Gerti a picture of happiness at surprise 90th birthday party

Gerti is celebrating her 90th birthday with friends at her class.
Gerti is celebrating her 90th birthday with friends at her class.

An art student who turns 90 on Saturday has shown you’re never too old to start a new hobby.

Gerti Pithie was thrown a surprise birthday party by her classmates and tutor Dorothy Wilson at her art class at the Beacon Centre in Bucksburn, Aberdeen.

The mature Matisse, who has been taking the class for almost three years, has even sold some of her works.

A watercolour painting of a vase of poppies by Gerti was recently sold to a lady at a display at Bucksburn Gala.

Gerti, who is originally from Vienna but has lived in Bucksburn for 61 years, said: “I was gobsmacked – I cried.

“Up until I came here I’d never done any art of any kind.

“It’s something I would have liked to do for many, many years but there was never a class here.”

Dorothy, the class tutor, said: “Gerti is here every week. She’s my best customer.

“I was delighted for her and for the group as a whole.”

Despite her success, Gerti has not let it go to her head and remains very modest about her work.

She said: “I think it would be really big headed if you went about saying ‘my picture is marvellous’. I liked it myself but that doesn’t mean it was any good.”

Gerti, who has had numerous jobs over the years including working as a nursing assistant, said the class has finally allowed her to learn about art and make new friends.

She added: “I love it. They’ve been very kind to me.”

Everyone in the class loves Gerti and the surprise party, complete with birthday cake, again left her feeling quite emotional.

She said: “I was greeting. I’m not used to people being kind to me.”

The class is suitable for all ability levels and covers a range of styles, including watercolour, pencil sketching, acrylic and Gerti’s favourite – pastels.

Gerti said she would encourage anyone to join a similar group, no matter what their age is.

She said: “You’re never too old to try something new. I’m a great example of that.”