Santa Rosa senior Larry Woods will live up to his name this month, as he joins with more than 100 other Sonoma County senior artists age 60 and over for the 19th Annual Sonoma County Senior Art Show.
The 70-year-old is this year’s featured artist, bringing his hand-crafted duck decoys and other avian subjects to the Finley Center for the show taking place from Sept. 8 through Oct. 20.
Call it kismet, but the aptly named Woods has carved since he was about 10 years old.
“I started whittling around the campfire around the age of 10, so I’ve been working with wood for more than 60 years,” he said. “I did some duck hunting as a kid and my father was an all-around hunter. It rubbed off on me and my brother.”
Thus began a lifelong passion for working with wood.
As an honorary life member of the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association, he has competed in and judged its annual Wildlife Art Show in Sacramento for years. Additionally, Woods has sold carvings at the Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol for more than 25 years and participated in the Senior Art Show for several years.
Woods has been involved with the PFDA since 1976 and carves decoys, songbirds, individual feathers for decorative pins, pendants and earrings, as well as novelty and character carvings.
“When I first started dating my wife Jean, I made a chain with nine links after our ninth date,” he said. “We’ve been married 52 years now.”
But woodcarving will not be the only art form on display. The show includes a wide variety of media, including oils, glasswork, charcoal drawing, photography, sculpture and watercolor.
Guerneville’s Nonie Mitchell will be on hand to display her watercolors.
Mitchell grew up in New Orleans, La. and attributes her love of art to her mother.
“My mother was a watercolorist and I’ve painted all my life,” she said.
She moved to Sonoma County in 1977 and has four children: Nova, Lee Logan, Spartacus and Homer, and nine grandchildren.
She began teaching watercolor at the Russian River Senior Center in 1989 for several years but she stopped painting for two years after the class ended.
Her interest in painting was piqued once again when she returned to New Orleans in 2001 to take care of her mother. While she was there, she took a few classes and was “influenced by a lot of great and fun teachers.”
Her tastes run to the chakra colors — colors that represent the full light spectrum and symbolize the richness of life — and Kundalini spirals, symbolizing the power of the “higher self.”
“Paintings want to have meaning, emotion and fun to them,” Mitchell said. “I paint a lot of flowers because they make me happy. Painting takes me to another zone.”
But ultimately, those feelings are what keep her involved in her art.
“(It’s about) the wonderful feeling you get: the bliss of the color going on the page,” she said. “You make a mark on the world.”
The Art of Aging Sonoma County Senior Art Show begins at the Finley Center, 2060 W. College Ave. in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and runs through Thursday, Oct. 20.
The hours will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m., and Saturday, 9–11 a.m.
Admission is free.
by David Abbott
Sonoma Seniors Today Associate Editor