SMALL TOWNS: Wrightstown woman still painting at 100

Centenarian's favorite tools are the easel and brushes
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 2:19 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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WRIGHTSTOWN, Wis. (WBAY) - Living to be 100 years old is a major milestone for anyone to reach. But now imagine that when it comes to your favorite hobby, you still enjoy the same talents you did decades ago.

This week in Small Towns, we meet a Wrightstown woman still painting beautiful works of art.

When the calendar turned to 2023, it meant a special year for Germaine Smith.

“Just got done celebrating, January 8th,” states Germaine.

That’s the day Germaine turned a century old.

“Tremendous,” says Germaine with a smile.

Yet it’s a milestone she never expected to reach.

“For some odd reason I just thought something will happen -- I’ll get in a car accident or something, fall and hurt myself so I’ll pass on, but I didn’t,” says Germaine.

Growing up in the Wrightstown area, Germaine graduated high school in 1940.

Shortly after, she decided to pursue a hobby inspired by her mom.

“Then the war started, and the boys all had to go into the service, so what do you do? Either go with girlfriends someplace or you stay home. And my mother was painting, and I thought I should try that once and see how that would go,” recalls Germaine.

Based on her very first painting, Germaine had discovered an undeniable talent.

“I didn’t even ask my mother how to mix the colors.”

A gift?

“Yes,” she said, “and I love painting fall scenes and putting those colors in, and it’s also the gift to still have a nice steady hand, that’s the big gift.” She chuckles.

After getting married and starting a family, Germaine took a break from painting to raise her family.

But once her children were on their own, she picked up a brush again and found a new style of painting.

“That’s one thing about watercolor, you can do so many different things with it,” says Germaine.

Over the last 35 years, each of Germaine’s 5 children, 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren have received a hand-painted card for every holiday or special occasion.

“That got started then with cards for birthdays and Christmas and graduations,” explains Germaine, adding, “Then I know then that they’ll remember me.”

Those cards are family treasures.

“They’ve got albums for each one of their children and they got all their cards in it,” says Germaine.

Which must make her feel special?

“Oh yes, and then they show them to somebody else,” says Germaine.

Whether it’s a new card or her latest creation on canvas, Germaine paints just about every day, one-and-a-half hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.

She says she doesn’t want to sit any longer because, after all, she has daily exercises, errands, and chores around the house to focus on as well.

“Yeah, people say, ‘Oh, I’m so bored.’ I can’t say that. There’s not enough hours in the day for me,” says Germaine.

She is simply an amazing woman who considers herself deeply blessed with good health and a steady hand after all these years.

“That’s amazing, that part. I amaze myself,” says Germaine, breaking out in laughter.

If you spend a little time with Germaine, you quickly sense a woman who is at peace and grateful to still be painting, beautifully, at the age of 100.

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