Pat, Hermann and Ingrid: Three of our artistic residents enjoying their passion

Pat Garrod: A determined, talented and compassionate artist

At 81 years of age, Pat Garrod, a resident of Orchard Valley retirement residence, has become an accomplished artist. Pat’s journey into the world of painting began in 2000, sparked not just by curiosity but by a challenge to disprove a discouraging remark from an instructor during her first class. 

pat artist 3Finding her passion by proving someone wrong
"I was told in my first art class that I wouldn’t be any good at it by the instructor, so I decided to prove them wrong and worked hard at developing my skills," Pat recalled in a defiant tone. The challenge turned into a passion, with her late husband Ted - a skilled artist himself - guiding her in mastering the intricacies of aspect and ratio. Together, they explored the artistic process, improving Pat's technique and deepening her appreciation for the arts. Today, Pat prefers to work with Indian ink and oil, mediums known for their vibrant texture and depth.

Pat artist 1-1
Painting nature and staying mentally healthy

Pat's artistic focus lies in capturing the serene beauty of birds and boats. She finds these subjects not only visually appealing but also technically accommodating in achieving balance within her compositions. “Nature is beautiful to paint, but you have to challenge your mind, so branching out from scenery is that challenge,” she explained. This pursuit is not just a creative outlet for Pat; it’s a mental exercise she values deeply. “It’s good for your mental health,” she added, highlighting the therapeutic benefits of her art.

Her “extended family” at Orchard Valley
Beyond her canvases, Pat’s life at Orchard Valley in Vernon, British Columbia, is as vibrant and active as her paintings. Describing her environment, she shared, “Living at Orchard Valley is like having an extended family; there is always someone around to talk to. It's never lonely if you want company.” This sense of belonging is crucial for Pat, who places great importance on community and connection.

Pat artist 2-1Indeed, Pat’s contributions extend far beyond her artistic endeavors. She is keenly aware of the needs of her fellow residents, often helping them with appointments or simply ensuring they feel safe and cared for. Her efforts go a long way in fostering the warm, familial atmosphere that characterizes Orchard Valley —a place she, along with the staff and residents, proudly calls home. She continues to paint her life’s canvas with broad, colourful strokes, filled with compassion, creativity, and an unyielding spirit that inspires all who know her.

Ingrid Sanders: Discovering a love for art in later life
In the tranquil atmosphere of Aspira Bolton Mills resides Ingrid Sanders, an 88-year-old with a late-blooming passion for painting. Ingrid - who took up painting less than five years ago - transformed a casual interest into a flourishing artistic endeavor, proving that it’s never too late to pursue one’s passions.

Ingrid Sanders artist 3-2“Enlightened through oil painting”
Ingrid’s journey into the world of art began at the Caledon Seniors Centre, where she signed up for oil painting classes. “I have been enlightened through oil painting classes at the Caledon Seniors Centre for over four years. My favorite subjects are landscapes, flowers, and animals,” she shared. Her canvases, alive with the serene beauty of nature, reflect her profound appreciation for the intricacies and colours of natural scenes.

How she got into art and her favourite subjects
So what sparked this artistic pursuit so late in life? “I tried it and liked it. I got interested in it and used my free time to do it. I started painting before moving to Bolton Mills. Art for me began as a hobby and I loved it, I realized I was good at it and just kept painting,” Ingrid explained. Her words highlight a simple yet profound truth about the arts: they are a source of continuous discovery, personal growth, and joy in loving what you paint. 

Ingrid Sanders artist 2-4“I like to paint nature because it is my favorite subject. What I like about landscapes, flowers, and birds is that they have lots of detail and colour,” she said. This affection for nature is not just a preference but a connection with the world around her, which she beautifully captures in her art.

Life at Bolton Mills and selling her paintings
Ingrid has been at Aspira Bolton Mills for nearly two and a half years. Her life there is enriched by staying busy and bonding with her fellow residents. “I like the activities and I’ve made some good friends here,” she said. This supportive environment has undoubtedly played a role in developing her artistic talents.
Ingrid Sanders artist 1-4Her involvement with the Orangeville and Country Pellatt artists group and the sale of 147 of her paintings is a reflection of her commitment and success.

This year, Ingrid’s work will grace the halls of Sunnybrook Hospital from July through September, where her paintings will be displayed and available for purchase with some of the proceeds going to the hospital. Ingrid’s’ story is a beautiful reminder of the joy and fulfillment that embracing a new passion can bring, regardless of one’s age.


Hermann Alfermann: The life-long artist about to turn 100
Nestled within the vibrant community of Aspira Douglas Crossing, Hermann Alfermann, a remarkable self-taught artist, continues to capture the beauty of the world around him through his evocative paintings. At the admirable age of 99, Hermann's passion for art is as vivid and enduring as the natural landscapes he so masterfully depicts on canvas.

Hermann artist 3-2Self-taught artist inspired by his wife
Hermann’s artistic journey began in his teenage years, sketching simple scenes that soon blossomed into a profound love for painting. “I’m a self-taught artist. I began sketching as a teenager and it just grew from there," Hermann reflected. His dedication to art was further fuelled by his wife, also an artist, who inspired him to explore the vibrant possibilities of paint. Together, they have lived a life coloured with creativity and shared inspiration.

Love of nature and life at Douglas Crossing
For around 80 years Hermann has been painting, with a special fondness for natural landscapes that feature mountain ranges. “I enjoy painting landscapes because I love the beauty of the scenery and the majesty of mountain ranges,” he said. This deep appreciation for nature's grandeur is evident in every stroke of his brush, capturing the essence of the landscapes he adores.

Hermann 4
Living at Aspira Douglas Crossing has offered Hermann a nurturing environment where his artistic talents have flourished. He enjoys the company of fellow residents and the peace of mind that comes with being part of a caring and supportive community. “I like Douglas Crossing because I enjoy the people and I don’t have to worry about anything.” This contentment has undoubtedly contributed to the serene beauty reflected in his artwork.

Art donations and closing in on a century of life
Hermann has been a resident at Douglas Crossing since 2018, and his contributions to the community extend beyond his art.
Hermann artist 2-3As his 100th birthday approaches in July, his life story mirrors his relationship with art, rich with experiences and filled with the quiet joy of creation. Hermann has generously donated several of his paintings to the home, sharing his vision and passion with others. The residents and staff at Douglas Crossing are fortunate to have Hermann as an integral part of their community. His enduring spirit and artistic legacy offer inspiration and a visual feast that enhances the lives of all who encounter his work.



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