Artist of the Month: Maria Augelli Grudeski

Dr. Maria Augelli Grudeski, shown here with a painting entitled Holiday Door, which leaves a legacy timeline.

By Maria Augelli Grudeski

Most of us “featured artists” now are on our second profile here at The Hub. Kudos to Dolly Michalczyk for making this happen, as her organizational skills and goodwill are responsible for this monthly feature in The Dunmorean.

My array of paintings in the photo are centered around holidays, including a fall pumpkin, Christmas tree, Easter egg, a flag representing patriotic days, my featured painting of a Holiday door, and Valentine hearts which represent my favorite holiday.

In the fall of 2014 I realized a beautifully ornate Christmas card and went with it as my holiday painting. What a dream! Fast forward to spring of 2015–I will still painting “the door.”

Jill Swersie, our supportive art instructor, motivated me to complete the door. Her famous saying is “There are no mistakes in art–you can paint over oils.” Her words still resonate with me.

Summer 2015 saw the final completion of the painting, although sometimes I still wonder. How about painting snow in 95 degree weather? The painting would be ready for our Fall Art Show that year, one of many social gatherings we have as an art class. They are so much fun. We are “Astro Artists.”

Together, we celebrate Christmas/December holidays with superb entertainment, since we are talented musicians and vocalists as well. Jill is also kind enough to open her inviting Pocono home, letting us gather at her domain for our annual barbeque. We are also “Astro Chefs.”

Some of our paintings are available for purchase by contacting the Dunmore Activity Hub directed by Allison Boga. The price is right to buy one of our paintings! We also thank Allison for her dedication!

My classmate and friend Marie Barbuti has been a support in my artistry, giving so many helpful art tips.

Attending oil painting classes at the Hub has many dimensions. We have realized great friendships and social circles. The hub offers myriad activities year-round, including winter walking in the gym, yoga, knitting, sketching, ballroom dancing, and bus trips.

So I say, :Stop by, audit a class or two, and maybe you will join us. You will be so glad you did.

Artist of the Month: Mary Kay Hopkins

Artist of Month

Hopkins is shown with a variety of her old and new paintings. The painting over her right shoulder, entitled “Trees at Nay Aug,” was her first painting back in 1982.

By Dolly Michalczyk

As a long- time member of the Dunmore Senior Citizen’s Center painting class, Mary Kay Hopkins has served as a mentor to many people, including this writer.  She is welcoming and encouraging, offering many fine ideas to the other artists and to the class. She has exhibited her wonderful work at our art shows and has sold several pieces.

Mary Kay herself says, “I am so very proud to be an art student for 12 years studying under Jill Swersie, at the Dunmore Community Center. I have learned more than I ever thought I could have.  

“I am inspired by Jill, our  teacher, who continues year after year to bring out the artist in all of us.  She is not only our teacher, but also a friend. The Center is a wonderfully warm place largely because of Allison Boga, our director.  She is a warm and engaging professional who makes us feel so special.” 

Mary Kay notes that some of the pictures displayed in her photo are new, while some are old.  She explains, “The one over my right shoulder I named Trees at Nay Aug. It was my very first attempt back in 1982.  I am inspired by nature and the human form.

“Much has happened in my life over the past few years.   I am honored to have all of my friends in class to lean on.   I have returned to my beloved profession as a transcriptionist.  Life is good!”

Artist of the Month: Dolly Michalczyk

Artist Dolly Michalczyk

Dolly Michalczyk has often been inspired by her travels and by her grandchildren, Maura, Joel, and Kara. Here she poses with some of their paintings, shown clockwise: The Wedding-Italy 2016; Sugarplum Fairies, Ships Ahoy, We Are Family; First Recital, Kara; All-Star Joel, and Beach Baby Maura.

Dolly Michalczyk, the March Artist of the Month at the Dunmore Activity Hub, has enjoyed art appreciation, drawing and sketching since her youth. Two of her favorite memories are Impressionist Art tours in Paris and Provence, France, with her husband, Joe.  

Dolly says that she was always afraid of the permanence of oil painting until encouraged by painter Mary Ann McClenaghan to begin painting at the Dunmore Senior Center.  

Under the direction of teacher Jill Swersie, she learned that “you can always paint over it” and correct mistakes when using oils. She has been painting with the group since her retirement from social work in 2009, and has participated in many First Fridays, art shows and exhibitions–even selling a few of her paintings!

Dolly says, “Jill’s knowledge and guidance are key to the program, but her support and friendship is an added bonus.   Her phone calls, cheery hand-drawn get well cards and posters of her artists, signed by members of the class have nurtured many through surgeries, illnesses, and hard times.”

Through the class, Dolly has made many new friends and reunited with old ones–even long lost pals from South Scranton Junior High School who moved from the area many years ago, Jan Mountford Lauer and Mary K. Massenkeil White.

This is the fourth year of this column featuring local artists and art which Dolly originated, at the suggestion of fellow painter Joe Bartos. Dolly schedules the artists, based on their longevity in the class, collects and edits their data, often writing their stories and even photographing them, before submitting their information to the Dunmorean.

Dolly’s travels and her family serve as constant sources of inspiration and pride, particularly her grandchildren, Maura, Joel, and Kara Dolly is thankful to Alison Boga, executive director of the Dunmore Senior Center for all she does for the group, Jill Swersie for her talent, insight, and encouragement, and to  Maureen Hart, editor of the Dunmorean, for her interest and support in printing this feature.

Seniors are invited to Jill’s sketching class at noon on Mondays and to her oil painting class at 1 p.m. at the Dunmore Center.