Although her mother recognized the natural artistic talent in her daughter, Libby delayed any education in this area. It was not until Libby’s mother passed on that Libby decided to pay tribute to her mother’s wishes and pursue an education in art. Libby traveled to educate herself. She took art courses in the United States and abroad spending time in Italy and France. Libby says, “I studied and travelled as a tribute to my Mom… that is why I sign the back of all my art with TYM. This stands for Thank you, Mom.”
Libby, who has a passion for watercolor, has shared her passion with the Residents at our Home as a tribute to her mother. Libby enthusiastically comments that by using art; one can express his or her own feelings, reflect emotion or tell a story with just a few brush strokes.
Resident Rosemarie Faulkner was creating a beautiful scene of a farm in Ireland. Rosemarie grew up on a farm. In her picture, sun soaked haystacks were a focal point. “I liked the haystacks on my family farm”, Rosemarie explained with a smile. “While I was in the Peace Corp, I shared a house with another woman. I painted my half of the house. I like painting. I also painted panda bears for my son, who is a priest, for his feast day – St. Joseph’s Feast Day.”
Pat Behan was painting a bird on a winter crab apple branch. Instructor Libby gave directions to start on the tail, press the brush, draw up and lift. Libby encouraged the use of white for some light. Magically, the tail feathers were coming to life as Pat continued to press and lift the brush forming the tail feathers. You could almost feel the cold of the day reflected in that painting.
Evelyn Ridley was just getting started with the class. The other Residents had started a few weeks earlier. The most important thing Evelyn has learned so far has been to “use water first and then the color; it makes a difference.” Libby sketches a framework in pencil for the Residents to begin painting and they take it from there.
Shirley Doll chose to paint a barn scene. It reminded her of her past life raising pigs and cows. Trees, whose trucks had already been painted, were receiving full green tops with well-placed brush strokes. Shirley smiled as she commented, “The best part of this class is seeing the outcome.”
Jackie Cooper was quietly painting. Libby reviewed her work and suggested using different color values explaining to Jackie the eyes of the cat she was working on needed more light and more depth. Libby gave a few suggestions. Jackie understood the technique and in a few strokes the cat’s eyes came to life. Jackie shared that the subject of her painting was Elizabeth, her 12 year old cat who she recently lost this past December.
As the residents worked on their watercolor piece, the room became meditatively quiet. The focus of eye hand coordination was improving fine motor skills. This improvement will carry over into other daily tasks that require precise movements. This watercolor class is a soothing activity that encouraged communicating thoughts that are sometimes hard to express; the loss of a beloved pet, the memories of a well-loved farm, an earlier time in one’s life.
Each of the Residents felt confident in their ability to create something beautiful and talk about it. This is a tribute to Libby; her warm and welcoming teaching style that encouraged Residents to express their own creative style. Libby recently retired and we will all miss her and the contribution she made to the Home and Residents. Thank you, Libby!
In the classroom, working on a different project, were Karen McKay and Janice Hall. These ladies are very busy sewing baby quilts for donation to the Gift Shop!