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Art exhibit at Senior Center

by Lex Thomas

The Sterling Senior Center is currently exhibiting the paintings of artist Carleen DeBlois, a Leominster resident who took her first art class when she retired 16 years ago at the age of 68 from her position as a senior executive secretary at ITT Surprenant, a position she held for 22 years.

“I saw an advertisement for an art class at the senior center in Clinton,” she says. “It was a still life class, and it was the first art class I had ever taken, and I haven’t stopped painting ever since.”

DeBlois started with acrylics, then later moved on to oils. She has had one-woman shows in several local venues, including the Bartlett Gallery in Lancaster and Bigelow Library in Clinton, and has exhibited works at the Worcester Art Museum, the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, and others.

DeBlois says she sets up challenges for herself, which helps her to learn new techniques and keeps her work fresh. “These days, I’m challenging myself by painting glass objects,” she says. “It’s difficult to make glass look real in a painting.”

She also likes to combine elements from different photographs, coming up with her own unique composition. Her inspirations come from her many interests, including her love of travel. She especially enjoys painting the ocean and seascapes in Ogunquit, Maine, where she spends several weeks each year. She has set up her easel along the Marginal Way in Maine, and painted in Tuscany.

Despite her prolific creative output, DeBlois doesn’t paint every day. She’s belongs to a garden club, cares for the flowers at her church, and plays bocce. She enjoys spending time with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. Some days, there’s simply not enough time left over to paint.

Her exhibit at the Sterling Senior Center includes 44 oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings, ranging from still life and landscapes, to dramatic ocean scenes and mood pieces. Her palette is bright and colorful, and her composition is often intriguing. All pieces are available for sale.

DeBlois is especially delighted to exhibit in Sterling, because her daughter lived here for 20 years. “Sterling is special to me,” she says.

She’s also pleased to exhibit at the Senior Center, and doesn’t hide her own age, a venerable 84 years. “I want seniors to know there’s lots to do other than watch television,” she says. “It’s never too late to try something new, something different.”

For DeBlois, that has meant launching an unexpected and thoroughly gratifying new career.

DeBlois’ exhibit, “Brush Strokes, Paint and Pallet,” is on display until April 30 at the Sterling Senior Center, 36 Muddy Pond Road, Sterling. Free and open to the public.

Photo by Richard Maki: (Center left) Artist Carleen DeBlois greets guests at Senior Center