Wednesday, October 9, 2013

art with the elderly

Three-week painting
Two more classes this week, first in Assisted Living, then in the Alzheimer's wing. Various conflicts meant only a handful of students in each, but that gave me time to sit with the each student, and help them, again, to face the blank page and come out with art sixty minutes later.

 The start of class is always the hardest. People are "all over the place:" restless, tired, doubtful. My job each week is to open an emotional window and let the fresh breeze blow in.

 We talk about the subject matter.  I demonstrate a technique. Then, one by one, they begin to find their way.

Autumn still life
 Autumn is the easiest time to teach. Subject matter is everywhere, just waiting to be brought inside.

Working with stenciled designs
I brought stencils this week. They charmed even the most hesitant into painting.

New student, autumn tree

A new student in the Alzheimer's class did not speak until the very end. But she painted, fully engaged for nearly an hour. She smiled when the painting was done.

Autumn landscape
This landscape is by a woman who's worked with me for nearly five years. She'd never painted before I came. Now she can scarcely hold the brush and uses her non-dominant hand. But look at that work: Energy. Color. Life.

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