Updated: May 26, 2019
"High Flying Love "
by Bobby Padilla for Roc Paint Sip
I recently presided over an event at a local nursing home. The activity was to celebrate Skilled Nurse's week. I thought it would be nice if the residents pair up with their designated care givers to do a diptych (two paneled painting). I thought "High Flying Love", a piece from our catalog would be fitting. It's a piece apropos to Valentine's day for couples. I've even done it modestly for a couple to celebrate their 20 year anniversary.
The concept is very simple. Each individual paints half a heart that meets in the middle, then each paint a wing. Folks then have plenty of sky or background to maybe incorporate a message if they want.
"The Nursing Home"
by Melissa Oden 2010 (48"×60")
Nursing home residents presented certain challenges, ranging from limited mobility to visual impairment, not to mention the lack of artistic experience, which is fine. I was determined to hurdle whatever physical or mental hurdles these folks had, and not let that rob them of a meaningful experience in that sun splashed activities room.
As I began my instruction and reassured both nurses and residents that they'll do fine, I had a parallel dialogue running internally in my head. First, I pondered all the life experiences and all the diverse journeys that these residents had. As they author the ending chapters of their life's story on this particular morning, a convergence, those lives lived, my wife and I, and the simple act of painting a symbol of love.
As I worked the room, spending time with each couple, I listen to stories from those lives lived. I'd hear "I painted when I was a kid" and "I knew a family member who could paint and draw." Some described of a piece of art given to them, etc.
My internal tape recorder was registering another tragedy, how do you live your life without witnessing, or valuing the beauty of what art brings? As the cruel hands of time slowly and systematically pick pocket our faculties and mobility, shouldn't we at least be distracted by the right things? On this particular morning, they would.
It's never about the end result. If a painting comes out pleasing to the individual, it's always an unexpected surprise. So I never carry any expectations. If the room is full of cheer and laughter, I'm satisfied I've done my job.
Helping each team with their painting, I recorded something else to memory. Something so mundane as a simple brush stroke of color on canvas, these folks seemed overjoyed and filled with wonderment. Like a young child, you'd think it was a magic trick. Pray that what time is left for these folks, no matter how long it may be, or the the selfless loving individuals who care for them, can find the little moments in the day to be joyful. I hope through the pain and the clouds of aging that they find the little shinning moments of wonderment.
Every morning you wake is a gift. A gift that time covets. Sometimes a gift we give willingly. And times we never let go of.