92-year-old painter says seniors never too old to learnWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
The walls of nearly every room in Jayne Schroeder’s Toledo home are covered in framed paintings, her handiwork of the past 12 years.
The 92-year-old took up painting at age 80, saying she believes no one is ever too old to learn something new.
“Everyone can do something to keep their mind occupied,” Schroeder said. “Don’t just sit there and say, ‘Well, I’m old. I guess I can sit in this chair and do nothing.’ Or ‘I’ve worked hard all my life.’ I’ve heard that before. Baloney. So did I.”
Schroeder, who grew up in Sylvania, retired as head of the social work department at the former Medical College of Ohio at age 63. Years later, her daughter gave her some art supplies, which Schroeder “fiddled around with” for a year before deciding she should take some formal lessons.
She found For the Love of Art, a Toledo art supply shop at 4027 N. Holland-Sylvania Road, where owner Bob Schira offers art classes for all ages. Adult classes are offered Mondays through Thursdays.
“I called around to different art places and got a hold of Bob,” Schroeder said. “I said, ‘Do you have art classes for 80-year-old dummies?’ He said, ‘There are no 80-year-old dummies,’ so I said, ‘OK, you’re for me!’ I decided to start with him and I’ve been with him ever since. Every Wednesday. I’ve seen umpteen people come and go, but I’ve stuck with it because my husband died 19 years ago and I don’t know what to do with myself and I don’t want to watch television all the time.”
Schira starts all beginning art students with drawing before they move on to paint, pastels, watercolors or other mediums.
“Jayne has done a number of incredible pieces,” Schira said. “She came here in 2000 after having been retired quite a few years and said, ‘Do you think I can do this?’ And the answer is, by all accounts, a resounding, ‘Yes, she can!’”
Schroeder started painting with acrylics and found her niche.
“I’m too impatient to go for oil,” Schroeder said. “I like acrylics.”
Her favorite subjects are buildings and landscapes, especially barn scenes.
“I like building scenes. I don’t care to do people,” Schroeder said. “I just like the scenery. I’m pretty good at trees.”
Schroeder has also painted William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway’s house in England, the Eiffel Tower, a French castle, Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Bridge, beach scenes, lighthouses, covered bridges and more.
Schroeder gives many of her paintings to family and friends. She’s sold a few, donated some to fundraisers and even gotten a few commissions.
“I’ve been giving them away to friends and Bob the teacher yells at me,” Schroeder said. “He wants me to sell them. I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ I just let people pick out what they want.”
Schira said his classes have many talented participants, but the focus is on having fun and trying new things.
“We don’t worry about making something museum-worthy,” Schira said. “Our emphasis is on let’s express yourself and learn how these tools work and maybe the result is going to be a big surprise, a nice surprise. I like to see all the students come in and find a way to let themselves out.
“Jayne has been painting with us in our classes for the last 13 years. She’s just a character. She adds so much to the class. She’s got a style and her personality is really unique. I hope some other 92-year-olds say, ‘I could do that.’”
Schroeder said she has no plans to stop painting or attending classes.
“They are a lot of fun and he doesn’t care how much fun we have as long as we paint away,” Schroeder said. “I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t paint. I think that’s why older people get a rocking chair and sit and watch TV, because they don’t have anything else to do.”
Schroeder does have one television weakness, however.
“I only watch cooking shows,” Schroeder said. “I love to cook.”
For more information, visit www.forloveart.com.