Tag: acrylic painting

Art and Alzheimer’s

Art and Alzheimer’s

Grandma Painting 2018

Yesterday would have been my grandmother’s 83rd birthday, but sadly Vascular dementia combined with Alzheimer’s caused her final stroke this past August. We celebrated her love for life with her favorite dinner and game, remembering her final months.

The previous 5 months were spent with us, on the “farm” as she called it. We do have chickens and goats, she would “baa at”. We even planted seeds in March, which she eventually tended on the deck in her Garden. We had the one out on the lawn, and she would try and spray water at you. This also included the many PSW’s who trusted her with the shower hose!

Right from the beginning of her stay, the change due to the Alzheimer’s was fast. Every day we tried to keep her mind occupied with activities, walks, outings, planting. I found her drawn to the kid-sized 100 piece puzzles, I had saved. This was interesting since she was never interested in them before. She would try so hard to maneuver the pieces, and stay focused for a long time

One of our first activities was an acrylic painting, I set up paints, canvas, easel  and cushioned rocking chair with a view outside. Since it was still March with lots of snow, I had leaned our old wagon wheel to the side of the driveway earlier. At first she argued as to what she would paint, and I pointed to the wheel. Then I quickly penciled a stick wheel, and she sat right down. Over an hour passed before she grew tired, and never finished that painting but always looked at it. After that I could only encourage her to do some colouring, with crayons, on a Teddy Bear Doodle.

It was quite an experience to live with and see first hand the effects of these diseases that affect not just our minds, but eventually the inability to control your body. There were days with moments of clarity and she would ask why she couldn’t remember things any more. Those times were the hardest times as well, but, the best times for her to look at photos, and anything to jog her memories really.

Her tomatoes ripened just after her stroke, and the roses started blooming. We made lots of tomato dishes and brought the roses inside. They have since bloomed again, just in time for her birthday.

Grandma’s rose 2018

Toad with Mushroom

Photograph of Toad with Mushroom 2015

Living in the country, there is so much wildlife to appreciate.

Like this cute little American toad, I only noticed because of the lovely mushroom it happened to be beside. We are so fortunate to live in an area full of these creatures. The evenings are loud with their calls echoing through our part of the Ottawa valley.

I liked this picture so much, and still determined to work with acrylic, I tried it on some art paper.

I decided to go with less detail, I sketched the toad and mushroom with a few leaves and some blades of grass. After adding some acrylic paint, I inked the Toad and Mushroom to pop them out.

Thank you to Stephanie Haas, for her help in identifying the American Toad.

“Murphy’s Point”and “Wicker Pot Holder” Finished

2014, Original Acrylic Painting

I always have something on the go since oil requires drying time. I try not to use many driers when painting, especially in the final layers, so I have had to really learn patience. It is even worse now that I have begun to use acrylics – which were supposed to help me speed up my work. Of course, my need for more detail still slows me down.

So I have a “Work in Progress” page, that is sort of my reminder section of what needs to be finished. Since setting up the page I decided to get finishing the acrylic paintings, then I can spend time on the oil paintings.

I actually finished the “Murphy’s Point” painting, and  the “Wicker Plant Holder” in December. I tried keeping them both at three-go-overs. I know I could put more detail in them but that wasn’t my goal. I think they both turned out really good, considering my obsession with details.

I have found working with acrylics to be harder then oils, mostly because they dry so quickly. If I don’t want to dilute the colours, then I have to be quick, don’t leave, and only make minimal amounts of colour. I did try some additives, but it still dries so fast.

I am used to mixing a whole range of colours in oils. If needed I can put them in the freezer, and still being able to use them up to 2 weeks later. I like to work on white meat trays, a good reuse and small enough to put in a bag in a freezer (if you wondered how to do it).

I wanted to share each go over of both paintings, with the use of photos, to see the progression.  It is a great way to see what could be improved on for the next go over.