In my teen years during the 1960’s, if you put a piece of paper in front of me it was instantly covered by some drawing from my imagination. The 1960’s were turbulent times. Race riots were explosive headline news daily across the country. There was fear and hate I didn’t understand but was fed.
It was the time of school busing and I was to be bused to a junior high school far away with a lot of black teens. I heard about knives in the schools and being told to carry extra money to pay off bullies
I ended up being sent to a boarding school because I was a truant for a year and left back so my mom sent me away to have the nuns deal with me. And I would have to go to school.
Actually I ended up doing well with discipline and I had company with a lot of wealthy girls who were problems to their families. We were misfits trapped in a nunnery in Sag Habor Long Island. But I have to say I did well in school. I only tried to escape once!
Anyway, back to this post of the racial issues. I ended up being accepted by the High School of Art & Design in NYC. My major was fashion illustration. And I always was doing a doodle or drawing every day. My mom rescued boxes of my work and that was the tip of the iceberg.
So one day I had my markers and paper and in my imagination I saw two young black girls and it started with a doodle and became this small drawing. I called it “Sisters”. It was in my mom’s apartment.
In 2005 I found it and showed it to my friends at work. The paper was old but the drawing was strong. One of the secretaries loved it and she offered me an excellent price for it. It spoke to her as a black woman. It was how I related to African Americans in 1965 as a teenager who despised violence and hate. I didn’t want to have fear and in a doodle I saw love.
I painted a still life (not my best work – done during my class in 2 hours). I started to play with it on my subway ride with my iPhone. Here’s the results:
original acrylic painting
My mission to engage people in creativity is finally happening! My painting classes at the Riverdale Senior Center have now begun their 3rd session!! This post is to show the incredible art from people who never painted before.
And a new student who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s has joined. Robert is a professional artist who studied at the Art Students League. He has a studio upstate New York. However, since his mental decline he has not done art for a long time. I told him the first day that he is still an artist and he can create just like Monet when his eyesight went bad.
My painting classes are not about skill. I do not teach technique. There is a very spiritual connection to art and one student, Margery, has exceptional talent.
So here’s to Riverdale’s emerging artists. And please do not refer to them as seniors dabbling in art. Their work is fearless and vibrant. Totally alive and ageless!
The following are by Robert who has Alzheimer’s:
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO
People think art is not for them. It is only for talented artists. Art is mysterious. It’s messy and too much trouble. The bottom line is art has become a unnecessary part of life. And we have separated people into creatives and non-creatives.
I’m determined to address this myth and encourage people to engage in art as a way to create a balanced mind. It can be visual art, music, dancing, singing or writing. Creativity and imagination can improve the quality of life.
Stop listening to the news and start doing ART!!!
I have created a very inspirational painting class in the Bronx.
I have learned that waiting to be inspired to create art can be a very long wait. Days. Weeks. Years. Decades.
I don’t wait for inspiration I start it. With a DOODLE.
The following art began with a squiggly line and the path it took.
I created a painting class for the Riverdale Senior Center. I’m making them unblock the way they think of painting. This is not your ordinary art class!