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to Our Seniors' Art Portfolio

We would like to take a moment to dedicate this page to the people who have made a difference in our lives.  Your love and encouragement have fueled our artistic passions and have helped us grow into who we are today. We appreciate you more than words can express.

Our Arts for Seniors' Portfolio is something we are happy to provide to honor and commemorate the outstanding accomplishments of our senior artists. We have personally witnessed how our courses have shaped them into self-assured, courageous, and tenacious artists. They have maintained their focus and made significant progress on their artwork while taking numerous classes. We want to thank them by giving them a dedicated place where they may present their work to the public, where visitors, family and friends can view some of the seniors' artwork. This area will serve as motivation for others and a reminder of the power and significance of using art as a means of development, therapy, and discipline. These remarkable people have elevated their artistic abilities via perseverance and hard effort. We feel privileged to share in their adventure.


The pieces of art displayed in this section were all produced in our Arts for seniors classes.


Carol Georgiev

Dominique's class has been super beneficial to me.  Despite the years of Covid I’ve had this class to look forward to and enjoy.  Now the house is filling up with accomplishments/art homework assignments.  Dominique takes us thru many forms of media, including drawing.  She’s an amazing artist and an instructor with the patience of Job and the kindest of hearts.  Thanks for sharing with us, Seniors, your many talents and time, Dominique.  You are a gem.

Ellen Kardy

These classes mean a lot to me. I've always wanted to learn to draw. There are a lot of artists on my mother's side of the family, and there's always been art all over the house. But I grew up with a couple friends who ended up as professional artists, who both were terrific at it from the moment their little fingers first clutched a crayon, so I guess I had unrealistic ideas about how bad I was at it. So here I was four years ago at the very beginning of Covid, sitting around the house watching my dear, sweet, smart, sassy mother's dementia get worse and worse and worse, and Iona House offered a senior art class in learning to draw. All on the Zoom platform so I wouldn't have to go out and risk killing either of us immunocompromised seniors. And I learned how to draw, and I was actually pretty good at it. And then we did something else, maybe pastels, which I loved, and acrylics, which I loved, and watercolors which I basically sucked at, and then we did it all again, only this time we picked up on the finer points of perspective, color theory, more pastels, more drawing, more acrylics, some mixed media etc. etc. And I've got to tell you, I feel like these classes have saved my life. Being able to think about something I really loved during a dark period of my life made a huge difference to me. I love Dominique, she's so kind and helpful and patiently puts up with all our questions and occasional rants and whines. My classmates amaze me with their abilities. I can't believe how good some of their pieces are, and they're always willing to share how they did something that worked or didn't. This class has been a terrific experience, and I love it.  

ZMAG's Senior Student Ellen Kardy
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My experiences in Zola Monroe Art Group workshops provided through IONA were much more rewarding than I ever dreamed, primarily because I have taken art classes over ten years or more without much improvement.  After taking Art for Seniors, I am now proud to show my friends and even a few strangers some of the finished paintings I’ve done.  I’ve learned techniques that I will continue to use for many years, and I no longer fear trying a medium that I’ve never tried.  Thanks and kudos to Dominique for her patience in teaching us and giving us feedback on each and every work.  I look forward to taking more workshops and continuing to improve with your help.

Patty Hamsher

ZMAG's Senior Student Michelle Stoute

Michele Stoute

I attend the "Iona Age Well. Live Well" Studio Art program on Thursday's at St. Albans in Northwest Washington. The paintings, sketches, and drawings in my portfolio were completed under Dominique's guidance. Through this program, I can continue to stay connected with others.


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Susan Hormuth

I started participating in Dominique’s weekly art class well over a year ago, hoping not to have to move much out of my “comfort zone.”  Apart from a couple of short-lived exceptions, I had not taken a studio art class in several decades.  While I have a background in photography, I had never had instruction, or even a chance to dabble, in several of the media Dominque brought to the seniors, such as drawing with pencils, charcoal, and pastels, and painting with acrylics, and creating colleges.  I thought that the classes for seniors would be more casual and less intimidating for me than instruction at an academic institution or private facility, and would I just get to “sample” some different art supplies.  However, I soon found that Dominique’s classes provide instruction on such topics as color theory, shading, and perspective along with a chance to “play” with familiar and unfamiliar media.  I enjoy my weekly chance to unplug from my normal routine and be creative.  I am always amazed with the diverse creativity of my fellow classmates --- our work looks so unique, even when we use the same reference image.  And I am happy to have my creative “zone” comfortably expanded.  Thanks, Dominique!

Susan Hormuth

May, 2023

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Sudabeh Behbin

I initially began my painting journey in September 2019 as part of University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) art class.  I had never painted before. But after a few months, I was in love.  I later started at Cleveland Park library, attending ZMAG's workshop.  These workshops have taught me a lot. I am overjoyed that I began painting.  I feel joyful and quite relaxed when I'm painting. 

