Artist of the Month: Lillian Banick

Lillian Banick, February Artist of the Month at the Dunmore Activity Center, is shown with three of her paintings, from left:  “Lake Scranton”, “Paris,” and “Horse Frolicking.”  

Lillian Banick is one of the most dedicated painters at the painting class at Dunmore Activity Center.  She and her sister, Lucille, were even seen stopping at the center for painting tips during the last COVID opening.

Lillian always admired art and her story is memorable.  

“I started oil painting while working with the United States Foreign Service,” Lillian explains. “I was stationed in countries around the world, but I believe I took my first art lessons while serving in India. Over the course of my career with the State Department, I painted landscapes and cityscapes of places that captured my imagination in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, etc. After retirement, I didn’t pick up a brush for many years.” 

The above quote was shared by her proud nephew, Brian Petula, Esq. who lovingly added,” I enjoy looking at my aunt’s paintings of the Taj Mahal, places she visited in the Rhine, the view from her embassy apartment in Hong Kong, etc. 

“Each painting reminds us of her many memorable stories and adventures of service around the world. For example, in India Aunt Lil worked with Mother Teresa helping place some of the most disadvantaged orphans with families in the United States. 

“I have one of Aunt Lil’s paintings of an old German village hanging in my living room. It is a daily reminder of how proud I am of her service and contributions to our country.”

When Lillian discovered that the Dunmore Senior Center was offering a painting class, she was enthused and “jumped at the opportunity.”  The benefits are many, and she says, “It’s been more rewarding than I ever expected!”  

As well as painting, Lillian enjoys the social aspect of the class and the ability to share techniques with others. 

“This class provides me the opportunity to meet many interesting people and view their paintings. Our instructor Jill Swersie is very patient and has shared invaluable artistic advice.  “We have a good time and learn a lot from each other,” she notes. 

Lucille enjoys painting with her friends, and notes, “Landscapes and animals are my favorite subjects.”  

Her niece, Linda Ross, comments, “I recently received a painting of a lion and a lioness lying together in the grasslands that my Aunt Lillian recently completed during quarantine since her art classes are currently on hold. It is something I will cherish forever and I am proud to have her expression of art adorn our home.”

Artist of the Month: Pat Orr

The Dunmore Senior painting group has been very fortunate to have Pat Orr join us from Greentown.  “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night,” like the letter carriers, she consistently traveled to paint with our class and entertain us with her stories.

An accomplished artist, Pat started painting in high school and continued studying art throughout her life. She joined the Painting Group at the Dunmore Hub in 2016 and has so enjoyed “the comradery and support” of the group. 

Pat feels that, “Jill Swersie, our instructor is a very talented artist and wonderful teacher…Jill is a good friend to all of us.”

She enjoys painting her family, especially her grandchildren. Her featured painting: “Ocean City,” is of two of her granddaughters, who are sisters, on a family vacation.  

“The Activity Hub provides us a warm and welcoming environment to grow artistically.  We even have an art show there each year.”

The art class is saddened that Pat will soon be leaving us to move to Connecticut, closer to her family, and wish her much happiness with her move.

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.