OVERLAND PARK, KS (January 6, 2015) -- Painting is more than a pastime for 20 creative Tallgrass Creek retirement community residents who gather weekly to hone their artistic talents.
The participating artists meet every Wednesday in the communitys classroom for two-hour painting classes taught by Alysia Quisenberry, a former art teacher in the local Blue Valley School District with a college degree in painting and printmaking. Quisenberry, who is the daughter of late Kansas City Royals pitcher Dan Quisenberry, has taught acrylic/oil painting classes at Tallgrass Creek for four years and enjoys sharing her love of art with residents.
"I love watching my students fall in love with painting," says Quisenberry. "It is amazing to watch their growth as artists. They are always surprised and excited at how quickly it begins to happen."
Several of the residents in Quisenberrys classes, such as Carolyn Stiles, are first-time painters and are surprised at their own ability.
"These classes have brought out a part of me I didnt know existed," says Stiles. "I find it surprising, meaningful, and rewarding."
Stiles began painting three months ago. After just a few lessons, she painted a landscape she gave to her daughter as a wedding present.
"Carolyn is a natural at color mixing," notes Quisenberry. "Her colors are beautiful."
Another novice painter, Dottie McCrossen, began painting a year ago and says painting has changed her perspective.
"I see things around me that Ive never noticed so closely before," says McCrossen. "I see clouds differently and notice other things such as how beautiful the trees are without their leaves."
Quisenberry teaches both a morning and afternoon art class. Having two classes allows for smaller groups and more individual attention. Residents pay a nominal fee for the two-hour art classes, which are divided into five-week sessions with a week off between sessions.
Quisenberry begins each class with a lesson about art concepts such as how to paint trees, city scenes, shadows, and moving water. The residents then paint at individual stations while Quisenberry makes rounds answering questions and helping with technique.
Phyllis Koropp has taken art classes at Tallgrass Creek for three years and says Quisenberrys classes are a highlight of her week. Phyllis is known for her beautiful landscapes.
"Painting allows you to experience nature more fully," says Koropp, a former photographer. "There is so much beauty in nature, and you dont want it to pass you by."
Tallgrass Creek artists, both those who take classes and those who paint on their own, are encouraged to showcase their art outside the classroom. Paintings and other art projects always adorn both walls outside the classroom and provide a visual vista of color, style, and subject matter.
"We highlight art each month by displaying different themes or artists," says Quisenberry. "In March, we will show paintings from all of our beginning artists. It will be a great show."
Though Quisenberry loves painting (she has sold several of her own pieces), her classes at Tallgrass Creek are not just about teaching art.
"While the talent here continues to astound me, its the friendships Ive made that are so rewarding," says Quisenberry. "Seeing life through my students eyes both personally and artistically has helped me grow as an artist and as a person."