“I was teaching at a small high school, and you have to teach everything, so I started practicing painting when we got to that part,” Lois said.
That was 40 years ago. Now, Lois paints because she wants to. What started as a job requirement has become a fulfilling artistic pursuit.
Lois, an Emporia resident, has entered the annual Art is Ageless competition and exhibit many times at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. One of her paintings was featured in the calendar about 10 years ago, and another was made into notecards.
Watercolor is her favorite medium, and barns are her specialty.
“I grew up on a farm and I love barns, so I do a lot of barns and landscapes,” Lois said, adding, “I just finished a small painting of my cat, and I’m not very good at animals — so I’m going to stick with barns.”
Lois was raised in Wakarusa, Kan., near Topeka. Her husband was a professor of industrial education who began teaching at Emporia State University in 1970. They raised four children, and Lois now has nine grandchildren plus one great-grandchild.
Every Wednesday morning, Lois heads to the Art Center to paint with a group of about 10 other artists. Some of them draw, others paint in oils, and all of them enjoy being in community with other artists. They don’t have a teacher, Lois said — they learn from one another.
“Somebody will say, ‘What does this need?’ And we’ll gather around and give them some ideas,” she said.
Many of the Wednesday morning artists have entered Art is Ageless, thanks to Ken Hanson, marketing director at Emporia Presbyterian Manor. Lois said he visits the group early in the year to tell them the dates and deadlines, then returns later with entry forms. “It gets more people involved, and that makes it more fun,” she said.