As I approached the entrance to the memory care live-in facility, my heart raced. Walking along each corridor, I could feel my face become flushed. I hesitated outside of the library. The open door became my window to wonderment. Thirteen artists assembled around tables. Watercolors, brushes, cups filled with water and paper plate palettes were placed neatly before each visitor.
For some, words are lost in the recesses of an aging mind. For others, words express fear, uncertainty and even anger. But today art is lost on none of these artists.
The artist trapped inside of my head questioned whether or not these few could create amidst mental clutter. But with words of inspiration and music like a gentle breeze, each were called to create outside of their box in a space they called their own.
Noticeably, a few heads droop, some hands wrestle with the tools of the trade and another drifts off for a time. And yet each begins to communicate and connect to a lost memory through an array of watercolors.
Does not each artist struggle with inspiration? What is it, where is it to be found?
The calendar photo of a hummingbird suspended in air brings Dottie back to her expansive yard where the littlest angels used to wrestle for their place on the feeder.
Thomas finds meaning in a Christmas card with brilliant poinsettias and shares about a time when he and his lovely wife would sit by a decorated tree.
Angie’s frustration as an artist is apparent from the onset. She says that she has no patience for this sort of drivel, until a vertical rainbow unfolds on her paper. To which she remarks, “I am quite good, aren’t I?”
As their concentration increased so, too, the sense of support and companionship lovingly spread among the artists.
Johnny kept loosing sight of his paintbrush. But his confidence never waned, nor had his sense of humor diminished. I commented that his Pueblo sketch was an interesting piece. “You think so? Well, I am loosing my touch. I am going down hill. But I guess if I must, I will do it with a paintbrush in my hand.”
Josephine’s landscape of sand, stones and sky was a work of art. When encouraged to add trees to her piece she did so under duress. “There are no trees here.” she said as she began to crumple her painting. Her neighbor, Mary, saved it from destruction and gently erased the uninvited trees which caused Josephine to beam!
Betty was never an artist. She was a hiker! And her artwork was inspired by a rugged mountain that was surrounded by a calming river. “I remember taking the girl scouts hiking. Oh, we had to train for weeks to prepare for our campouts. On one occasion three dads wanted to come along for the hike. Of course, they couldn’t finish! They weren’t prepared, like a good scout. Those were the days,” Betty said.
Your life is your work of art. Inspiration surrounds you with family, friends, meaningful work. Every moment is a memory in the making. Cherish and share the joy.