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A former classroom at the Moore Community Center buzzes with conversation when the painters gather on Wednesday mornings to work on individual projects in a communal setting.
“There are people who say they come just for the social aspect, but we do paint,” said Trudie Van Lente, one of the group’s founding members.
There are about 17 painters in the group, although not everyone attends each session. Skill levels range from beginners to more experienced artists, including a few retired art teachers.
The painters come from a variety of local communities, including Winter Harbor, Franklin, Surry, Blue Hill and Ellsworth.
Anyone is welcome. The current members are predominantly senior women.
Few men have dropped in.
“They’re afraid of us,” joked Wednesday Painter Judy McKenney.
The Wednesday Painters began meeting three and a half years ago when five women began painting together at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ellsworth.
The group now operates under the umbrella of Friends in Action, a nonprofit dedicated to helping elderly and disabled Hancock County residents live independently with a high quality of life.
Sessions are held at the community center on State Street from 9 a.m. to noon each Wednesday except on holidays and school snow days.
Members bring their own supplies and paintings they are working on or have recently completed.
They post their work on the chalkboard when they want group input.
“People look at it and give their opinions on whether it is finished — yes, no or maybe,” explained Anita TeHennepe, Van Lente’s sister and fellow Wednesday Painter.
“We encourage each other a lot and do some critique,” she added.
Suggestions are delivered kindly and constructively.
The artists paint a wide range of subjects, including portraits, landscapes and flowers.
The group exhibited together at the Ellsworth Public Library last November and three members’ work is on display there this month.
Van Lente, Sharon Jeffery and Trish Worthen are featured in the “Landscapes, Stones and Botanicals” show.
A Wednesday Painters calendar is in the works. Proceeds will benefit Friends in Action.
The group hopes to release the calendar in October.
Ellsworth native Cyndi Wood is the new media editor at fenceviewer.com. She began her reporting career in 2007, when she joined the staff of The Ellsworth American.Website: ellsworthamerican.com