SOLON & BEYOND: Painting Pals revisited in old article

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I came across this March 25, 2010, issue of The Town Line newspaper with those who paint together, stay together article written by Lyn Rowden. “Welcome to Painting Pals club,” greeted Marilyn Rogers when my son, Aaron, and I turned up at MSAD #54 Adult Education to see what this unusual little club in Skowhegan is all about.

They have been getting together weekly for years to express themselves and share their talent and hobby with each other. We enjoy art so we came to take a peek. Expecting rudimentary student art in progress I was surprised to find high quality artwork in various stages of completion set up on personal easels all around a large science lab. The intensity of the artists was impressive, as well as the obvious camaraderie. Members worked amidst the delicate scents of oil paints and the brownies graciously provided by the Life Skills class next door. That may sound strange but to us artists it was delightful. Marilyn invited Aaron and me to take up a small canvas and some paints and join the Painting Pals for the evening while she told us about their group.

It all began about four years ago, when the adult education art teacher, Peggy Riley, was leaving. Her students had formed such a close community they wanted to stick together and keep on painting. But how could that be possible when they came from all over the district and had no art teacher.

One member, Marilyn Rogers, of Solon, was relaxing on a beach far away in Florida when she dreamed up an idea. Upon her return she asked the adult ed department if she could rent classroom space for the same cost as a class would, to use it as an art forum, for experienced painters. The school was so enthusiastic they offered them the room for free. They had to have a name so the group came up with “Painting Pals Club”. Today, for business purposes the school charges a small fee but all the members are willing to pay for this opportunity to paint, critique their art, and encourage each other.

Marilyn explained this group does not have a teacher and is not for beginners, but that was obvious from the beautiful paintings being worked on by each and every member. Landscapes, flowers, portraiture, still life, and animals in action – every subject matter was being depicted in oils, watercolor and acrylics. Most agreed that at their weekly meetings is when they get most of their artwork done. Suzanne Carrier, of Skowhegan, is working on a very large canvas depicting the Disney castle, inspired by a recent vacation. She explained how coming to this club each week helps her make time to do what she loves doing, to get out her art supplies and paint. “People don’t have time to paint, so this is ideal,” said Shirley Foxwell, of Norridgewock, who was working on a floral piece and also enjoys portrait painting. She like others took time to visit with their fellow artists to watch the progress, offer advice and become inspired in this self-directed “class.”

Many of the artists are prize winners, and not hard to see why. Exquisite detail marks the work of Don Albertine, of Lexington, in his flowers; likewise in the feathers of an eagle by Richard Greenstreet, of Madison, in the house by Gerda Pilz, of South Solon; and in the precise work of Lief Bull, of Solon. A softer palette was deftly applied by members Marilyn Giroux, Linwood Turcotte, of Norridgewock; John Alsop, of Cornville, Donald Berry, of Embden; Dr. Alex Paqulski, of Skowhegan; and Barry Dana, also of Skowhegan. By the way, Aaron finished a miniature landscape based on a modernistic set design he had done. I had time to get in just enough brush strokes to recall how wonderful oils are and to be inspired to do more. Thanks Marilyn and Painting Pals Club.

As far as I know, the school will be offering the Painting Pals Club again this year; Lief and I are looking forward to seeing all you former members, and new ones who love to paint!

The following is from Somerset County News, also back in the same paper: And it starts out with these words Good morning, dear friends. Don’t worry, be happy! I thank all of you who have commented on my column in the March 11 issue, or who attended the Solon Town Meeting, it is very much appreciated. I heard from people in other towns, by phone and e-mail and people in Solon. One person who is a member of the Solon Budget Committee, called and said they wondered how the machine was paid for, but didn’t have the nerve to ask.

All of this took place before Percy came into the picture, but as you all know he is honored each week by Roland with his memoir: Don’t wait with longing for the day When better times might come your way. Discard the fears that may depress; Live now and garner happiness. It’s such a waste to dwell on gloom. Though you have problems, find the room For loving when the path is rough; For laughter when the going’s tough. To fully live means you must face Whatever comes with humble grace. And if you mourn, turn it to praise. How much to do, how few the days! ­ by Amy C. Ellis.


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