(Ernie Allen, Anne Hearn and Annie Swinemar are three of the four artists who displayed their artwork for the Wildpine Residence in-house art appreciation show on August 6, 2021. Photos: Stittsville Central)
Anne Hearn, a resident of Wildpine Residence in Stittsville, has had a passion for creating art since public school. She took up painting in 1980 and since then, Anne estimates that she has completed 50 pieces of art in various medias – oil, acrylics and watercolour. Prior to painting she would draw. Her favourite paintings are seascapes and florals of which she has sold a few through the years. Her talent shines through her paintings.
Anne is not the only in-house artist at Wildpine. Residents Chuck Wood, Ernie Allen and Annie Swinemar are all artists with incredible talent who reside at the home. With this abundance of artistic talent under one roof, Anne Hearn had an idea, besides the formation of an art club.
In June of this year Anne approached Lucy Di Santo, the Recreation Director at Wildpine Residence. Anne wanted to bring the artists together to hold an art show to display their various medias of incredible artwork. The response was a quick yes, so Anne and Lucy got to work organizing the event, with the help of staff members Margo and Judy. Due to COVID, this art show would be for the residents and invited guests only and should next year allow, will be opened to the public. Stittsville Central was delighted to be invited.
During the afternoon of August 6, the main dining room at Wildpine was transformed to a beautiful art gallery. The tables were draped and art adorned the walls and surfaces. The fine artwork created by Chuck, Ernie, Annie and Anne was ready for public viewing. As the residents took in the artworks, they enjoyed wine and nibbles. Many residents commented on the beauty of the art and the artistic talent of their friends. The room was filled with the soft sounds of the harp played by Lucile Hildesheim of Richmond adding to the atmosphere.
Prior to the opening, we were able to sit down with the artists to discover more about each and their passion for art.
Ernie Allen is 99, originally from Manchester, UK and “started painting seriously at age 92 before he got too old” he told us. Ernie has been in two wars (WWII and the Korean) and after the war, became a photographer focusing on babies and small children. Painting began for him when his Grandfather gave him a painting book of the alphabet where each letter could be painted. His Grandfather told him that ‘imagination’ was the key which Ernie has used to guide his talent. Ernie said of the art show, “it is interesting how this developed from a small group. It feels like the last of the Mohicans.”
Chuck Wood began his passion for art at the tender age of 5 from the inspiration captured from the Group of Seven prints displayed in his classroom. He even ventured to take lessons from a founding member of the Group of Seven, A.Y. Jackson. With lessons becoming expensive, he gave the lessons up. Chuck is also a story teller and has narrated 18 diaries. His works of art are nature based, “the salt of the earth” he said. He continues on his path of nature’s beauty through his art. Chuck told us that he lives by his Father’s words, “let nature be your teacher” and he has certainly lived up to those words as we viewed his night skies and landscapes.
Annie Swinemar is also influenced by the Group of Seven, the Algonquin School as they were known. Their paintings bring joy to her. Since 1980, she has enjoyed painting landscapes and florals. She has also taken lessons in portraiture and has captured some interesting faces. She “sees the image in a block of stone and teases it out to craft what is there…and rejoices in the gift unfolding.” Her incredible artwork speaks for itself.
Knowing the importance of the famous Group of Seven and the influence the group had on the lives of the Wildpine artists, a kindly loan was displayed at the afternoon art show alongside the artwork of the four talented residents. A generous patron of the arts, well-known to the residents, shared his collection of original Group of Seven paintings. He knew seeing these works of art would mean a lot to the four artists and wanted to ensure that the afternoon was perfectly extra-special for all who attended.
You won’t have to wait until next year’s show for the opportunity to view the artwork of Chuck, Ernie, Annie and Anne. The ‘Group of Four’ have been asked by the Stittsville Library to display their paintings on the ‘Art Space’ wall for the month of September. To view and appreciate the amazing talent of these local artists for yourself, is well worth the visit to the Library.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the artwork, please contact Wildpine Residence and they will be pleased to put you in touch with the artist.