Thursday, September 16, 2004
once again Beth and I did an art class at a senior centre. same one as before, that is. two were with us before, and three others. 2 of the new ones had no confidence in what they were doing. that wall of inadequacy: "I don't know what I'm doing", "I can't paint" etc. with many, a little time could get them slapping the paint on. even as they harped on their lack of ability, you could see them drawn to it. and they listened to Beth and me as we told them just to play with the brushes, the colour, even if they couldn't quite do this. and they all were so supportive of each other, really gleeful to see what others could do. fuck this 'hope I die before I get old' shit. opportunity remains. one, a woman we met before, was adventurous and businesslike. tho she urged others on, she was very focussed on her own painting. one was a careful painting, from memory, of a vase of lavender, one was a spree of colour (mainly purple), and one was a charming, childlike rendering of a house, tree and sun. Beth realized that the other veteran was further complicted by Alzheimer's than we suspected. repeating herself and looping. her husband had, after our 1st visit, got her a sketch pad and a paint set. he realized the therapeutic advantages of this activity. she hadn't used either but she happily carried then with her. and she was so happy to see us. she was so bubbly, loved my joking around (my attempt to knock down the imposition of sullen seriousness), was tremendously supportive of others. yet didn't paint. she did sketch a vase of fake tulips in the room. she declared she preferred drawing to painting. she also problem solved about a flower study she was doing with a woman who couldn't get going herself. another woman had had a stroke. she chatted away, but her voice was low and a little difficult to hear, came out a like a mutter. but she was saying encouraging things, as well as sharp observaions. the one man was an ex-cop who listened so seriously to what Beth and I said. we were cheered to learn that people began painting on their own since we came in. as I fetched water from another room, I found a man painting a design on an apron. the centre actually had quite a horde of art supplies that had been going unused. now, I'm not about to crow how art can save people, of we could have cheered the joint as well with the promise of down and dirty cribbage fests, but it was art making people feel better.