Painting class strengthens bonds of friendship

Published 11:00 pm Friday, August 9, 2013

Circumstances have brought friends, Elmer Fleming and Donnie Mobley, together at a place neither thought they would ever be … a painting class. Fleming, left, has 13 paintings to his credit. Mobley’s just learning to handle the sketching chalk.

Elmer Flemming, left, has 13 paintings to his credit. Donnie Mobley is just learning to sketch chalk. The men are taking part in a Colley Senior Complex painting class.

Elmer Gene Fleming and Donnie Mobley grew up in the same neck of the woods.

They go to the same church and enjoy the same “buddy” stuff.

Now, they are dipping into something new. Painting.

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Fleming has a jump on Mobley. He has more than 13 paintings with his signature on them. Mobley?

“Well, I’m just getting started,” he said. “This is my first painting. I’ve got the sky in and a few lines that will be a barn.”

The buddies from the community of Tarentum are members of Mary Page’s painting class at the Colley Senior Complex. Fleming has been attending class for several months. Mobley has been a couple of times.

He started coming just to spend more time with his buddy but the class has peaked his interest in painting. Now, he’s waiting for his latent talent to emerge.

Neither Fleming nor Mobley would have ever thought they would be taking a painting class together. But circumstances brought them to the easel.

Fleming was injured in an industrial accident about three years ago. Mobley recently lost his wife. Circumstances strengthen their friendship.

Fleming said that he has always been interested in art.

“When I was in high school, I liked to draw but I had other things to do,” he said. “Now, I’ve got more time.”

Fleming said that Page has been an excellent teacher.

“She shows me what to do and helps me when I need it,” he said. “I’ve done about 13 paintings. I’m getting better.”

Page said the painting class is more than an art class.

“It’s a time for sharing,” she said. “We have a good time and laugh a lot. That’s good for all of us. Elmer has shown a lot of progress with his paintings. I’m impressed with what he is doing.”

Mobley said when he learned his friend was “taking art,” he decided to give it a try.

“We just make a day trip of it,” he said. “It does both of us a lot of good. And, we’re going to do some fishing when it gets a little cooler. It’s good to have a friend like Elmer.”

Page said friends are often made in the painting class.

“We all have a common interest,” she said. “When you’re painting, you forget about everything else. You can put your worries and troubles aside.”

Page said the class is open to anyone who enjoys painting and being around others.

“Or for those who want to learn to paint,” she said. “You don’t have to know anything about painting to join the class. Everyone is welcome.”

The Colley Senior Complex painting class meets from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Friday with an hour break for lunch.

“You can come and stay all day every day or come once a week or an hour a week,” Page said. “You can come as often or as little as you like.”

There is no charge for the class but supplies are the responsibility of the class members.

For more information about the painting class or other classes offered at the Complex, call the Colley Senior Complex at 334-808-8500.