Le Wellesley’s Art Show and Mini Jazz Fest Benefits Literacy Unlimited


By: Olivia Kona

The art plus jazz event held last Friday at Le Wellesley Retirement Residence in Pointe-Claire was in anticipation of Montreal’s Jazz Fest – mini style – with all proceeds going to Literacy Unlimited.

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“Our painters are residents. Mrs. Proudfoot has painted for many years and she displayed a historical view of Pointe-Claire. Mrs. Ballard’s themes are nature and colors,” said Le Wellesley’s director Lorraine Loubier.

Jan Proudfoot, well-known West Island artist and mother of late Grey Cup champ Tony Proudfoot, exhibited her pen and ink drawings, as well as watercolors and oil paintings. She graduated with the first class in interior design at the University of Manitoba in 1940, designed the interior of the North Star Plane for Trans Canada Airlines, which is now Air Canada, and raised five children.

During Expo ’67 she noticed that “a lot of awful stuff downtown” was being sold as souvenirs and that the perspective wasn’t right so she took it upon herself to draw sketches of Old Montreal and sold them as greeting cards. After that, she moved on to drawing Pointe-Claire scenes.

“I sold hundreds after the PQ came into power. Just about everyone in Oakville has one of my pictures of Pointe-Claire,” said Mrs. Proudfoot.

At 98, Mrs. Proudfoot continues to paint and sketch local images on-site at the residence. 

Mrs. Ballard, a retired librarian, started painting in Beaconsfield 25 years ago and, over the years, her artwork was exhibited at Nepean, Ontario and Stewart Hall.

“A friend said to me after my husband died, ‘You’re going to paint an African Violet’ and that’s how I started,” she said.

She took workshops and painting holidays including trips to the Thousand Islands to learn her hobby and concentrates on nature and figures in watercolors.

“I love the way water and paint interact. You never know what you’ll get as the water runs. I love getting it right,” said Mrs. Ballard.

Both artists find uplifting value in their art.

“Painting raises your spirits,” said Mrs. Ballard.

Mrs. Proudfoot advises to paint and sketch for therapy and said, “It’s a lovely hobby. The best thing is that you completely forget all of your problems.”

Add a little jazz by Denny’s Dixieland Clan from Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue and it was the perfect afternoon.