By BETSY BETHEL, For Prime Times COLERAIN — Ninety-year-old Sophie McKay never put a brush to canvas until earlier this year. The Beacon House resident seemed tickled to have the opportunity, provided by Colerain resident Terri Scheid, who has been visiting local nursing homes to teach classes in acrylics. “I like that I could try and see what I could do. I never did anything like that. With her encouragement, i said why not? I gave it a shot,” said McKay, who seemed tickled with the colorful painting she created. “It’s just been wonderful what I’ve experienced, and what they experience,” said Scheid, 38, who received an associate in arts degree from Ohio University Eastern in 2006. “I just feel God’s directing me in this,” she said, referring to her visits to the centers, which so far have included Good Shepherd Nursing Home and Bishop Hodges Continuous Care Center in Wheeling; Park Health Center and Beacon House in St. Clairsville; and Shadyside Care Center. Anywhere from four to 14 “students” attend the classes, and she has been asked to return to several of the centers. She has been to Beacon House four times, doing both acrylics and ceramics, at the residents’ request. “They’ve been exploring different things about the art world and the different mediums,” said Sandy Warrick, Beacon House activities director. “How you can sit down and it relaxes you, and that’s what our residents find enjoyable about it.” She has been pleasantly surprised at the turnout for Scheid’s classes. She hopes to display the residents’ artwork in a show for family and friends. Resident Mary Elizabeth Duffy, 92, said she has worked with acrylics, watercolors, charcoal and ceramics — “a little bit of everything.” She took art classes while a student at the College of Wooster. Asked if she enjoyed Scheid’s classes, she said: “Yes, I do. That’s the one thing (activity) I enjoy.” “I love it,” said Lois Custer, 84, who is originally from McMechen. “I’m really interested in it.” She said her daughter painted at Oglebay Institute and gave her a basket of paints after she returned to work. She looks forward to breaking them out. Scheid said she encourages students, whether experienced or not, to “paint what’s in your heart,” such as a place they visited as a child, a home, a gift they’d been given, a landscape. One man, she said, painted the farm he used to own. “By the end of the class, he was just smiling from ear to ear and just teary-eyed,” she said. Abstract scenes also are encouraged. A man who had been a construction worker earlier in life was “giggling” about participating, she said. He started playing with the colors, streaking them across his pallette. She held up a sheet of paper and encouraged him to do the same thing on it. “In the end, it was just this beautiful abstract,” she said.
Displaying some of the artwork created during Terri Scheid’s art classes are Beacon House residents, front row from left, Carol Jenewein, Lois Custer, Mary Elizabeth Duffy, Sophie McKay; back row from left, activities director Sandy Warrick, resident Claire Swanson and Scheid.