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Artist in a new medium

Watercolorist is now looking through the lens

Dorrie Anshel
April 22, 2020

Janice Edelman's philosophy of life is simple: dive in and trust that it will all work out. "If you don't try new things, how will you know if you like them?" she asks. "I jump in and worry about how deep the water is later."

Her intrepid spirit and some important realizations made moving to Ann's Choice easy. After 39 years in her Huntingdon Valley house, life was beginning to impose limits. "I was completely independent but had stopped driving at night. It was difficult getting out in bad weather," she recalls. "Those signs said it was time for a change."

She continues, "My friends at Ann's Choice were happy all the time! I wanted some of that 'joy juice' they were drinking," she says with a chuckle. She sold her house in one day and moved in August 2019.

Janice dove into an active, carefree life at Ann's Choice. "People are so warm and friendly, it's easy to get involved," she says. "And the staff is wonderful. No matter the request, they're right on it and treat it with importance. I can't say enough good things about living here." 

An artful life

Janice spent 25 years as an artist, creating beautiful fashion illustrations for Wanamaker's and Strawbridge & Clothiers. She sketched, and then she filled in the drawings with vibrant watercolors. "Of course, newspapers printed in black and white back then, so no one saw the watercolor work," she says. 

At her late husband's request, she joined him in retirement but found it boring. An art class at the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill launched her second career. "The instructor was often ill," she recalls. "Whenever he was absent, I'd offer suggestions to the other students. After he passed away, Woodmere offered me the job. I taught there for 14 years."

At the same time, Janice was creating watercolor pieces of her own. She exhibited at juried shows around the world and says her inclusion in Who's Who in American Art is the pinnacle of her career. "It's an honor to be in the same volume as the Wyeths and so many other incredible artists." 

Her 31-year tenure with Retired Executives and Professionals (REAP), a social group that promotes continuing education, was another highlight. The weekly meetings provided a cultural outlet; she lectured often, and actively participated in the art and literature groups. She served as president and on the board for seven years.  

An entirely new adventure

While she no longer teaches, Janice continues painting and is active in the Ann's Choice art and photography clubs. She volunteers as a resident ambassador at events for prospective community members. An avid billiards player, she joins in for spirited games several times a week. "If you're bored here, you'd be bored anywhere," she smiles. 

Janice's newest passion is operating a camera in the TV studio, something she'd never done before. She quickly mastered what she describes as a "gigantic thingamajig with lots of buttons to push." Now, she assists on shoots whenever she's needed. 

She also is producing a new program showcasing residents' personal collections. "It could be dolls, sugar tongs, boxes, whatever means enough to them to bring to their new home," she says. Fellow community member Cheryl Lynne Plunkett conducts the interviews while Janice records. "It's a mammoth undertaking, but we're really excited about it," she says.

In addition to loving the community, her new friends, and stimulating hobbies, Janice is extremely content in her two-bedroom, one bath Flagstaff apartment home. She says, "I came for a tour willy-nilly, and it was available. Like everything else, I jumped in and said, 'I'll take it.' And like most things in my life, this new adventure worked out."

She laughs, "I've drunk a lot of the joy juice they're serving, and I couldn't be happier."

To learn more about vibrant senior living at Ann's Choice, request your free brochure and get the scoop on floor plans, pricing, and so much more.