Senior Citizens Center featured in MCAG

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Age does not define the artist.

Rose Skillern, age 79, and Linda Gupton, age 75, are two of the local artists from the Marshall County Senior Center that debuted their work at the Marshall County Art Guild for the month of May.

Skillern is originally from Virginia. She met her husband in Michigan before moving to Tennessee. Then, they moved to New Jersey. Following that, they lived in New York for a brief time before settling down in Marshall County where she has spent the last 30 years.

Gupton is no stranger to Marshall County. She is the fourth generation from here. Her family has been here since 1867.

The two artists first met each other through the senior classes offered at the Marshall County Senior Citizens Center years ago. Now, they are neighbors. They joined the MCAG around the same time too.

Gupton explained the classes offered at the senior center are open to younger people if the senior citizen does not want to attend it. A spot may free up, but that is only if the person originally scheduled to attend changes their mind.

“The classes are not limited by any means. We actually have a couple of people that are way younger than the typical age and join us for our art classes,” Gupton said. The Senior Citizens Center offers different weekly activities other than art classes like aerobics, book club, sewing circle, and other things.

Before becoming artists, Gupton and Skillern had successful careers. They have a similar teaching background. Gupton was the director of the all-girls’ school, Athenaeum, in Columbia. Skillern was a substitute teacher for quite some time. Both stated most people ask if they miss teaching. Gupton’s and Skillern’s responses are no because they enjoy their art so much.

“I wouldn’t have time to do all the other stuff I do if I were working,” Gupton said.

They fill the art guild’s main room with pieces from Skillern’s and Gupton’s collection. There are a few pieces from other people from the senior center. There are many oil paintings, watercolor, and pen and ink drawings fill the room in addition to hand-painted china.

Both artists have experienced a variety of mediums over the years. While each of them has a favorite, it was hard to narrow it down to just one.

“When you’re as old as we are, you’ve tried them all,” Skillern said.

They are mainly self-taught. Skillern and Gupton attend workshops frequently, and they try to attend different classes when they are available. The two artists describe themselves as hands-on hobbyists.

“It’s really the only way we do learn, and that’s by doing,” Gupton said.

Gupton and Skillern spend every Monday morning together by joining other artists at the center. The artist reception for the May artists will be Friday, May 24 from 5 p.m. at 7 p.m. at the art guild.

Tribune photo by Erin Morris

Cutline: Rose Skillern and Linda Gupton are two artists from the Marshall County Senior Center featured as May’s Artist of the Month for the Marshall County Art Guild. There are several different styles of art including oil paintings, pen and ink drawings, water color, and hand-painted china. The artist reception will be held on the first Fun Friday at the art guild on May 24.