Laurel Delarios, a resident of Presbyterian Village North, has been inspired by artwork – both creating and viewing it – for much of her life. At a young age, she drew and cut out her own paper dolls and their clothes while other girls played with those bought at a store. Her passion for drawing and fashion continued to grow, leading her to pursue an art degree in illustrated fashion from the Parsons School of Design in New York. She picked up painting during this time as well, practicing it as a hobby on the side. Once she graduated, she worked in the fashion industry for her first job, sketching models and clothing for Neiman Marcus. Eventually, Delarios fell in love and traveled the United States with her husband – who served in active duty for the U.S. military – and they started their family. Once her children reached their teens, she decided to pick up painting again. She joined a group of women in Dallas and painted with them for more than 25 years. Now she paints in her apartment at Presbyterian Village North.
“It feels so good to express yourself through creative outlets,” said Delarios. “That’s why I’ve been creating art and doing crafts for more than 85 years. It’s good to explore creative endeavors, and it’s inspiring. Art gives you the chance to take something that is in your head and put it on a canvas, or infuse it in a sculpture or sketch it on pad for someone else to see. Art is about the creation and sharing of ideas or visions. I’ve enjoyed expressing myself and making art my entire life. Fashion illustration became obsolete once photography really took off, but painting is still a hobby that I practice to this day.”
Delarios likes to make oil paintings and has painted many subjects including women, still life, portraits, dancers and Venetian masks. Having spent three years studying and drawing live female models, she became acquainted with sketching and drawing the female body very well. For this reason, most of her paintings of dancers are female. She paints pictures of dancers because of her affinity for dancing and fashion.
“My late husband and I danced throughout our entire lives,” said Delarios. “We loved the energy, the music and the gaiety that we experienced while moving around the dance floor. Personally, I love the motion of dancing and the way a woman’s clothes sway as she turns and steps. I wanted to transfer those feelings and that imagery to canvas to share it with others. I love combining my passion for dancing and painting. As for the Venetian masks, I simply came across an image one day and was fascinated. I love how elaborate they are, and how each one captivates me in a different way.”
Delarios finds images of Venetian masks that she likes and does her best to illustrate them with her oil paints on small canvases. Currently, she is working on two paintings in her apartment. Previous completed works hang in her home, two are on display in a commons area at Presbyterian Village North for other residents to enjoy and others are in the homes of her children and grandchildren.
“Laurel is modest and will tell you painting is just a hobby, but her work is both lovely and inspiring,” said Lisa Englander, life enrichment manager of Presbyterian Village North. “We were delighted when she agreed to let us feature two of her works in our display case for other residents to enjoy. Artwork has the potential to move people emotionally, resonating with them on a deep level. For this reason, Presbyterian Village North schedules visits and tours of local art museums and special exhibits that come into town. We value art and want to provide residents with opportunities for outings that are both cultured and uplifting.”