Her creative compulsions usually hit during the unfortunate wee hours of 1 to 5 in the morning. That’s when Jane Kirkendoll stands at her kitchen counter, embellishing a new hat with long ribbons, vibrant flowers, shimmering lace or any other bright material she finds — until she’s too tired to stand any longer.
Kirkendoll is one of dozens of senior artists who were featured at the Mayflower Retirement Community’s second annual juried art show “Art for Generations” in Winter Park on Oct. 29. Along with three-dimensional mixed media, the show included works in every medium from photography to sculptures and paintings made by local senior citizens.
“I’ve always loved hats — I would pay people to make them for me,” Kirkendoll said.” But then I said, ‘Wait a minute, I could make these myself’.”
On average, a hat could take Kirkendoll at least 10 hours to make. Over the years, she’s grown from making crayon drawings as a kid — spilling red glitter on her mother’s white shag rugs — to making charcoal portraits that hang at the Orlando Lutheran Towers, to ceramic centerpieces and, now, hats.
Dot Cline, Mayflower resident and a former regular contributor to the annual Maitland Art Festival, recently sprung back from an art show hiatus and started showcasing her watercolor paintings once again. An avid traveler, Cline had visited Japan, Turkey and most recently, Greece, with a friend. A painting of a Greek Orthodox monk that hung at the Mayflower show was inspired by a moment from her trip that she photographed and later painted.
“I loved the cross between the modern and the mystical,” Cline said, remembering how the monk leaned with his eyes closed against the counter of a small shop that sold cigarettes and ice cream; she wondered what he was pondering about, hence the title “Monk Dreaming.” It was her first time in a while to introduce people into her art rather than her typical landscapes.
For her next painting, Cline plans to portray the colorful and expressive dancers she witnessed during a visit to Bali, Indonesia. But for now, she’ll continue painting and selling greeting cards and rotating the original art she displays outside her quaint apartment door.
Using rice paper that she dyes, tears apart and sticks back onto a paper like two-dimensional papier-mâché, Betty Powell creates textured waterscape paintings that are inspired from living directly by the beach in South Carolina for 19 years. Powell studied with local and renowned allegorical surrealist sculptor Grady Kimsey, who impacted not just her art methods, but also her perception of the relationship between teachers and students, and the difference between an instructor and a teacher.
“There are instructors, who show you and expect you to just learn it ... and there are teachers,” Powell said. “A teacher is able to explain things in such a way that … makes sense to you.”
Another watercolor painter, Sharon Hunt, has been creating art for 40 years. In the past, she owned a ceramics shop, but now she dedicates time to transforming watercolor’s rebellious, fluid nature into more controlled, realistic pieces, like the astute lion she painted based on a photograph from a friend’s visit to Kenya.
“She was staying with her artist friend next to a game preserve, and the lion came right up to the fence,” Hunt said. “She emailed me with the photo and said, ‘Hey, you might want to paint this one.’”
Hunt started painting to offset the analytical daily routine of being a financial consultant — “art was so different,” she said, and Thursday happened to be her first day of retirement.
Fifteen years ago, one of Hunt’s ceramics clients came into her store and mentioned teaching watercolor classes. Ever since that initial class, where she first met two of her closest friends who she still paints with years later, it’s been her medium of choice.
“When I sit down to paint, everything goes away — it’s just pure relaxation,” Hunt said.