Harry Manchester outlined and painted the shape of Winnie, a shih-tzu, in oil paint two weeks ago, but he took a week off from oil painting at Founders Hall last week because of snow.
"I enjoy oil painting because it's a very forgiving medium," said Manchester, 70, who retired in 2003 from Rye public schools, where he taught middle school science. Paint thin, Manchester advised, and if it's the wrong color or in the wrong place, paint over it once it dries.
He started painting, drawing and coloring classes at Founders Hall after retiring, and he fills in other free time by volunteering for Housatonic Habitat for Humanity in Danbury.
"I have no free time now that I'm retired," Manchester said, who brings his grown children to Founders Hall when they're visiting.
Founders Hall is 13 years old, and it is designed to look like a spacious Ridgefield house. It has an expansive entrance with a balcony on the second floor that leads people to the computer room, sewing room, and numerous meeting rooms. Downstairs is the dining area, more meeting rooms, the card room, library and other rooms. Outside is a shuffle board court, a bocci court and an outside exercise area that belongs to the Ridgefield Recreation Center next door.
"They can't believe Founders Hall, and they grew up in Ridgefield," said Manchester, who set up nearly an hour early for his 1 p.m. Oil Painting class. He wasn't alone.
Around the corner, the Bridge Intermediate class had started, and people were gathering in the library for Spanish Conversation taught by Marie-Cinta Lowe, the former director of the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury.