It’s March 12, 2020, and The Village of Wentworth Heights is bustling along Main Street, more vibrant today than is typical for an already vibrant Village. Main Street is alight with guests and residents, all eager to celebrate the artwork of resident and painter Ann Wingfield and the colourful strokes of her brush.
They are images of landscapes and seascapes, founded upon her love of nature. Some are almost replications of artists who inspired her when she first took up the craft, like Doug Mays or William Biddle, while others display the evolution of her talent and the uniqueness of the style that became hers as she honed her skills.
That she spent most of her life without having touched a paintbrush is hard to imagine as one surveys the vast collection along Main Street, and perhaps that is why today is so special. It wasn’t until after she retired from teaching that she took her first art class. As general manager Vanda Koukounakis points out at the show’s opening, the range of Ann’s work is a “testament to how your passion can come later in life and we shouldn’t give up pursuing what we enjoy and what fuels us.”
It was 17 years before that Ann chose to pursue a hobby that didn’t require physical strain. She started with watercolours in her first class at the retirement home she’d moved into and says she was so embarrassed with her first creation she almost didn’t go back.
Thankfully she did.
“Little did I realize then what an important part painting would take in my life,” Ann says. “It became a passion for me; I would paint two or three paintings a day just looking at things outside. All of a sudden, things outside had colour and vibrance or I’d see something on the lawn I had never seen before.”
She was hooked and continued to pursue her education through workshops and countless books on the processes of the artists she loved.
The paintings spread along Main Street this afternoon tell the story of her journey.
“This journey is still continuing,” Ann says, and this is the beauty of art. As with life, it is an ever-evolving gift. As we celebrate Arts and Aging Day Canada this 24th of September, the work of Ann Wingfield and countless other older adults who discovered new passion later in life is a reminder that it’s never too late to learn and grow.