World records buffs take note: artist Sare Dale Mannakee, who lives at the Friends Nursing Home in Sandy Spring, might claim several. Mannakee began painting seriously at age 84, had her first show at 94 and now, at 105, remains an active painter. (Grandma Moses began her career at age 78, sold her first works at 80 and continued to paint until her death at 101.)
"She out-grandmas Grandma Moses," says Mannakee's greatest fan, Milton Ehrenreich, a local artist, retired businessman and former first chairman of the Rockville Senior Citizens Commission.
Mannakee, who was born while Ulysses S. Grant was president, also took up the study of archery at age 93.
The artist says she has given away more paintings than she has sold. Her painting of the Maryland state house, for example, was presented to then-governor Blair Lee in March, 1979.
An overflow crowd of friends and relatives recently threw a surprise party to celebrate Mannakee's birthday. The party decor included 17 of her landscapes and seascapes in oil, chalk or crayon -- all collected by Ehrenreich. Mannakee noted that a strong point of many of these works is a rendition of the sun, moon or a lighthouse as reflected on water.
A recent hip injury left her confined to a wheelchair, but she and Ehrenreich said they plan to rig an easel across her lap so she can continue painting.
Reaffirming the optimistic spirit that seems to have kept her active, Mannakee declared, "My doctor says that in about five years I might be able to walk again."