Thompson Rivers University

Never too late to paint

March 7, 2017

Carol Schlosar painting

When Alan Brandoli looks around his classroom, a third of the artists are not your average university student, they’re mature.

One of those students, Carol Schlosar, teaches music in Sicamous, BC and has always enjoyed creating visual art but did not pursue a formal fine arts education until recently.

Carol Schlosar in the painting studio at TRU

Carol Schlosar in the painting studio at TRU

She started to explore acrylic and oil on her own time and terms, with a friend, but decided the best way to gain a deeper understanding of art would be to go to university.

“That seems a bit naïve looking back,” said Schlosar. “I came to learn how to paint but ended up loving sculpture and print making too.”

While she is currently a third-year student, Schlosar only takes a few classes each semester. Ultimately, she is working towards earning her Bachelor of Fine Artsbut has no set timeline, as there is no pressure for her career-wise at this time. “I don’t have to be anything when I grow up!”

For Schlosar, learning to make art has been the foremost goal but equally important, learning that the challenge of returning to school is very manageable has also been a pleasant journey.

Schlosar explains that letting go of what she was comfortable with in her art making process has been a real accomplishment.

Carol Schlosar with one of her latest pieces

Carol Schlosar with one of her latest pieces

“I struggle but I’m more willing to step out of my comfort zone than when I first started classes,” she said. “Professionally, I’m pleased with the improvement in the quality of my work.”

Schlosar has had the opportunity to show in the TRU Gallery, Salmon Arm Art Gallery and at the Members Show in Kelowna.

Currently in the third year painting course, there are seven mature students in a class of 18, some full-time students, several still working and some retired.

There is a wide variety of professional backgrounds but the common goal is that everyone wants to keep learning. Add the age diversity to the ethnic diversity and these classes are interesting and exciting.

“It’s clear that the great diversity of ages, backgrounds and interests in the class contributes to the positive character of the creative process, and ultimately the richness and variety of the of the paintings,” said Brandoli. “The work shows strong individual directions, largely due to the critical challenges and support that they provide for each other as well as their personal commitment to the process.”

“Response from the younger students is wonderful and inclusive. I forget I’m not 20,” added Schlosar with a smile.

Students and their work during a critique class with Alan Brandoli

Students and their work during a critique class with Alan Brandoli

“Technically, the skills you learn are invaluable. The faculty here are encouraging and they push you to get out of your comfort zone. It’s a very caring community of teacherswe’re lucky to have them.”

Another student, Lyn Richards, worked as a psychologist in Kamloops for the past 35 years, but always wanted to do more visual art.

She had taken a drawing course in the late 1960’s, and was working on her first oil painting when she found out she was pregnant with her first child. Concerned about the risk of solvent exposure for her child, she stopped painting temporarily.  That hiatus stretched to four decades before she enrolled in drawing, painting and sculpture courses at TRU.

Paintings by Lyn Richards

“All of the faculty are very supportive and dedicated to their students.  I’ve been most impressed by the quality and care of instruction here.  This department is a real treasure,” said Richards.

“Anyone who has always wanted to try visual arts, but found it hard to get started alone, should consider enrolling in the foundation classes to explore a range of media, and art history to better understand the context of their art.”

She also noted that seniors get a reduction in fees after the age of 65 when the course is not fully subscribed, which can be quite helpful for those living on a reduced income after retirement.

Schlosar also recommends this experience to anyone with an interest in art.

“You will hone your craft and grow in the process and learning about current art philosophies and practices will challenge you.”

More information on programming
Donald Lawrence
Visual Arts Program Coordinator
Faculty of Arts

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