Annette’s classes: A brush with the artists

Annette Duncan's art class at Lee Mount Baptist Church. Julia Crabtree and Jim Ainley.
Annette Duncan's art class at Lee Mount Baptist Church. Julia Crabtree and Jim Ainley.

Julia and Jim are students at one of Annette’s weekly classes and say the sessions they are attend are the art of life.

After 53 years of marriage and a life of partnership, 76-year-old Julia Crabtree, of Claremount, Halifax, was suddenly on her own after her husband Jeffrey passed away in 2012.

Julia, who has been attending classes for 12 months, was working on an abstract floral painting when I spoke with her.

“I’d been sat at home for too long. Because I had a lot of family support I wasn’t pushing myself to do things for myself. It’s very hard - all my life was spent with someone who I had got into a pattern with - to start making a new life is tough but you have to get out there and do it.

“My friend saw an advert in the Courier and as she knew I was interested in art but just didn’t have the time before as I was caring full-time for Jeff she told me about it,” said Julia.

She says she was made to feel very welcome and has never looked back since joining the class which she says has helped her to build confidence in her artwork and herself.

“It’s great for socialising - we all look forward to the class and look out for one another,” she said.

Fellow art student Jim Ainley agrees and says the classes are something he looks forward to after what can be a lonely week at his Norland home after losing his wife three-years-ago.

“I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous but everyone was so friendly - we’re all in the same boat. Annette inspires us and it’s good to put your enery into creating a piece of art. I’ve found it’s helped me no end,” said Jim.

Annette and Jim, along with two other students from her Salvation Army class, have enjoyed a Saturday night concert at the Lee Mount church.

“I don’t have much family around and sometimes find socialising hard but I look forward to coming here where I feel comfortable,” said Jim who has created a 3-D painting of beach huts at the seaside which will go on sale in the public exhibition at Lee Mount Mount Baptist Church on November 29.