Painting hope

Navigating Alzheimer’s through art

This spring in the WAC Grand Staircase Gallery, discover a new narrative surrounding the experience of Alzheimer’s. The Art of Alzheimer’s exhibit, set for installation in early April, celebrates the creativity of people living with dementia, many of whom see art and beauty in amazing ways. The exhibit will be on display for three months. Here are a few of the artists stories.

Julia Blackburn
Julia Blackburn began painting with a profound loss of vision. Despite this, Blackburn’s wet-on-wet watercolors dance and billow with the full spectrum of the rainbow. Blackburn has fond memories of road trips, singing, and evenings spent listening to music. Much like her past, Blackburn’s current art conveys a sense of melody, freedom and celebration. 

Lenny Larson
Lenny Larson spent much of his childhood in the forested foothills of Mount Rainier, where he developed a lifelong love for nature. Nowadays, his life’s passion for the green towering trees, dynamic sunsets, and Pacific Northwest palette shine brightly through his watercolors.

Rafe Schwimmer
A former attorney, Rafe Schwimmer pours his vibrant mind onto paper in the form of blazing colors, wild and abstract shapes, and mesmerizing patterns. Using colored pencils, oil pastels, and watercolors, Schwimmer creates movement-filled drawings that shift in perspective and take on new angles with each glance.

Gloria Kinney
Lifelong musician Gloria Kinney played piano and guitar; sang in her church choir; and loved to dance, especially flamenco. Find the grace and power of music in the deep, dark blues of her work. Often contrasted by stark whites and bright reds, these cerulean seas stand out in a way only a flamenco dancer could—passionate, mysterious, and full of drama.

Jane Kippenhan
A former fashion illustrator and 20-year Seattle Art Museum docent, Jane Kippenhan also participated in a weekly ink wash painting group and was a member of Women Painters of Washington. Kippenhan’s prolific painting history and East Asian influence are apparent in her carefully composed work. Large swathes of cool color and geometric shapes occupy her page, tempered by warm flowing brushstrokes that bring dynamic life to her art.

Patricia Kristoferson
Pat Kristoferson spent the majority of her life in and around Seattle, raising five children in Mount Baker and spending time on the family farm on Camano Island. As an artist, Kristoferson draws inspirations from the practicality of her family-life days while letting her creative side flourish. The result? Boldly colored works depicting the realistic shapes and scenes of her home and farm’s landscape, flowers, birds, and trees.

Rosemary Freeman
The vivid shades and flowing shapes of Rosemary Freeman’s watercolors encapsulate her special personality. Described as having an easy laugh and sharp wit, Freeman recently relocated to Seattle from Pittsburgh to be closer to one of her daughters. Lose yourself in the undulating circles and ripples of her work, only to be centered again by the perfectly placed dots and lines punctuating her paintings.

—An abridged version of this article was published in the March/April 2019 issue of WAC Magazine.

Posted February 21, 2019


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