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Francine ready to celebrate SALA

A stroke was never going to dampen the artist in Francine Jacques. She just changed her painting style….and went from being a right hand painter to a left.

“I can’t do the intricate sketches and portraits I used to do, but I can still do landscapes in oil and acrylics,” the ACH Group Perry Park resident says.

Every second year, Francine enters a number of her Australiana landscapes in the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival and this year is no different, with eight exhibits entered.

Francine began painting as a child, but says her artistic side took a back seat for many years as she juggled work, a move to Australia from Belgium and motherhood.

“I moved to Perry Park when I had my stroke in 2006. One day I saw a lady painting and asked if I could, too. I was brought some paints and canvases, and have never looked back.”

Today, Francine paints twice a week – generally from photos and pictures of outback scenes.

The walls of Perry Park’s corridors are lined with her exquisite Australian landscapes bursting with colour – from the rich reds of the Northern Territory to the lush green vegetation of Western Australia in springtime and the ochre of the Murray River’s soaring cliffs.

“I have always loved the Australian landscape and even though I can’t get out to see it as much these days, the memory of it is still very strong in my mind – the richness of the colours especially.”

Francine says she is looking forward to viewing her SALA exhibits in this year’s festival, but says none of her paintings will go on sale.

“I hate letting go of any of them. I’ve only ever sold one, and even then I hesitated. I just like to keep them all.”

One of Francine’s biggest supporters is her husband, who also lives at Perry Park in an adjoining room.

“It’s lovely that we can still be together,” Francine says.

ACH Group has been involved in SALA each year for the past six years, beginning with a single venue exhibition in 2010.

Dementia Learning and Development Unit Senior Manager Lenore de la Perelle says SALA supports ACH Group’s Healthy Ageing Approach which makes it as easy as possible for people in its residential living homes to choose to be active, remain connected and engage in what they love to do.

“When people paint or draw they are describing their emotions; expressing something that they can’t find words for,” she says. “Art gives people the opportunity to look back and think about things in a creative and deeply meaningful way.”

This year ACH Group will show art at seven unique venues, including its flagship venue at The Space Between, Rundle St, to be officially opened next Thursday. SALA runs from 1 to 31 August.

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