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Watercolor wins award

She’s long had an interest in art, but Clay Center Presbyterian Manor resident Arlene Habluetzel’s own adventure as an artist didn’t begin until fairly recently.  

“I always loved art, and I loved to go to art galleries and museums. Sometimes, I would look at a painting and think ‘I could do that.’ But I’d never had any formal training. So when a friend of mine who was an artist started teaching classes, I took them,” said Arlene.  

That friend of Arlene’s was none other than Audrey Fitzmeyer, whose memorial gift to Clay Center Presbyterian Manor has funded the art classes which continue today, led by Sally Heilman.  

“Audrey was a big influence on my life,” said Arlene. “And she continues to be, as I’m still enjoying classes thanks to her.”

Arlene’s most recent art accomplishment was being named as one of the artists whose work will appear on the Art is Ageless notecards. Art is Ageless works by local winners are automatically entered into a masterpiece level competition with winning art from 16 other PMMA communities. The winners are featured in the Art is Ageless calendar and notecards.

“I was so surprised when my watercolor, ‘Helen’s Iris,’ was named a winning piece at the corporate level,” said Arlene. “Although I should have known. My son said it was a winner when he saw it.”

Interestingly, the “Helen” the painting was named for is now a fellow resident at Clay Center Presbyterian Manor.  

“Our painting instructor took pictures of a flower garden here in Clay Center: a great big bed of iris. She told us to choose a photo, and paint it. That’s how that painting came about. And when it was time to name it, it was simple. That was Helen’s Iris, it came from her garden, so that’s what I called it,” Arlene said. “Helen Thurlough is her name, and she’s a resident here at the Manor now. She knows about the award for the painting, and of course I’d like to get her some copies of the notecard.”

Arlene and her husband Arlan have lived at Clay Center Presbyterian Manor for four years now, and couldn’t be happier. They have four children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  

“We really enjoy living here. They do everything they can to make life enjoyable for us. There’s nothing hurried about it, you can do things at your leisure, and the art classes are wonderful. Our instructor introduces us to all kinds of techniques. And they provide all the materials and paints, so you don’t have to worry about not having the space in your apartment,” said Arlene. “When you’re painting, you just lose track of time. It’s very gratifying.”

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