I’m so excited! I am having my first ever OPEN STUDIO – so put down the date!
Not only am I going to make all of my work available, but 20% of all sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association/Georgia Chapter. Below is a small sampling of some of the work that will be available. There should be something for everyone, with prices from $15 to $1500! In the next week – I will add a page to my website and post images of some of what will be available.
I am planning several things to make the afternoon FUN! Not only will there be light refreshments, but I am planning activities. I have a very nice patio area outside my studio (see photos below) and will set up a couple of tables so you can do a collage, paint a rock, or who knows what else I’ll come up with! If you have any ideas – let me know!
So – save the date!!!!! AND – if you want to receive an invitation in the mail, respond to this email with your address!
Thank you for stopping by. If you watched my video introducing my new series MUSIC STILL REMAINS, here are more statistics on Alzheimers in the United States. As an added bonus, I have include a few things NEVER to say to someone with any kind of dementia.
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the 10 leading causes of deaths in the United States that cannot be cured, prevent or slowed.
1 in 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s.
Between 2017 and 2025 every state is expected to see at least a 1% rise in Alzheimer’s.
By 2050, it is estimated there will be as many as 16 million American’s living with Alzheimer’s.
By 2050, there could be as many as 7 million people age 85 and older with Alzheimer’s, accounting for half of all people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s.
It is estimated by 2020, there will be 5.8 million with Alzheimers, by 2050, there will be 13.8 million. This is in people 65+.
Two thirds people with Alzheimer’s are women.
African American’s are 50% more like to have Alzheimer’s than Caucasian Americans. Hispanic Americans are 100% more like to develop it!
Here are some things never to say to a person with Alzheimer’s:
Don’t tell them they are wrong about something.
Don’t ask if they remember something.
Don’t remind them a love one is dead.
Learning “creative lying” helped me. My mother frequently told me she had told to her father and he was coming to get her. I would respond and tell her I had talked to him too. He told me to tell her he couldn’t come today because he had some crops he had to harvest (he was a farmer), it worked every single time.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – if you have never had someone close to you with dementia, you are lucky, FOR NOW! You have a better chance of winning the lottery unless there is a cure found in our lifetime!
Thank you for stopping by, I hope you will follow me on my journey with my MUSIC STILL REMAINS series!
My new series “The Rhythms of Memory” is inspired by my journey with my mother as she struggled with dementia – arguably the most feared disease that happens to be incurable. This is the story behind the painting you see above.
I began the painting with multiple layers, adding texture as I went along, representing the abundance of plaques and tangles found in the brain of dementia patients.
One question I constantly hear from those with dementia is “What time is it?” In fact, losing track of time is an early symtom of dementia, they often loose track of dates and even the seasons of the year. As the dementia progresses, routine and structure become more important to them, it helps ease their anxiety and confusion. Knowing all of this, I placed a clock face into the painting.
I also painted a hill with the steps, illustrating the daily struggles they face. The steps have a rhythm that mimics the notes on a piano keyboard – this was intentional. Music has been proven to improve memory. Watch the short video I posted below of Henry’s transformation after hearing one of his favorite musicians, Cab Calloway.
“Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” Plato
This is something we have known for a very long time. After all, Plato lived from 427-347 BC!
Do particular songs evoke certain memories? Have you ever reacted to music the way Henry does in the above video? I’d love to know about it!
I used the term “dementia”. Alzheimers accounts for 60-80% of all dementia cases (depending which study is referenced). Click here if you want to read the !0 Early Signs of Alzheimers.
In no particular order, here are ten random things I am thankful for.
I AM UNIQUELY ME! and I no longer feel the need to apologize for it.
LEARNING – You will learn something new every day if you just pay attention.
THE DIVERSITY IN THE WORLD – As Ghandi said “Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization”.
READING – without knowing how, I couldn’t read books or music. I couldn’t make notes, I couldn’t order off a menu. The list goes on.
DO OVERS – We learn from our failures, not from our successes (I believe I am paraphrasing Bram Stoker here).
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS – humanity at it’s best.
THE POWER OF MUSIC – This is something I have experienced first-hand this year with dementia patients. Music will light a fire, bring a sparkle to the eye, animate and wake up the soul. “Music is the literature of the heart, it commences where speech ends.” Alphonse de Lamartine.
THE FIVE SENSES – sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing.
MY MORNING RITUAL – every day starts with a bath and a book!
