HAZEL WRIGHT started painting and sketching in earnest 15 years ago in Ardmore.
At the Senior Center.
"I didn't really start getting into painting until I partially retired," said Wright, 91, of Bryn Mawr. Wright was among dozens of older artists who displayed their talents and creations yesterday at Rembrandt's Restaurant & Bar, in Fairmount. Several combos of older musicians from the area serenaded them.
The event was the culmination of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's May celebration of Older Americans Month. Other seniors are displaying work at the Senior Citizens Center on Broad Street near Lombard and the Watermark at 17th and Vine streets.
Wright - who attended with her 65-year-old daughter, Alice - paints in vibrant watercolors. Her piece "Hanging Out Clothes," displayed yesterday at Rembrandt's, features two women airing their laundry in a tropical breeze.
This wasn't the first time that Wright's paintings had been displayed publicly, her daughter said. After an initial show sponsored by the PCA in Harrisburg, she began regularly submitting her pieces for PCA shows.
The older-artists' series began seven years ago, a spin-off from annual displays at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, event organizers said.
Even before the event became a separate show, Wright painted regularly. She has churned out scores of paintings since she picked up a paintbrush 15 years ago.
"Sometimes I take a week," she said. "Four days, if I keep at it - but usually [a piece] takes about two weeks."
She prefers acrylics, and paints during the day using natural light - otherwise, her glaucoma causes her to misjudge colors and make spatial errors, she said.
And when she makes mistakes, her daughter is there to point them out.
"She's a very good critic," Wright said, "She tells me my mistake - [sometimes] she draws right on my painting, if I'm not doing it right."
Another artist who exhibited yesterday, Stella Renzi, 83, spent hours as a child scratching chalk portraits into the streets around her South Philadelphia home.
But Renzi's family couldn't afford to send her to art school, said her daughter Janis Glenn. Instead, she became a homemaker.
"When she turned about 50, I sent her to a couple of workshops," Glenn said. "She said, 'I finally feel like I'm home.' "
Renzi, a daughter of Italian immigrants who now lives in Mayfair, began painting after her own children moved out.
"I was an empty-nester," she said. "I had nothing to do."
She created an oil painting, "Mother and Child," for the show.