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Examiner
  • Artistically gifted and still creative at 94

  • Although longtime Independence resident Margaret Larsen painted “Norwegian Mountain Scene” more than a decade ago, the oil painting is receiving new exposure this year.

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  • Although longtime Independence resident Margaret Larsen painted “Norwegian Mountain Scene” more than a decade ago, the oil painting is receiving new exposure this year.
    The piece is featured as the June painting in the 2013 edition of Expressions, a nationwide calendar published by Watermark Retirement Communities. Judges chose Larsen’s work – and that of 11 others – among more than 200 submissions for this year’s calendar.
    For eight years, Larsen, 94, has lived at The Fountains at Greenbriar, which is one of 31 communities operated by Watermark Retirement Communities. In 2011, she was named the Faculty of the Year for Watermark University – classes taught by residents and others for continuing education in a variety of subjects – at The Fountains at Greenbriar.
    Although she stopped painting several years ago, Larsen said she enjoys teaching others, and she still continues to play piano.
    1 Describe how the love of art was instilled in you around the time you were in seventh grade.
    Larsen: I went to St. Joseph Paint and Glass Company and took lessons with a friend of mine. The reason we went was because we could have the lessons for free – we just paid for the paints. ... I had fooled around with drawing and so forth, but I hadn’t done much, really, of anything.
    2 You were able to pass on your love of painting to your late husband, Ed Larsen?
    Larsen: (Points to her living room wall) He painted this bird up here, too.
    (Points toward her front doorway): And, there’s another one here of Christ’s Ascension.
    3 Describe your love for another art form – music. (She studied music theory in college, and taught piano, vocals and composition for nearly 30 years.)
    Larsen: My mother was a music teacher herself, and my dad played by ear, and they used to play duets together.
    ... I love most all kinds of music. I’m not too crazy about (country), but I can take it. (Music) is what I studied, and I went on with it. It just kind of comes naturally for me.
    4 How does being active in the arts encourage healthy aging for you?
    Larsen: It makes me feel still useful. I don’t want to lay down and die. ... I’ve been active. I haven’t laid down yet. I’ve never really thought of it that way. Up until recently, I was still playing at church every once in awhile. My musical talent was really voice, but that soon faded.
    5 What advice would you offer for aspiring and beginning artists?
    Larsen: It’s wanting to learn, wanting to know things. Most of them generally say, “Oh, I’ve never painted before. I’ve never tried it, but I want to try it.” Or else, they say, “Do you think I could paint?”
    Page 2 of 2 - And, of course, I always tell them that I’ve never had a student who I couldn’t teach to paint.
     
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