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Like the Impressionists, art group paints together

Alice Abracen

The Saint Patrick’s Art Group held their spring exhibition and celebrated their 21st anniversary last month.

Three regularly contributing artists, Georgina Cotnam, Arthur Pereira and Maureen Young, practice watercolour, though they have explored a variety of media, including acrylic and oil paint, collage, quilting, sculpture, ceramics and woodwork.

“People in one art generally gravitate toward other forms of art,” Pereira says.

About 65 paintings were exhibited in April at McCormick Hall, at the Saint Patrick’s Residence on Côte St. Luc Rd. Of those, 16 were sold within four hours. Ten per cent of the revenue goes toward funding the group. All other profits go to the artist.

The group is small, fewer than 20 members, and is made up mainly of senior citizens. The limited membership is justified by the individual attention offered to each participant by the guest artist.

Every second weekend, the group welcomes a guest artist, who offers lessons and insightful critique.

Betty McNamee with eye-popping nature scenes. Photo: Courtesy St. Patrick Development Foundation

“Seeing how other people see our art helps us improve,” Maureen says. “When we get together and show each other what we’ve done, we learn from each other.”

Pereira adds: “I think that has always been true for artists. There was the Group of Seven, and the Impressionists sometimes painted together. We really derive inspiration from the company of others. The interaction is really important for us.”

Thus what began as a small collaboration has lasted 21 years and the group’s prestige continues to grow. All three artists lament that there are not enough groups like theirs to unite artists and the community as a whole through their creations.

“Go ahead,” says Pereira to those who might consider forming their own group: “It’s fantastic. It’s a blessing to the community at large. It’s a great hobby, it’s a way to discover things about yourself, and it’s a great way to meet people, especially if you’re retired.”



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