For advanced Alzheimer's patients, the "still life" model of teaching fails. Too many steps. Too many instructions that slip away into the fog.
So we sing instead, and play with color.
|Picking out the next color|
The act of mark-making is enough. It is an effort that rewards with surprise. Often we start with circles. "Take the line on a trip," I tell them. "Let the colors dance."
|"It's good to hold a brush again."|
Some students painted their whole lives. I can still see that memory in the way they handle the brush. But most are new to art. Each week, I show them. "Touch it to the paper. Press hard. Pull with your shoulder. See the color grow."
|Fly away home|
This artist hardly moved his hand for weeks. Then: surpise! The oil pastels seem to make much more sense to him than watercolors. At the hour's end: "A bird in trouble," he chuckled. Success.