Art for seniors: Guardian Angels residents enjoy Tuesdays at the easels with help from Schroeder students
by Bruce Strand, Arts editor
Each Tuesday afternoon up to a dozen residents of Guardian Angels are wheeled in to the activities room for an opportunity to make oil paintings, with the help of members of Schroeder Painting Studio.
“This is something they look forward to all week,” said Ronda Landt, Guardian Angels activities director, “and they are amazed at what the can do in art in their older age. It’s been a wonderful addition to our activities program. Harvey and his gang have been just awesome in the work they do to make this special for them. And they are all looking forward to the big show.
An exhibit of the residents’ art work will be held on Thursday, May 19, from 6 to 8 p.m.
When the Star News visited Tuesday, Harvey Schroeder, Mark Haglund, Sondra Schroeder-Davis and Vicki Sackmeister were assisting ten residents. We chatted with a few of them senior artists.
One was Eunice Upton, 93, who paints from photos like the other but likes to “make each one my own” by adding something, usually wildlife, such as the swans in a photo on this page. “I like to paint anything with the outdoors,” she said, as she worked on a seascape Tuesday. She also writes stories and songs, and has sung to the residents at Guardian Angels gatherings.
Karen Lincoln has just one working eye and one working arm but gets some help from the Schroeder students and enjoys the weekly sessions. She’s known as a cheerful quipster.
Eva Becker is a regular at the class who thoroughly enjoys painting and always seems to have the most paint on herself. She was happily signing one landscape she had finished, and was looking through photos for her next project.
Shirley Bjork loves to paint birds. She was working with Haglund on a parakeet on Tuesday. Another of her paintings appears on this page as well.
Betty Duggan is a “very focused” painter, said Schroeder-Davis, who can churn out a painting in one sitting without needing any help. Harvey adds that she is a “very sweet lady that you’d like your grandma to be like.”
One resident got a good start on a painting of a cat, then fell asleep. Schroeder explained that this lady suffers from severe dementia. Some days she sleeps, and other days she “puts the right color and the right amount of paint in the right place” for three hours and makes a nice Impressionistic-type painting. “They say art work is good for dementia patients,” he noted.
This is the third year of this project at Guardian Angels.