Art Talk | Marilyn

At Baptist Housing, seniors experience wellness in ways which go beyond physical health. Our wellness model presents wellness under seven facets, and we understand that when one of these seven is impacted, all of the other areas suffer. Some of our emotional wellness initiatives include fostering creativity and artistic expression. Despite the prevailing myth that imagination declines with age, we see our Residents producing beautiful artwork which reflects their accumulated experiences, thoughts and wisdom. In this creative expressions series titled "Artists in Bloom," we'd like to display some of the incredible output of our Residents.

This month, we feature Marilyn, a Resident who has taken to Chinese brush painting.

Along with other Residents at Grandview Towers in Vancouver, Marilyn participates in a Chinese brush painting class which happens on Saturday mornings, called New Beginnings Chinese Brush Painting Class. The New Beginnings class is a group of men and women from diverse cultures who have been taught an appreciation for Chinese "impressionistic" art.

These students are learning how to express the "chi" (movement of the life force) in traditional Chinese art, and are learning ancient techniques in order to represent a part of nature in a symbolic way. Unlike Western Impressionists, the Chinese brush painter makes no corrections or changes to the painting as they go along.  Brush strokes are meant to be confident yet free-flowing and, although formed by following traditional techniques, are meant to represent a spontaneous expression of the subject as seen by the artist. Paintings are meant to be an expression of the essence of the subject - not a mere "photographic" likeness. 

Marilyn says that she experienced many losses just before moving to Grandview Towers.  She was in bad shape physically, emotionally and especially spiritually.  It took nearly five years, but she now believes that the people and the programs at Grandview Towers have helped her to regain her confidence as a child of God.  She says that this art class, and her participation in this class, is one example of how Grandview Towers, its people and its programs, have contributed significantly to her well-being.

For her piece, below, Marilyn was inspired by the verse John 15:5 which reads, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." She has titled her painting "Grapevine."

We are happy to celebrate our "Artists in Bloom," and are delighted to see Residents like Marilyn share themselves and their gifts through the arts.