Skip to main content

Artists Share How They Got Started at Oak Crest Arts & Crafts Show

January 24, 2012

PARKVILLE, MD---The Second Annual Oak Crest Arts & Crafts Show, held on January 18th, featured a talented array of resident painters, quilters and woodcarvers at the Erickson Living retirement community.
All told, seventeen residents and groups displayed their beautiful hand-made crafts and paintings to attendees in the community's Erickson Conference Center.
The mix of participants ranged from hobbyists to professionals, all with unique stories as to how their interest in art began.
Take oil painters LaVerne Barnett and Dorothy Toohey, members of the Crestview Artists at Oak Crest.
A former Perry Hall resident, Ms. Barnett has been painting for sixty years.  With strong local ties, she formed the Art Club in Perry Hall with a group of friends.  Through the years, they met at St. Michael Lutheran Church and Perry Hall United Methodist Church.
"It's great to have a lifelong hobby," stated Ms. Barnett.  "My passion for painting is as strong as ever.  When I see a scene that I'd like to paint, I can't wait until I put brush to canvas."
Ms. Toohey's interest in painting might have come from good genetics: her Mom attended the Maryland Institute of Art.  The Oak Crest resident honed her skills at the Three Arts Club on Charles Street.  But her training as a nurse at Mercy Hospital and raising a family put her hobby on hold.
In retirement, she found the time to rekindle her love of art.  "I tell people who might want to paint or draw to just get started and try it.  You might really surprise yourself, and it's a very rewarding hobby."
For Jeanne Hiss, her art career began at an early age as an art major at Forest Park.  She then attended the Maryland Institute of Art for fashion design.
Nowhere was wildfowl carving part of the plan until the day that she wanted to surprise her brother and sister-in-law with a duck carving for a wedding anniversary gift.  But, she had never carved wood so she sought an instructor to teach her the craft.
"I was the only woman in Dan Williams' woodcarving class," described Mrs. Hiss.  "By the end of the course, I could not only carve, but I also could decorate our pieces because I knew how to paint.  This gave me a leg up on the men."
And thus a career was born.
Along with her husband and business partner, Warren, Mrs. Hiss has attended trade shows across the nation, typically by invitation.  Her work has been purchased by people from Britain, France and Russia.
Before moving to Oak Crest, the couple lived in Havre de Grace, home of the storied Decoy Museum.  Mrs. Hiss is a lifetime member of the facility, where some of her pieces are on display.
"In any given month, I work on several pieces at once," said Mrs. Hiss.  "Between the carving and the minute detail in decorating, it requires patience, but the enjoyment is priceless.  I can't imagine life without it."
Duck carving has created quite the partnership between the couple of sixty-five years.  "I draw the design on the block of wood, and Warren cuts the block down to size.  He also does the bookwork," described Mrs. Hiss.
"We get along pretty well," she concluded, with a twinkle in her eye.
About Oak Crest: Oak Crest, managed and developed by Erickson Living, is a retirement community that provides worry-free living for America's seniors-the country's fastest growing population segment.  Erickson Living's financial value and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind.  Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into our continuum of care, lead to demonstrated resident benefits.  A robust complement of resident programs and facilities promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average.  For more information, please visit