Art is a Form of Love at Tansley Woods

Village hosts Gala art show featuring resident artists

By Kristian Partington

On the evening of March 1 with a late-winter blizzard raging outside, the Village of Tansley Woods shone with warmth as team members and volunteers transformed the Town Hall into a fine art gallery featuring more than 90 paintings by resident artists. The exhibit showcased the progression of talent nurtured over the course of nearly two years under the guidance of instructor Diana Gurd-Trask, while celebrating the power of art to inspire those who create and absorb it. 

Painting of a fall scene in an small town
An example of the talent of Tansley Woods resident, John Burke.

“Art is a form of love,” says Alexey Becquer De Dios, the recreation team member who spearheaded the art show planning. “It is the silent poetry that frees the dream of every soul on the earth. The art class has given them a chance to practice and learn new techniques, a chance to make new friends and a chance to shine again.”

Alexy brims with pride as he considers the work of the residents, and he felt it was important to honour their talent by showcasing their work. In doing so, perhaps others will be inspired to step outside of their comfort zones to express themselves in artistic fashion.

Diana has travelled the world throughout her career and seen firsthand how others are inspired by the work of artists, both renowned and little known. In her remarks to the gathered audience, she pointed out a collection of four paintings at the front of the room. Resident John Burke created the first, she explained – a large, beautifully detailed village scene, dominated by a church steeple under a blue, autumn sky. His granddaughters created the other three, called to paint after seeing what their grandfather could do, despite the fact that Parkinson’s disease presents other challenges in his life and he was 50 before he ever picked up a paint brush.

Some people are simply inspired when they see what others can do in a fun, supportive group where there really is no right or wrong. As Diana says: “There is no bad art, there really isn’t.

“I guess I started them out on the path but, boy, I learned a lot from everybody,” she adds. “A lot of people would come in and you could tell they weren’t feeling very well, and by the time they left, they’d say, ‘I wasn’t in pain when I was doing this – it went away.’ ”

John says he finds comfort both in the act of painting and in he camaraderie of the group. “It’s wonderful, because everybody flatters everybody else,” he says. “It becomes a little bit of a love in. It’s something in common that you have.”  

John sitting in his wheelchair in front of other paintings by residents with team members ad visitor behind him
The featured artists at The Village of Tansley Woods. A gala celebration
was held March 1. featuring more than 90 works of art by residents.

When asked what he loves most about painting, there is no hesitation.

“The colours," he answers; "studying the colour wheel and picking out colours that are bold and splashy, that look good together and complement each other.” Painting can be difficult, at times, he admits. He has to fight the shakiness his illness causes, sometimes holding he brush with both hands, but he perseveres and his effort and skill, like so many of the others on display, is well worth the gala celebration.