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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
This summer, dozens of the town’s seniors will have their art showcased at the Wellesley Free Library’s gallery for the annual senior art show. Some of the featured art will be paintings from the Tolles Parsons Center’s acrylic painting class.
The participants meet weekly for eight sessions. During the two-hour class, instructed by Maris Platais, the artists threw on smocks and old shirts over their regular clothes and began mixing paints to carefully apply to their canvases.
Throughout the class, Maris offered his knowledge and expertise in painting to give the students tips and suggestions for an overall better piece.
“We all love him. He’s very good: a very nice and talented man,” one participant said of the instructor.
“Sometimes he does demonstrations, too. He just walks around and gives you your critiques and tells you what he would suggest. Everybody’s at a different point in their skills.”
In fact, some of the participants had no prior experience painting before they joined the class. However, one would never be able to guess. Each of the paintings is utterly fantastic.
“Maris has been teaching acrylic painting for, I want to say, over a dozen years at the Center,” said senior activities coordinator Ashley Shaheen.
“We were originally in contact with him from one of the residents. I think he was teaching at her house, and then it just grew, so I guess they brought it to the community center, and now we have it here. It’s a great class. He offers individual critiques, so everyone is working on a different piece. There’s so much talent.”
The majority of the painters bring a reference photo from which to work from and off of which to base their acrylic painting. Some of the photos are landscapes the participants captured themselves, and others are pictures from old calendars.
Although some of the reference photos are similar in theme in and color, the artists embrace their own style, resulting in completely unique paintings.
The Tolles Parsons Center also offers watercolor and Chinese brush painting classes. With the classes’ success and popularity among the seniors, the Council on Aging is looking to expand its fine arts offerings to attract even more participants.
For now, though, the acrylic painters’ work will keep the community in awe.