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At Warkworth Oaks, Elva has found plenty of time to explore her passion for drawing.

Elva Leaming took her first drawing course in Devonport (Auckland) four years ago, and she instantly fell in love with it. She found that perspective was difficult to learn, but it didn’t stop her and now she likes to draw buildings.

Elva and her partner Patrick moved to Warkworth Oaks in April 2019, after spending several months searching for the right place: “I was not even looking for a retirement village. That was the last thing I wanted.” She was looking for an apartment that was easy to lock up and leave and eventually relocated from Birkenhead to the heart of Warkworth Village.

As an amateur painter, Elva enjoys seeing how the seasons transform the trees, with spring showing the most dramatic change. Many birds choose the oaks in front of her apartment to build their nests. Last month she drew this gorgeous sketch of a kingfisher who spent the day in front of her favourite window.

Elva and Patrick are keen travellers. Before moving to Warkworth Oaks, they spent three months on a world cruise. It was after this trip that Elva was commissioned to illustrate a children’s book, the Takapuna Tram, by Elizabeth Welsman Dawson. It was a growth experience that she will always remember.

Elva worked as a librarian in Auckland until she retired and then moved to Warkworth. “I like the fact that without using the car you can go out and find everything at your fingertips”, She adds that the retirement village is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, shops and plenty of services. On top of that the Mahurangi River is only a few minutes away. She loves strolling along the riverbank and, if inspiration hits her, she will sit down and draw some sketches of the birds that love the view as much as she does.

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