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Joyce Smith

ZMAG workshops has been a wonderful place to learn about many facets of making art - from acrylics, pastels, watercolors, collage, and drawing basics. Dominique Hughes is a joy to have as an instructor. She is knowledgeable, supportive, and generous with her time, as well as being a gifted artist. 


           Click here to check out more work from Joyces' personal collection of art

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Donna Breslin

The Virtual Studio Arts Classes with Dominique Hughes have definitely made me a better artist.  Dominique walks us through various media, perspective, techniques, and color theory in a very patient and supportive way.  She is clear and gives us associated readings and homework.  She also shares ideas about setting up our work spaces and what products to buy.  We also get good, personal feedback about our work.  The other students in the class also share their techniques, tools, and ideas as well as supportive comments.  My images have improved along with my confidence over the last year and a half.  I enjoy the remote classes because it is difficult for me to get to the in-person classes, although I am sure those classes would be helpful also.  I look forward to the weekly classes and enjoy doing the homework assignments.  It’s lots of fun!

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Rudi Schreiber

When I retired 5 years ago, I knew I was not going to be just sitting around doing nothing. I was taking an evening class on fused glass and enamel when I found a flyer for Iona that led me to its website and daytime classes. I signed up for drawing at Iona with Dominique, which later moved to St. Albans. I had taken a drawing class years ago, so it was great that the drawing class started with the basics of shading, perspective, value, and perspective. Over several classes with Dominque, I have had the opportunity to explore pastel, watercolor, acrylic, collage, and mixed media. I have also begun classes at the University of the District of Columbia, and Dominique has also been willing to evaluate the drawing work I have done there. I eventually convinced my wife to come to classes, and she and I now sit next to one another and create from the same inspiration in very different ways. Thanks, Dominique, for your encouragement and support. 

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Merat Kebede

All my life, I have loved art.  I have gone to galleries and stood so close, scrutinizing the painting - the guards shushed me away.  I never dreamed in my later years I would discover - I am an artist too.


 Six months ago - I began taking classes from the Zola Monroe Art Group at the Senior Center.  It was the first time I have ever picked up a paint brush.  I really didn't like the confines of instruction, so Dominique left me alone to do as I had asked, which was - "Whatever." 


Because of Dominique's encouragement, guidance, belief in my talent, and her willingness to let me forge my own path - My "Whatever" follows in the paintings below.


Linda Clausen

Throughout my lifetime color has  infiltrated my brain and mind extensively. In my work life was I was first a Program Administrator in a  hospital Training Program.   At an older age , I returned to school to become a Licensed Social  Worker. No color in these vocations,  other than twice decorating the workspace for the Department in which I worked.     When I decided to get the more advanced degree,  I went back and forth to decide: social worker  or an Interior Designer.  Later on,  in a clinical class at school a professor shared that we should ensure that we have something that we do and like, other than work,  as it helps burn out.  I still never took an art class.


At retirement I knew I must learn to draw and paint if possible.   I took a couple of classes for a year before I learned of Dominique’s (D) classes. The  first class I took in-person with Dominique. I felt I would never be a great artist but I loved the idea of learning by rotating our painting mediums from acrylic,  pastels,  and watercolor.   Each class assignment I would either feel more confident, or, feel I just could not do what was  requested. I love that D gives us written  and hands on  guidance. She has patience, a sense of humor and is very professional. 


She teaches, but one's work does not always turn out as might be best.  Dominique can immediately tell.  She can guide us in the right direction in a pleasant way,    Whether something  could/should painted or drawn  in a different way, angle, mindset, she can guide us to a place of more confidence.   I haven taken both in-person and zoom classes with Dominique.   Each has its own good attributes.   I have improved through D’’s guidance. I can most certainly admit that I was definitely not a naturally born artist. In some areas I feel that “I can do this,” yet in some areas I still feel thing I just cannot. D’s guidance has led me to do what I enjoy and do best.   But I have learned that it is ok to do what one likes, but keep trying toward improving what one does not like. Do not  give up in trying new art experiences. 


Daniel Rosas


James Miles

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Josette Wisman

​In my mid-seventies, I decided it was high time for me to learn how to draw and paint; I had taught art history for years and so it was appropriate that I start practicing what I talked about.


I took a few classes here and there and then I discovered that Iona offered classes in painting.  So, just before Covid hit, I started drawing and painting with Dominique.


I have learned a lot with her, she is a gifted artist who knows how to teach her art methodically and gently, for I would say that she has a great amount of patience!   I am far from being good, but I think that under Dominique’s guidance, I have made a lot of progress in my 3-4 years with her.  Thank you so much Dominique.


Edie White

Sketching and drawing for more than 30 years, I ventured into acrylic paintings, guided by Dominique in classes at Iona Senior Services of Washington DC.


Retired from teaching French, and English, secondary & post secondary, I also devote my time as a volunteer chaplain in TN prisons & teaching sewing to friends at IONA.  


Two of my acrylic works, "Water Dreams"  & "Samhain Moon”, signed & numbered Limited Edition Prints mounted on canvas are available at the fund- raising auction of First Unitarian Church of Nashville now through November 4th, 2023. 

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