“We are here, strictly for the pleasure of being here.”
This is the sentiment of Marilynn Lillies, speaking about her association with the Summerland Pleasure Painters.
The club was started by a group of seven ladies back in 1977. It has grown in membership over the years, now usually having between 20 and 25 members. There are no longer any of the original members attending.
“We have people who have been painting for 30 or 40 years or more, others that have been painting for only a few years and some beginners. We have people working in oils and acrylics, water colors, pastels and doing pencil drawings,” said Ruth McPhillamey, president of the club.
Lillies has been with the club the longest. She joined in 1989 after taking an art course. Her husband had passed away and she was by herself and needed to do something to help her cope with the loss.
“It’s been a Godsend for me. It gets me out. I’ve been able to meet people. I enjoy doing the art and I have learned so much over the years. It has brought out the talent in me that I never knew I had,” she said. The members also gently and carefully critique each other’s work.
“That is how we help each other,” said Lillies. “Lots of times when you’re doing something you cannot see what someone else can. It’s so helpful to be able to see it through someone else’s eyes and to find what we can do to make it better.”
Another member of the group, Jean Sherwood said,
“One of the things I have appreciated is that the club has been very receptive to seniors. We’ve had people in their nineties.”
Yolande Prochnau has been with the Pleasure Painters for more than 20 years.
“The camaraderie is wonderful here. It is amazing the amount of art that is turned out from this little group of people. Our shows will have 60 or 70 paintings,” she said.
The group holds one or two art shows per year. The next show will be during the Festival of Lights in November.
In 2008 one of the members presented a challenge to the others. The challenge was to paint ceiling tiles for the x-ray department of the Summerland Health Centre.
Twelve painters took part and the end result is that people getting x-rays now can look up and see artwork of landscapes, clowns, jesters and teddy bears.
The following year the painters also did the tiles in the children’s waiting room.
As is stated in their constitution the club’s purpose is to “encourage the activity in others, the pleasure of painting and to support the visual arts in the community.”
“We encourage people to come and have fun,” said McPhillamey.
The artists meet every Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. September through to May, at the Harold Simpson Memorial Youth Centre. They bring their own art supplies and a bagged lunch and have tea and coffee together.
“It’s a very sociable club,” said McPhillamey, inviting others to drop in and join them.