ANNIE Matheson says she didn't even think about painting until she was facing the prospect of an 'empty nest' and she credits community adult education courses with developing her talent.
The winner of the contemporary art section at last weekend's Art By The Sea exhibition at Scotts Head has now won prizes at Sawtell and Dorrigo, been highly commended in a Coffs Harbour art show, and been included in her first group exhibition with two other artists at Lake Russell Gallery.
She wants to encourage other people to take advantage of the opportunities offered through community adult education colleges, which offer a wide range of classes at Coffs Harbour and Bellingen.
"I had my children fairly young, so at 44 I was facing an empty nest and I started as an absolute novice," Ms Matheson said.
"The first course I ever did, in 1994, was drawing from the right side of the brain with Phil Young, which taught me to see things as shape and form."
Since then she has done oils and charcoal with Kath Robb; watercolour, with Stella Pearse at Dorrigo; pastels, with Vivian Walters at Nambucca Heads; acrylic painting, with Sara Wade; and contemporary drawing with David Cox.
"I went to the Grafton ArtsFest and did abstract painting with Peter Griffin ? now I'm absolutely sold on it," Ms Matheson said.
She said novices had nothing to fear from their lack of experience.
Georgie Faircloth is tutoring Drawing for Absolute Beginners at Coffs Harbour Community Adult Education (CCAE) starting on noon on Monday, phone 6652 5378. The course of four noon-2.30pm Monday classes, includes a free introductory drawing kit and costs $65.