In 2019, Concordia’s calendar featured amazing resident artists – some who studied art in college and made a career out of it, some who won awards for their paintings and even those who always enjoyed art but didn’t truly get to paint until coming to Concordia. The good news is that the first group only scratched the surface of the talent found at Concordia. For 2020, our calendar featured gorgeous paintings from 11 new artists.
Titled “Brush Strokes 2,” the calendar featured a different painting each month by a resident who lives at one of our locations. We introduced you to the artist for each month, and we are wrapping up this series with December 2020’s artist, Ann Culleiton of the Concordia Haven Apartments on the Cabot campus.
Growing up as the eldest of seven children in Natrona Heights, PA, Ann was artistically inclined from an early age.
“I always liked it, and I took art classes in high school,” she said. “I worked on the yearbook and even sat in on some oil painting classes my uncle took through night school at the local high school.”
Ann found use for her creative talents throughout her life, designing plenty of bulletin boards at Blessed Sacrament in Natrona Heights, working as a teacher’s aide at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Tarentum, PA, teaching one of her brothers to paint and creating oil paintings of her own. All this, while raising her four boys with her husband, Skip. One of her sons and one of her three grandchildren are also artistically inclined.
She has also entered art shows, won prizes, sold paintings and even completed a few commissions.
“I’ve never had any true technical training in an art school or anything like that, but for me art has just been kind of a lifestyle,” Ann said. “I’ve always been interested in art, especially design and colors.”
Though Ann had mostly painted with oil paint her whole life, she took a leap of faith after moving to Concordia and decided to try watercolors with the Haven Art Class.
“It’ll be five years since we moved to Concordia this July, and I started with the class shortly after moving,” Ann said. “I really like it here, and though I was nervous to start the class because I hadn’t worked with watercolors before, I’m glad I did. Our class is great because we can learn things together.”
The class has practiced many different techniques together, and they even discovered one that involves a surprising tool.
“Watercolor is a lot more challenging than oil paint in some ways, because once it’s dry it’s set,” Ann explained. “We found out in class though that if you wet a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, you can actually use that to erase watercolor paint – it does more than just clean!”
While Ann has made new friends in the class, it also reconnected her to an old one.
“One day when my sons were young, one of their friends was visiting at our house,” Ann said. “He looked at some of my paintings on the walls and said, ‘Mrs. C, I think you paint like Monet.’ That made me feel great. Years later after we moved to Concordia, we were having a Haven Art Class show, and I saw a young fellow there who looked so familiar to me. After trying to place him, it turned out that it was the very same boy who said I painted like Monet – his mother-in-law is in the class with me – so he came and gave me a big hug. It was so nice to see somebody I hadn’t seen in such a long time.”
Her painting for December in Concordia’s 2020 calendar depicts a snowy scene in Vermont.
“I did it all in one sitting,” Ann said. “I’m very proud of it because I did it all on my own – I’m getting more confidence now. It’s taken me about four years, but I think I have the feeling for watercolors now.”
To learn more about the retirement living options offered at the Concordia Haven Apartments on our Cabot campus, visit www.ConcordiaHaven.org or schedule a tour today. Call Peggy at 724-352-5378 or message us through the contact form on our website.
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