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Masonic Village residents display artistic skills at Sewickley Public Library

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Masonic Village resident Edie Keeney adds a touch of black paint to a painting during an informal art session at the Aleppo facility Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Keeney's work is part of an exhibit by Masonic Village residents on display at Sewickley Public Library.
Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
One of John Francis's woodcarvings on display at Masonic Village Tuesday, July 16, 2013. Francis said he only started wood carving 28 years ago when he retired. His work is part of an exhibit by Masonic Village residents on display at Sewickley Public Library.
Masonic Village resident Will White sketches during an informal art session at the Aleppo facility Tuesday, July 16, 2013. White and other artists from Masonic Village are part of an art exhibit on display at Sewickley Public Library.

Will White said his paintings don't really have specific meanings; the ideas just come to him.

White, 85, is one of seven artists who live at Masonic Village senior community in Aleppo who are displaying 16 pieces of their art in Sewickley Public Library's newest exhibit to run through Aug. 17.

One of his watercolor pieces in the show focuses on “lots of figures all of the same person demonstrating all sorts of different attitudes like compassion, happiness and depression, all under the title of ‘I'm Only Human.'”

“Tall Tales” features a man reclining and reading a book while a giraffe stands behind him.

“Things just come into my imagination, and I put them down,” he said.

White and his wife, Lynn, a weaver who owns her own loom, have been living at Masonic for 10 years, moving to the area from New Jersey to be near their daughter.

Working with mostly words in the advertising business in New York when he was younger, White said he was a “doodler,” not finding out he had a talent until after he retired 20 years ago. White's work also is featured and for sale at www.fineartamerica.com.

Randi Morgan, library exhibits curator, said the new exhibit is an example of how the impulse of art happens at all ages.

“For some people, they haven't had the time or leisure to make art and now in retirement, they can,” she said.

“And you wouldn't guess the ages of the artists.”

Morgan called the artwork of Edie Keeney, 83, “shimmering and wonderful.”

“She has not had any art training, so it seems to have freed her to try whatever she wants,” Morgan said.

Bob Pierce, 79, a former art teacher at a school near Buffalo, N.Y., who has been an artist most of his life, has two pieces in the show.

A 20-inch-by-30-inch canvas features a watercolor of two sleeping pigs, an idea he got while he and his wife, Charlotte were laughing about people having pigs for pets.

At the time, they were living in Key West, Fla., where Pierce was working as a professional artist, displaying and selling his art in several galleries.

The smaller piece features an ink drawing of a chipmunk created when someone asked him to draw something “fuzzy,” he said.

The Pierces moved to the area a few years ago to be close to their daughter and her family.

Many pieces of Pierce's art work can be seen in his daughter's primary care office in Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital.

John Francis, 89, is exhibiting three wood-burning pieces featuring pictures of a squirrel, a barn and tiger. The images were created using a wood-burning pen.

“You can adjust the temperature to burn light or heavy lines,” he said.

Francis, who grew up in Blairsville, said the only thing he carved before he retired from his job as electric line engineer from Duquesne was a dog he saw in Popular Mechanics magazine in 1936.

After retiring, he began to take wood-burning classes.

His specialty is carved birds— so far 10 ducks and 45 varieties of birds, creating feathers with the wood-burning pen and then painting over them with thin layers of acrylic paint.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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