Through the canvas: Painters rediscover hobby in senior years |

Through the canvas: Painters rediscover hobby in senior years

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal Harry Ferrigno, 65, of Carson City, poses for a portrait with some of his paintings at the Southgate Senior Apartments on California Street on Thursday.

Even though they got there by taking much different paths, Harry Ferrigno and Joyce Duncan both reached the same conclusion – they were meant to be artists.

Now, their art hangs next to each others in the meeting room of the Southgate Senior Apartments in Carson City.

For Ferrigno, the realization started at age 4, when he began making doodles and soon discovered he was good at it. In high school, he tried to mimic every artist he could to keep expanding his skill.

Then life got in the way and he stopped painting until his 55th birthday when he decided to pick up a paintbrush again for the first time in 25 years.

“Painting just comes more natural to me than anything else. People are my favorite because I like having drama and people show more of that drama,” Ferrigno, 65, said. “Painting is good meditation and good therapy.”

Duncan, 83, got a much later start at painting, she has only been doing it for the past three years. She started by taking a class on a whim and she has been hooked ever since.

“I just wish I would have started doing it sooner, I regret that I waited,” Duncan said.

Duncan said she paints a variety of subjects, but enjoys recreating the landscapes from her trips.

“It’s just all of the sudden I see something that I want to paint,” Duncan said. “I have to be emotional about it or I won’t paint it.”

Duncan said her biggest challenge isn’t painting people, it’s rocks.

“When you start you paint flat rocks and adding the shading and the shadow to make them round is more difficult than I thought,” Duncan said.

Ferrigno said that in retrospect he would have taken an art class, but one with a specific focus.

“I’d take a class in materials, which I never did. That hurts me now because I have to learn everything about working with paints and canvas by trial and error,” Ferrigno said.

Both artists said they paint for their own enjoyment, not to be able to sell paintings.

“I give them to family so they can hang them up,” Duncan said. “You sell a few every once in a while, which just helps you buy paint and canvas.”

Ferrigno’s work also includes several nudes, which he said he included for a very specific reason.

“I need to learn how to do clothing. I’m not so good at that yet,” Ferrigno said.

Ferrigno’s art can be seen online at http://www.harry

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.