|Karen Close hangs up another piece of work created at heART Fit.|
It happens far too often. We sit down to draw or paint something, then, sadly, begin to compare our creations to something done by someone we deem more creative.
For many of us, it's enough to make you think you simply can't do art.
But for the past five years, every Tuesday morning at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, people are discovering there is a lot more to doing art then being able to draw a pony.
Walking into the art room one Tuesday morning, the first thing I'm struck by is the sheer diversity of those who have come to paint. From teens to seniors, affluent to just barely scraping by, everyone in the room has come together to learn to just let go and create.
And that's exactly how Karen Close wanted it when she first started the group.
"We wanted it to be for everyone - for all ages and for all income levels," said Close.
Now, they have hundreds of names on their list of participants, "from all walks of life who drop in and then drop out," she said.
There is no charge for participants, however Close said they are always happy and willing to take donations.
"Some people can only give a little, some are able to give a lot, and if they give a donation over $100, they get a tax receipt," she said.
Close said, they also get a lot of supplies donated. In fact, their real expense is paying the rent each month at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
For Rome Donati and her friend, Lorraine Duske, it is their first time visiting the studio and both agree, it won't be their last.
Donati was busy swirling her fingers around inside a heart shape she'd created on her paper.
"I started with a brush, but then the fingers got into the show," she said.
How long had it been since the last time she'd finger-painted?
"I do it more often than I care to admit," she replied with a smile.
The two had learned about heART Fit from a friend and wanted to come play with the art supplies. And play was certainly the name of the game with Donati's paint-coated fingers swirling as Duske created her first piece by dropping paint onto a paper and blowing it around using a straw.
"Lorraine and I were talking, about how all those magical bits of creativity are re-awakened through being here," said Donati.
"Before I started kindergarten, my mom would put watercolour on paper and we'd blow it with a straw, then fold the paper over and get all sorts of great designs," said Duske.
Before making their first brush strokes, Close explained to the group that when a person sits down to paint, their feelings will get transferred through the gestures of their hands.
"People think it's in their head," said Close, "but what we get people to do is to relax into their bodies and paint with just their hands."
Close believes that somewhere along the line, people got things confused. She is trying to fix that. "Painting is the language of the heart, that's why we call this heART Fit," she said.
For Duske, the experience is like a spiritual release. "This is just such a nice release for people who have no talent on a musical instrument or anything like that, and it's safe."
Sigi Schlosser is somewhat of a regular at heART Fit. "I come here to get inspired," she said.
Schlosser discovered heART fit by accident one day, while wandering through the Rotary Centre for the Arts.
"One day, I was walking by and saw them in here," she said, "but I figured it would be too expensive."
Once she discovered it was free, she realized, "It was something I can afford to do."
On the day I drop by, she brought a friend with her who is a writer, not a painter, but it takes him no time at all to get into the paint pots and before long, he's happily absorbed in the art of creating.
"I told him yesterday, this is the funniest thing you can do on a Tuesday. Every time I come here and paint even for just a little bit, I leave feeling a thousands times
better," said Schlosser.
Many others have just wandered in while touring the building.
"People just come in because they can feel the great creative energy when they walk past the door," said Close.
Close will be heading off to do grandmother duties for a few months, however the program is continuing along with co-founder Brenda Valnicek.
Anyone is welcome to join in the fun, just drop by the Rotary Centre for the Arts any Tuesday starting at 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. No need to bring anything along, just an open mind and your fingers.
What: heART Fit
Where: Rotary Centre for the Arts
When: Every Tuesday from
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.