At Bellingham Senior Center, Anyone Can Paint
Feb 28, 2019 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
Shown (R-L) are Joanne McAssey of Franklin. Instructor Darrell Crow, and George Rezendes and Bill Goodwin, both of Bellingham
story & photo by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Contributing Writer
The room closest to the parking lot at the Bellingham Senior Center offers lots of natural light, a great setting for a place to learn to paint. Canvases on easels were set up, ready for the students to get to work on their landscapes, and soon instructor Darrell Crow was demonstrating a technique to keep the canvases wet longer while the students worked to add oil paint to their canvases.
The class, Anyone Can Paint, led by artist Darrell Crow, a Bellingham resident, has been ongoing for the past ten years, offered for a modest fee to anyone interested in learning how to paint. Crow delights in convincing those who think they will never be able to paint that they can, indeed, transform a blank canvas into a beautiful landscape.
The class meets every Wednesday at 1PM, and each session includes three classes. Check with the Senior Center for when the next session will begin. The cost for a 3-class session is $25 to pay for brushes, paint, canvas, and instruction. The classes have been supported by funding from the Bellingham Cultural Council since Crow first began offering them at the Senior Center ten years ago.
Crow explained that he began painting on a dare. He was one of those people who feel sure that they would never be able to paint, but when he tried to purchase a painting at the Taunton flea market, the people at the market refused to sell it to him. Instead, they dared him to try painting what he had so admired. They sat him down with a blank canvas, and soon Crow realized that what he’d produced was pretty good. He soon quit his well-paying job in the computer marketing field and learned, through the school of hard knocks, how to make a go of it at painting.
“My wife was not convinced that this would work, but I learned that to be successful you have to be good, be fast and teach well. You also have to market yourself. I now have multiple videos that have been watched widely, and up until recently I had a crew of 8 people working for me to produce multiple instructional DVDs on painting techniques.” The DVDs are available at http://darrellcrow.com.
Joe Woodman, of Webster, who was attending the class, explained that he had been a tattoo artist until arthritis in his hands prevented him from practicing this art any longer. “I thought I still had some art left in me, so I thought I would try painting,” he said.
“I try to show the how, but also the why, of landscapes,” Crow explained. “I try to get students used to all the brushes. I have about 13 brushes, but with practice, you can create a painting with just one brush. When I look back, I know I have made a difference in people’s lives. It’s been a fun ride.”
He turned back to his students, ready to offer gentle suggestions and advice on how to better handle their brushes. The teacher was in his element, immersed in the world of creating.