Jean Eisenhart remembers that first painting of a lighthouse perched on a rocky shore.
"Have you ever tried to paint rocks?" she asked through a heavy sigh. "It's not as easy as it looks."
It was 2005, and the Dover woman had enrolled in an oil-painting class for members of the Yorktowne Senior Center.
She'd never painted before, but Eisenhart was looking for something to do with her extra time.
As she dragged a pencil lightly across a blank canvas recently, Eisenhart, 72, recalled just how far she and her fellow students had come since those early days.
"None of us knew what end of the paint brush to hold," she said.
Eisenhart is an original member of the class, which continues to meet regularly at Faith United Methodist Church, 509 Pacific Ave.
The students -- all ladies -- spend the time gabbing and creating art, praising each other's work and questioning the quality of their own.
First instructor: In the early days, the instructor was a man named Ed Woodward, whose name is never far from the lips of the ladies he taught how to paint. Woodward died a few years ago.
He was one of those beloved teachers, the kind of guy whose compliments were cherished because they were so infrequently deployed, Eisenhart said.
The students remain a tight group, said Nancy Roth, another original member from Dover.
On Thursday, Roth recalled the resolution she made upon retiring years ago. First, she wanted to learn to paint. And then she wanted to learn to play the piano.
"I've gotten so involved in the painting that I never got to the piano," Roth, 73, said. "It's so much fun to step back and see what you've done."
The newest member of the group, Jewel Stough, said she stumbled upon the class when she stopped by the center last year to take advantage of free tax preparation. A new retiree, Stough, 64, said she immediately enrolled.
Each week, "I look forward to it," she said.
As the ladies work, Jan Zeigler spends a few minutes
with each student offering words of advice and encouragement. Zeigler, who owns Manchester Cottage Country Crafts, is the group's most recent instructor.
"We have some very talented painters," Zeigler said.
Even at 92: Zeigler's mother, 92-year-old Anna Baugher, is also in the class. She's been painting off and on her whole life, passing on that love of art to her daughter. These days, "I have the time and plenty of it," she said.
At this class, Baugher was putting the finishing touches on a painting of British thatch-roof cottages -- an image she'd found in a calendar and re-created for the first time 20 years ago. When she's finished, Baugher said she plans to pull the first painting out of the basement and compare it to the latest version.
"I'm going to look and see if I got any better," she said, beaming with a smile.
-- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or email@example.com or on Twitter @ydcity.