Betty Womack: Creativity can thrive at every stage of life

Rolla Presbyterian Manor resident Betty WomackBetty Womack enjoyed crocheting while she raised her four daughters. But that was as far as her artistic training went.

It was only after she moved to Rolla Presbyterian Manor that she learned to paint and make jewelry. Womack’s skill progressed so quickly that she took home a second-place ribbon in the 2013 Art is Ageless competition for her painting, “Quaker Girl.”

Now, as Womack continues to take classes and develop her talents, she’s discovered that art can be therapeutic. “You have to push yourself even when you don’t feel good,” she said. “I look at it like this — I go even when I don’t feel good, and sometimes I feel better after I go. At least it gets my mind off not feeling good!”

Her favorite painting is one she created in mixed media. She painted a woodlands scene, then pasted on pictures of fences and two dogs. Altogether, she has made more than a dozen paintings, as well as several necklaces and bracelets for her family and friends.

Womack grew up in West Virginia where her mother’s family lived, and her family also lived in St. Louis for a time during her childhood. Later, her family moved to St. Louis permanently. That’s where she met her husband at church, and together they had four daughters. Two of them now work at Rolla Presbyterian Manor: Betty Teal, health services director, and Carmen Payne, dining services director.

Today, Womack’s partner in art is her great-granddaughter Zetta. Presbyterian Manor invites artists from grade school through college to display their work in the Art is Ageless exhibit, said Marketing Director Joelle Freeland, although they are not part of the juried competition. About eight young artists participate every year. Because of that, Womack and Zetta have been able to display their work together.

“It promotes intergenerational activity,” Freeland said. “You are never too young or too old to be creative.”

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