There were only a few moans of apprehension when my class of assisted living artists saw my example of a whimsical turkey. “You want us to paint that”? But once I set the canvas down in front of them, each person took a large paint brush and began to paint the background. That’s how I’ve taught them to tackle that “blank canvas” anxiety. Once the background is painted, it’s easier to paint the details.
Thirty minutes into class, I had to add one more table to the three already pushed togother — 13 ladies wanted to paint. That is the biggest class yet, and 2 of my regulars couldn’t even be here. I am excited to have a full room. One or two men join us occasionally, but not on a regular basis. I have some ideas for projects that might be more appealing to them. We shall see…
When I told the ladies I would be gone for two weeks, Phyllis, my dramatic one, said, “Oh no, what are we going to do without you.” I love that Phyllis didn’t give up after our first class — she is a delight. And she no longer groans about her picture, but accepts my praise with a simple, “thank you.” She asks me to sign her name and date the bottom of every picture she finishes. That sounds like ‘pride in her work’ to me.
These women are proud of their pictures, simple as they are. I have attempted to talk about shading and shadows, but only Roberta feels confident enough to make those additions to the outline. That’s ok – they are happy with the finished picture and therefore I am too.
I myself have an 87 year old mother and a 95 year old mother-in-law, and often our conversations get stale as they have nothing new to talk about. I love that this art work gives these ladies something different to talk about — something new and fresh and exciting. I’m thinking maybe their family members appreciate the “new talk” as well.
Daisy walked by our class today, and timidly looked at the table. She came to the first class, but she didn’t care for the activity. “I didn’t know this is what was going on. Someone just said, sit down, so I did. But I don’t like to paint.” She never came back. And often she walks by the room, but never wants to join us. But today, she lingered just a bit longer. “Daisy, do you want to paint today?” “Well, I might try one.” She painted a turkey, using a large brush and the paint palette. I tried to offer the watercolor markers or smaller paint brushes, but she was content to just keep adding color with the large brush. That’s ok. No rules here. When I asked Daisy if I could take her picture (I always ask), she declined. However, she did allow me to capture her artwork. But she didn’t want to take her turkey back to her room. “I don’t want that old thing.” I kept it myself. I think it’s beautiful. Just like Daisy.
Credit for this gorgeous turkey design goes to Jess Hone.
You can find this picture and other fabulous ones at: Honedoodles.