside to families and staff, with the proceeds going to the Lifestyle activities at the residence.

Painting is very relaxing as it takes my mind off things that I do tend to worry about.

When I found out that I had won, I was truly thrilled to bits.

I am truly appreciative of this acknowledgement.

I have never entered any competition before, so winning was a very pleasant surprise.

Winners of the All Occasion Card category:

Pam Walsh, 90 years old, Arcare Kanwal:

I used to work in a photographic studio in the city where I did all the printing and colouring.

As you know, back in the day, it was all done by hand.

I’ve done art exhibits and entered art competitions before and even won a few.

I kept pursuing art to save my sanity and I have my family to thank for that.

I’ve been painting for over 50 years now and I mostly painted nature.

I feel very relaxed when I’m doing it as it makes her feel one with nature.

It’s definitely very addictive!

When I found out that I won, I was very happy as I have not stopped painting and I feel like I still have that special artistic touch.

My advice to other artists is that if you want to improve you have to keep doing it.

I am so glad that I am able to continue doing it in Arcare Kanwal.

Monty Meadows, 93 years old, Arcare Cheltenham:

I had never painted before as I would have never thought that it might be so enjoyable.

I was never interested in art as I used to work as a Salesperson and my hobbies were sport.

But when I was invited to an art class in Arcare Cheltenham, I decided I might as well give it a go.

In spite of my lack of experience and knowledge in the art field, I had discovered my hidden talent after painting my first artwork.

After a few more sessions, I soon developed a love for my new hobby.

My favourite theme to paint is the Australian landscape.

I recall that my first attempt to capture the beauty of Australia’s nature was inspired from an oil painting of a renowned artist.

It was a great success and it encouraged me to try and paint in different styles.

When I found out that I had won the Arcare Art Competition, I was very happy, but I also found it very hard to believe that out of all the Arcare residences in Australia and all the submissions, my painting was chosen as one of the winners.

Vera Ash, 94 years old, Arcare Maroochydore:

I started painting when I was a young girl. I began by drawing and then, moving on to painting.

When I was in high school, I was top of my class in art.

And I remember I used to paint with my friends in my garage that we had turned into our very own art studio.

Growing up in a town called Lowestoft, they had a port where I’d go to see the boats coming and going.

There, I began painting the people and the activities happening at the port, such as fishing boats and the shore that you see in my paintings.