Tuesday mornings are, for the most part, uneventful — except for a group of Walton County Snowbirds who are living out their artistic dreams.
"We always wanted to do what we didn't have time for," said Jan Young of Michigan. "Most of us feel privileged that we just get to do it."
Young and fellow snowbird, Debra Bailey from Ontario, Canada, started the art workshop 14 years ago. The group has grown so much they even added an afternoon time.
"It just grew and grew," Bailey said.
Bailey retired early as a financial planner. Now, she relishes the chance to use the right side of her brain.
"I've always loved to paint," she said. "But all of my time was spent studying markets. When I retired, I was starved for something to do creatively."
There is no skill requirement to sign up for the group. Any medium you want work with, or any project you have in mind is welcomed.
"It's all about personal desire," said Sally Ohmart, of Indiana.
Inside one of the rec rooms at Good News UMC, art supplies are scattered across tables. Projects are all varied — landscapes to portraits of children and even Byzantine-inspired art make up the broad range of creativity in the group.
When it comes to subject matter, most snowbirds, like Nancy Gehrke of Michigan, take advantage of the Northwest Florida landscapes. She's currently working on a view from her condo at One Water Place at Kelly Plantation.
"I worked in theater as an actress for 40 years," she said. "Art has always been a part of my life in some respect."
Canadian snowbird, Larry Smith, favors the colors of East Coast. His current work in progress is a northeast fishing village.
Now in retirement, Smith said he can spend more time doing what he loves.
"I don't golf, I paint," he said. "I've been painting and sketching since I can remember."
The workshop is about camaraderie as much as it is about art. During the weekly meetings, the group gathers in a circle to share work and open the floor for discussion and positive critique.
"It helps everyone learn," said Ohmart. "We're all just artists in progress."
Much of the workshop's members even get together outside of the class. Earlier this week, a small group took a field trip of sorts to Justin Gaffrey's studio in Santa Rosa Beach.
"I couldn't wait to get home and slap some acrylic on a big canvas," said Gehrke.
This week was special for the group as their new t-shirt design was unveiled. Bill McKnight, a retired high school art teacher from Ontario, Canada, took the time to design the logo, which turned out to be an abstract waterfall that incorporated member's names.
"I get inspired by everybody in this group," Young said. "It's a great way to make friends."
WANT TO GO? As the season winds down, you can learn more about the Walton County Snowbirds and events by visiting www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com.