Voorhees Branch Library hosts Canvas Painting Night as part of ‘Maker Month’

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“Sunset Poppies.”

That was the title of the work painted by each of the dozen or so artists of the Voorhees Library’s Canvas Paint Night on Dec. 2.

The event was the latest in the Camden County Library System’s “Maker Month,” a series of programs throughout December at the eight branches of the Camden County Library System where the libraries provide space, materials and tools for members of the public to participate in crafts and projects.

Although other libraries throughout the county will host events such as decoupage box decorating, wearable art and robot programing and competition, for the Voorhees Library, the focus was canvas painting.

Sharon Sayers of the Paint-a-Treasure art studio stood in front of a room filled with artists, each with their own blank canvas, and guided participants through the procedure of painting a small acrylic scene of poppies during a sunset.

Sayers said she loves the reds and yellows and other colors of the painting, which she described as a piece for beginners that could be completed within the two-and-a-half hour timeframe set for the class.

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“It’s a painting that anyone can do,” Sayers said. “It’s not a complex painting. It’s not a lot of steps to it.”

According to Sayers, the class was filled, with a wait list almost as big, as canvas painting has become popular in recent years.

“A lot of people like to do it and a lot of people like it because it’s something people can hang on their wall and then take down,” Sayers said.

“It’s something they can interchange with their decor. The canvas painting has become really big.”

Voorhees resident Kosha Gala said she learned about the program while bringing her daughter to an event at the library.

She said the event was her first time doing a canvas painting, and it was nice to have an event that could give her some time to herself away from kids and work.

“I saw that they were doing a canvas painting, and I wanted to do something for myself, so I signed up for it,” Gala said. “It’s pretty impressive that the library is offering a program like this.”

Also at the event was Gala’s friend Anshu Khaitan, although neither had any idea the other had signed up before bumping into each other when choosing a seat.

“We’ve tried to get together so many times and it just doesn’t happen,” Gala said.

Khaitan echoed Gala’s sentiments, and said she used to sketch and take classes before having kids but simply lost the time to do things like that for herself.

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“It’s so hard to make time for yourself and to sit down with a canvas and paint,” Khaitan said. “Then, when I saw the library was offering it, I just jumped on it because where else am I going to get a ready canvas and paint? And meeting her (Gala) was a bonus.”

As the event went on, the participants were instructed on what brush to use, how long a stroke to paint, techniques for mixing and applying colors and everything else they needed to know to create their own “Sunset Poppies” piece of art to hang in their own homes.

If the idea of holding a Maker Month at the Voorhees Library was to give visitors confidence in their own abilities, then that was shown by resident Betty Daniels who suddenly broke a moment of silence and concentration during the event to reflect on her work.

“I am so proud of myself,” Daniels said, and then the group laughed and agreed.

The Voorhees Library’s next maker series event “Sew So Easy” will take place on Monday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. for ages 16 and up.

Participants will learn how to use a sewing machine and create their own bag.