Painting helps woman fine peace

Mary Sanches loves to paint at her home on Sheldon Road in

By Lauren Jones
Gilroy
– Mary Sanches’s colorful paintings match the vibrancy of her
personality.
At 82, Sanches finds peace in creating beautiful pictures.

I have always loved painting and drawing, it makes me feel
wonderful,

said Sanches, grinning.
By Lauren Jones

Gilroy – Mary Sanches’s colorful paintings match the vibrancy of her personality.

At 82, Sanches finds peace in creating beautiful pictures.

“I have always loved painting and drawing, it makes me feel wonderful,” said Sanches, grinning. She is skilled in oil painting and has a large collection of art work ranging from trees to exotic fish, all of which capture nature’s beauty.

“It takes me a few months to finish each painting but I like to do it slower,” Sanches said. “It comes out better that way.”

Sanches was born in San Jose, and at the age of 7, her father, who was a dairy worker, decided to relocate their family. He packed up and moved his wife, Mary and her brother David, to Gilroy in hopes of a better job.

Her family struggled to support themselves, and Sanches’s father and grandfather instilled working values into Mary and David at a very young age.

“When I was 6 and 7, I worked from six in the morning to six at night cutting apricots from trees,” she said. “We had so much fun together though. I made about 50 cents a day. We grew up old-fashioned and my dad and grandfather believed in us working.”

Soon after coming to Gilroy, the Sanches family was devastated when Antone, Mary’s father, died from cancer.

“My dad’s passing was an awful trauma to our lives,” she said. “He was a wonderful person.”

Sanches’s mother tried hard to keep the family together, but the task was daunting without her husband by her side.

“We grew up struggling,” said Sanches “I’m still struggling. But sometimes it makes you better when something bad happens.”

At the age of 14 Sanches’s family moved into a small home, south of Bloomfield Avenue in east Gilroy, where Mary lives today. The one bedroom home is tiny and without central heat. But in her painting and drawing she finds comfort knowing that she can create beautiful things despite her hardship.

Mary continued to attend school after her father died and teachers began to see that her drawing and painting skills exceeded that of her peers.

“One of my teachers knew that I hated geography, so instead of making me sit threw the whole class once in a while she would excuse me so I could draw banners for our high school’s events,” Sanches said.

Mary continued to paint and her teachers began to displaying her artwork.

“I never had much confidence in myself but my teachers said I was good,” she said.

After high school, during WW II, Sanches found various jobs before she found a job at a local cannery.

At the age of 40, Sanches’s paintings were put on display for the first time.

“I walked into the room and began crying,” she recalled. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Sanches never married and has no children. When her mother got sick Sanches dedicated her time to taking care of her mother instead of looking for someone marry.

“I don’t regret it. Not for a second,” Sanches said.

Today Mary still paints along with embroidering, crocheting, and sewing.

“I’ve never had a bored moment in my life. If I get tired of one thing I’ll do another,” she said. “When I was a girl I used to dream of being an artist. I love to paint and I’ll never give it up.”

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