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|WOSC offers creative outlet for seniors|
About six months ago, Jane Dixon of Monroe picked up a paint brush for the first time and today people are in awe at the work she creates.
Dixon's husband passed away two years ago and she believes God awakened a talent within her following his death.
"I don't think I could have done this three years ago," Dixon said.
The desire to begin painting first popped up during a trip to visit her son, his wife and the couple's new baby in Colorado.
Her son and his wife decided to remove their televisions from their home so their child wouldn't be exposed to influential programming.
While there, everyone went to sleep around 9 p.m. and she was left sitting in her room, basically "staring at the walls."
"I started painting because of boredom," she said.
Using acrylics, Dixon has painted portraits of family members, and is currently working on an elephant and a still life with flowers. She decided to take her first painting class during that trip to Colorado and has been creating art ever since.
On Mondays she can be found at the West Ouachita Senior Center with other avid artists taking part in Carolyn Fox's weekly class.
Fox has about 14 senior artists who join her every Monday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. to work on their art and to get tips from Fox, who is March's artist of the month at the Ouachita River Art Gallery.
The class is free of charge for any senior age 55 or older. Most participants bring their own materials to the class, but Fox said the senior center does have some items for people who walk in without any tools.
Senior artists work each Monday with a variety of different art mediums. Some pick watercolors, acrylics and oil, while others prefer to draw.
"They start at their own level, and I help as best I can," Fox said. "Some of them say, 'I have never painted before. Jane (Dixon) was one of them, and she's done very well."
Fox started painting in 1975 after she and her husband moved here from Vicksburg, Miss.
"I started with oils, and that's still my love, but I've gotten into acrylics and watercolors also," said Fox, who has been teaching at the senior center for the past seven years.
"There's always someone new coming in, and we get along real good and have a great time," Fox said. "This class has really been fun for me. It's amazing for me to see what they come up with and what they can do."
Fox's students paint or draw whatever they desire. One man enjoys painting automobiles. Several of the female artists like to paint flowers and landscapes.
Fox encourages her students to paint things that interest them.
"If it's things they're interested in, they are more likely to finish doing it," she said.
Several of Fox's students are now preparing work to enter in the upcoming Northeast Louisiana Senior Olympics, which will be held April 19-24.
Local seniors who want to join Fox and her class are welcome to drop by any time on Mondays at the senior center.
"They can come and paint from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and come and go as they please. I think this West Ouachita Senior Center is a great place for these seniors to come by and join in different activities. There's always something going on," Fox said. "Some of them have told me, 'I've always wanted to paint,' or 'I'd love to try to draw.' But they never try. Well, give it a try. You never know until you've tried. If you have the opportunity, take it and run with it."
The West Ouachita Senior Center is located at 1800 N. 7th St.
For more information about activities offered at the center, call 324-1280.