By BETHANY WIEGAND
Most artists remember their love of art beginning when they were young and continuing throughout their lives.
For Shirley Bonnell Reeder, her discovery of her painting talent came when she randomly took a painting class when she and her husband went to Florida during the winter months in the '70s.
"I always wanted to paint, but I never had the opportunity," Reeder said.
She started with a painting class and has continued ever since.
"I fell in love with it and I never put the brush down," she said.
Reeder remembers her husband saying that she painted on anything that didn't move, displaying her talent not only on canvases, but jugs, bread boards and saws.
Reeder sold her first painting - a painting of an eagle - at a show in Florida that she did with her class. Reeder explained that the class did paintings, and hers was selected for purchase.
Reeder's teachers noticed her talent early on, and she was told by a teacher that she didn't need classes anymore.
Even in her early paintings, Reeder's talent is seen in the delicate brush strokes and her ability to transfer nature to her canvas.
Reeder taught classes from her home, an old school house, on Sugar Camp Road in Cogan Station. Her late husband transformed her garage into a gallery and classroom. She taught for eight years, just happy to give the gift of painting to others like she had received.
"This is a gift that God has given me," Reeder said.
She proudly displays her paintings throughout her room at The Meadows Assisted Living Community in Montoursville and outside of her room for visitors to see as well. She said her favorite painting is one of a water mill.
From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Reeder will have an exhibit of her works open to the public for viewing and buying.
"It's nice to hear comments about my paintings, especially when the people don't know I'm the one who painted it."
Reeder has been showing her paintings for years, including at Brandon Park. She paints still lifes, nature scenes and landscapes. She paints from photographs that have meaning to her, and loves to use color. She mostly paints in oil, but she likes to change her choice of surfaces.
"I like painting on the saws because it's miniature," Reeder said.
Preparing for the show has been nostalgic for Reeder, as well. She has painted so many pictures that sometimes when her daughters, Janis Foresman and Gloria Ferguson, show her some of the paintings they've had in their possession, she forgot that she painted them.
"Years will go by, and they'll show me these paintings and I'll say, 'Did I do that?' " Reeder said. The abundance of paintings that Reeder has created inspired her to have the exhibit.
She has painted gifts for many family members, and her daughters have keepsakes.
"She always crocheted and quilted. She's always been talented," Foresman said of her mother's abilities.
"Everybody in the whole world should do a painting. Everyone looks at the world differently," Reeder said.
For her upcoming show, Reeder is thankful for the opportunity that The Meadows has given her to use the room.
"They've been so helpful, and I'm very thankful of that," Reeder said. She also is accomplishing something that not many 84-year-olds have the opportunity or ability to do.
Reeder is a native of White Pine, near Brookside, and has been a resident of The Meadows Assisted Living Community since December 2011.