Words and Photos by Jenny Watson
The Vale of Leven Mature Art group has run since the 1980s. They currently meet in the new Dalmonach Community Centre in Bonhill. Tutors Ivor Jackson and Dennis Day take a relaxed approach to guiding local novice artists, encouraging them to try new styles and develop existing skills.
Q: What do you love most about the group?
John: “People are helpful and very friendly. You get good help and tuition here so I am very proud of my work. We’ve been on a few trips too over the years which is great.”
Cuthbert: “The group provide the materials which meant I could try a few different styles until I found one I liked. It gets you out meeting other people interested in art. There’s companionship and a bit of bantering with other members. Ivor and Dennis are great tutors, I’ve learned a lot.”
Q: When did the group begin?
Ivor: “I don’t know exactly, I saw an advert in the newspaper around 1982. They were looking for an art tutor for the group as the previous tutor died. It was based in the Chest, Heart & Stroke club in Renton then. I’ve been painting since the 1960s after my wife bought me oil paints and I enrolled in night school at Vale of Leven Academy. I am not a trained tutor, all I am passing on is what I have learned myself. I didn’t think I would still be here today.”
Q: Tell me about the sessions.
Sandra: “We meet in the community centre every Friday from 10am – 2pm. Our members work on their paintings or get advice from Dennis or Ivor if they want. We have acrylic, watercolour, water based oil paints and pastels. There’s a great atmosphere here. Everybody helps everybody out. There’s no competition or anything. It gets people together, gets
them out the house, especially if they are living on their own or isolated. There’s always a cup of tea and someone to talk to.”
Q: Who can join the group?
Dennis: “Everyone in the group is over 50 years old, this creates a relaxed environment as everyone is here for a little R’n’R and to have some time away from their everyday lives. Anyone with an interest in art and a desire to learn is welcome to come along and give it a try.”
The group currently have a few spaces for new members. To find out more call Dalmonach Community Centre on 01389 758208