Meet the opsimaths

The opsimaths. Pictured from left at back are Jacquie McDonald, Robin Pegler, Natasha Benson, Rose-Marie Moulton. In front from left are Ann Raymond, Barb Mailer and Rob Archer.
The opsimaths. Pictured from left at back are Jacquie McDonald, Robin Pegler, Natasha Benson, Rose-Marie Moulton. In front from left are Ann Raymond, Barb Mailer and Rob Archer.

We are wary of those who throw around words most of us don’t know or understand.

We can’t help but think that, well, they’re just a little bit up themselves. Our belief is that a simple word we all understand is in fact, superior” to one we don’t. Isn’t it all about communication?

But, a story, and a chance encounter with the word “opsimath” has made us re-consider, just this once.

Last week passionate Goondiwindi artist Natasha Benson contacted the Argus.

She was excited to promote a new exhibition at the “Art Space” at the Goondiwindi Civic Centre which opens on Friday, March 2.

More so she wanted to promote her fellow exhibitors some who hadn’t exhibited before apart from entering various competitions such as the Show.

All are in their 70s and 80s apart from Natasha who is a young 46.

They have been drawn them together by a love of  being creative; something most of them have done since they could hold a pencil and “scribble”, but some such as Rob Archer was simply a “sheep, cotton and coffee” man until deciding art maybe something worth “taking up”.

Barb Mailler has been painting for six years – by accident.

“I was asked to take a friend to an art class. She didn’t go, I did and that was that. It’s the most relaxing thing. I am so happy I went.”

Rose-Marie “Buddy” Moulton did art at hair-dressing school.

“I guess it was all about learning balance and composition,” said Rose-Marie who is still slightly bemused why it was one of the subjects.

Robin, a legendary horse trainer, said art has been a part of her life since doing it at school. One of her “mates” was artist and  former Director of the  National Gallery of Australia, Betty Churcher (nee Cameron).

Art and music are like food and water for Jacquie who says she can’t imagine life without them.

Ann can’t remember not drawing or “scribbling something” while Natasha fell in love with the joy of creating from the moment she first picked up a pencil.

“It’s one of my earliest memories,” she said.

Aftre speaking with them, and purely by chance, we were looking for one word – yes it was in an old-fashoned “bible” – a hard copy dictionary – when we saw another word instead which informed us we’d just been talking to a number of  “opsimaths”.

And mighty fine ones at that who are proving we should all look forward to life opsimathically and optimistically, no matter what our age.

For clarity’s sake, those opsimaths are Robin Pegler, 83,  Ann Raymond, 78, Rose-Marie Moulton, 75, Barb Mailler, 73, Jacquie McDonald, 75, Rob Archer, 86, and Natsha Benson, 46.

All have different artistic styles which they will be keen to show off.

Don’t miss their first exhibition as a group.

Oh the meaning! Opsimath, noun: one who learns later in life. Which goes hand-in-hand with the group which began as part of a U3A course.

The University of the Third Age is an international movement whose aims are the education and stimulation of mainly retired members of the community—those in their third 'age' of life. It is commonly referred to as U3A. 

PS. Want to join the club? Contact Ann on 4671 1017 or Natsha on 0414 969 922.