Better late than never
World is a canvas for artist who discovered painting late in life
STORY: Garrett Corsair
Art studio walls filled with vivid, realistic sketches, charcoals and oil paintings shout, “I’ve been doing this all my life.” The reality? Glenda Dupuis found her calling relatively late in life.
Glenda grew up in London. At age 15 she moved to Canada, where she began her nursing career.
“I enjoyed being a nurse because you get to watch and observe people as well as help them out,” says Glenda, who lives in a lakefront home outside of Leesburg with her husband of 20 years, Gary.
Glenda’s love of observing people is a big reason she taught herself to paint after retiring from nursing 15 years ago. “I enjoy doing portraits because it captures people and their personalities,” she says. “You can add warmth to a painting and I like to catch people in their natural state.”
Glenda’s development as an artist flourished after she joined a club for painters. She added to her knowledge by attending workshops.
It didn’t take long for her to become proficient. “When I first started painting and I’d finish a piece, I’d stand back and look at it and couldn’t believe I did that.”
And she continues to grow as an artist. A year ago, she tried pastels and fell in love with them.
Glenda’s versatility is evident as you look around the studio her husband built next to his garage. “If it wasn’t for the support from my husband I would not have the time to be able to paint. I used to paint in the kitchen, but then it started getting too messy. Being the supportive and loving husband he is, he built me a studio,” Glenda says.
Bright, beautiful paintings are everywhere, even the bathroom door. But a dark, black-and-white scene in the corner by a window stands out. In it, a woman stands on a hill and looks toward a smoldering mine. The woman is Glenda’s grandmother. The painting mirrors an image printed in an old newspaper.
“It was the biggest mine explosion to this day. Four hundred twenty-five people were killed,” Glenda says. “Many were young boys and men who left behind widows.”
Glenda’s amazing talent is most evident in portraits that look so realistic you would think your were looking at an actual photograph.
“A single portrait can take anywhere from a week to six weeks if done in oil, and a pastel painting can sometimes be done within a few hours.”
She certainly has plenty of models to choose from. “I have 12 grandchildren and have done a portrait for every one of them,” Glenda says with a smile. “I must have done over 100 portraits by now.”
Glenda would love to say she’s done thousands, but that may not be possible. She’s 73 and her brushes don’t always feel comfortable in her talented hands.
“I will continue to paint as long as I can. I have arthritis in both hands and after a short time I begin feeling the pain.”