Monday, August 22, 2011

Art in a Nursing Home

Recently, I had cause to visit a nursing home. Many times, in fact, as my daughter needed physical therapy in order to recuperate from an injury. Despite the fact that I selected the nursing/rehabilitation facility, I cried as I wrote her name on all her clothing.

But the Good Samaritan Nursing Center's walls are covered with original art created by the patients and residents. The naive, amatuer paintings add a personal touch to the pristine halls. On closer inspection, I noticed that many of the painting were for sale. Several group paintings had been divided into four separate frames for an interesting and colorful display. 

How cool is that? Despite the presence of the sick and wounded, elderly people trying their best to accommodate stroke or deal with amputations, the art lent a note of hope and beauty, elevating the mood of what we often think of as a depressing place.

Some of the paintings were created using a technique that allows nonartists to understand the concept of painting. The art teacher lays a simple outline on the canvas to give the residents a basis on which to build their painting. The results, as you can see, are charming. 

This lovely farm scene shows a nice balance and  strong lines, with an inviting warmth. How many of the elderly in the home have memories of a rural past? This scene feels like home.

The framed painting on the left is not for sale. I love cheerful yellow house, and white houses beyond. Whether the artist chose to depict a suburb or a small town, the Old World feeling seems lush with a backdrop of trees.

The gardener or farmer portrayed in this painting appears quite happy with her work. Perhaps it is her green thumb, her way with the flowers so charmingly depicted on the right. The rustic feel with the sweep of blue mountains in the background is a far cry from predicament that is now the artists lot in life.

"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."  - John Milton (Paradise Lost)

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