Royal Oaks unveils new programs celebrating the arts

Ruth Clark was the Royal Oaks Featured Artist at the senior living community in Sun City. [Submitted photo]

Zentangle was one of the art forms exhibited by Royal Oaks residents at a gala that featured 26 local resident artists.

“Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns,” explained Karen Bell, who co-created the event with Anne Miller. “It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity while providing artistic satisfaction and an increased sense of personal well-being. One of our resident artists has really embraced Zentangle.”

Royals Oaks is a senior living community located at 10015 W. Royal Oak Road.

“An outstanding representation of many art medias were showcased during the gala,” Ms. Miller stated. “In addition to Zentangle, we had all forms of painting, pysanka (traditional Ukrainian egg decorating), basketry, calligraphy, porcelain painting, ikebana, pottery, sculpture and stone carving. This festive social event brought together many talented and innovative works of art. We are thrilled that so many of our residents are willing to share their talents.”

Jeanne Cross, one of the residents whose work was on display, has loved art since she was a child. When she first saw Zentangle a few years ago, she was intrigued by the black and white patterns and sought out classes to learn more.

“It can be done anywhere at any time with only a micron pen and the appropriate paper,” Ms. Cross explained. Lately she has been playing around with pens and watercolor or colored pencils.

The evening was topped off with a live concert featuring Nicole Pesce, a celebrated pianist who entertains regularly at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, and Suzanne Landsford on violin.

Ruth Clark was the Royal Oaks Featured Artist for the gala evening. She was born on a cotton farm in Cherokee County, South Carolina, attended local schools, and is a graduate of Strayer Business College in Washington D.C. She worked for the FBI as an administrative assistant in Washington and also on several USAF Air Bases, both domestic and abroad. After marrying a Navy man, Ms. Clark lived and traveled throughout the world with him on Navy business. A resident of Royal Oaks for 16 years, she didn’t start painting until she retired; her favorite media is oil. She likes to travel (especially with Road Scholar), play bridge, enjoys reading, and most importantly, still has a love of painting.

Ms. Clark’s work, along with many of the other artists, can be found in the Royal Oaks Gallery, located in the Life Enrichment Center. If you tour our community, ask to see the gallery.

Ongoing artistic opportunities

“We feel very fortunate to have another celebrated artist, Ruth Little, scheduled to teach classes here,” Ms. Bell stated. “She will be teaching colored pencil classes this summer. Her background is fascinating and the residents and future residents who take her classes will not be disappointed.”

Ms. Little was born in Northwestern Nebraska farm country and had little exposure to art, artists, or opportunities for art classes, so she became self-taught. Residing outside of the continental United States from 1979-2001 in Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Hawaii and Yap, Micronesia, her focus was personal artistic growth. In Indonesia she worked as a creative animation director and batik color coordinator. In Australia she developed and conducted a drawing and portfolio presentation program for The Youth Adult Bureau in Melbourne, which lead to teaching private watercolor classes and a Gifted and Talented Program in Guam. In Hawaii, she taught watercolor for a Continuing Education Program with the University of Hawaii.

A trip in 1991 to Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia inspired a move to the small island to paint. The Yap Department of Education offered Ms. Little an opportunity to teach eight local young men to be illustrators. The four languages of Yap had just become solidified in written form. Two young men from each language group were chosen and their first project was to illustrate alphabet cards for each language to place in schools. The students illustrated a book written by local educators.

Upon her return to the U.S./Colorado in 2001, Ms. Little taught at Colorado Mountain College, Western Colorado Center of the Arts, and Western Colorado Community College. A move to Seattle in 2006 opened new experiences conducting classes and demos with Daniel Smith Art Stores. In 2014, she moved to Sun City and continues to teach watercolor, colored pencil and drawing at the recreation centers.

Club Connect members interested in learning more about the summer art classes on the Sun City campus should call 623-815-4132.



What: Learn more about Club Connect

Where: Royals Oaks, 10015 W. Royal Oak Road

More Information: Call 623-815-4132 to schedule a personal tour

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