MEMORY – working with those that are losing theirs, I am more aware than I’ve ever been how grateful I am for being able to remember.
Other random things I am thankful for are salsa, puppies, laughter, sunlight, indoor toilets for starters.
There are also what I call the “Fantastic F’s” of Gratitude – family, friends, freedom, faith, food, fitness (ok – I’m working on this one) and many more. Can you add any?
“Never stop dreaming, never stop believing, Never give up, Never stop trying, and Never stop learning.” Roy T. Bennett
And most of all, I am thankful for you!!!!!
What are you thankful for? And I’ll leave you with this quote by Mary Oliver:
This is something I believe in so much that I took classes and worked with experts internationally to lead my own workshops – which I called CREATE YOUR LIFE WORKSHOPS.
Do you know what a Vision Board is?
It is a way to manifest your dream life. When you make a Vision Board, you get clear on what you want to create in your life. Many of us have fleeting ideas of what we want to be, do, or have in our lives. But they remain just that: fleeting. After all, who has the time to intentionally get clear about what we want to create?
Everyone, from Katy Perry (who did a Vision Board in the 7th grade showing her winning a Grammy) to Ellen DeGeneres to Oprah Winfrey swear they intentionally created outcomes by using a simple tool: VISION BOARDS! Michelle Obama did one in 2008 showing Barrack Obama being sworn in as President!
As someone who has made my own Vision Boards (and manifested some amazing results!), I’ve learned it is more than just slapping a piciture onto a poster board. It is about getting clear on your authentic life by letting go of what’s in the way – and then clearly connecting with your dreams while designing a vision that calls to you.
That’s why I put this workshop together – to give you the space you need to intentionally define your dreams and created a VISION BOARD that will effortless attract your ideal outcomes to you!
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL GET:
Clarity on what you really want (no more settling)
A beginning meditation to help you gain more focus and clarity
Connection with like-minded peers
A method to clear out the natural “gunk” that comes up (it is time to let it all go!)
All the tools and time to create your own powerful Vision Board (you might want to bring a few pictures that mean something to you, and definitely some pictures of yourself!) I’ll supply the rest
Your very own Vision Board to take home and attract positive outcomes for the months a head.
A full day of breathing room and dream-time (when was the last time you did that?)
A hand out about how to follow up with your Vision Board and also one about the importance of having a Word of the Year.
I offer these to groups, either professional our groups of friends, in a place of their own. I also offer them four times a year in my own studio.
My reading quest is to read a book by an author from each state and I have made it to Illinois!
The book was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I loved this book so much I read it twice!!!! I would give grudgingly give this book five stars! and that is because I’d give it 500 stars is I could!
It has been described as a nostalgic “autobiographical fantasy”. Bradbury has recreated childhood memories of his hometown, Waukegan, Illinois, known in the book at Green Town.
Set during the summer of 1928, the main character is Douglas Stratton. The title refers to a wine made with dandelion petals by Douglas’s grandfather, and refers to packing all the joys of summer into one bottle (or one book).A series of short stories, they are loosely connected with Douglas and his family as recurring characters. In fact, many of the chapters were published as individual short stories between 1946-1957. While the plots are realistic, there is a touch of fantasy and magic along the way!
Some of the wonderful things that appear in the book are:
When Douglas goes with his father and brother to pick fox grapes, he comes to the realization that he is alive and finds it “glorious”.
“I’m ALIVE. Thinking about it, noticing it, is new. You do things and don’t watch. Then all of a sudden you look and see what you’re doing and it’s the first time, really”.
A neighbor attempts to make a “happiness machine” in his garage.
Douglas and his brother meet a living “Time Machine”, a 90+ Colonel who lived in the Old West, during the Civil War for starters.
A serial killer on the loose in the town is referred to as “The Lonely One.
While at an amusement park, the boys get fortunes from a mechanical Tarot Witch, believing they have been given special fortunes in invisible ink.
The book is full of magic!!!
Ray Bradbury said that Douglas is based on himself. In fact, “Douglas” was his middle name, and “Spaulding” was his father’s middle name. It is the first book of a trilogy continuing with SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES and FAREWELL SUMMER.
In 1972, the Apollo 15 astronauts named a moon crater “Dandelion Crater” after this novel!
I am leading a weekly art project with memory impaired women. Because each project teaches me what works and doesn’t work, I decided to document these projects.
The first project was creating a “MY FAVORITE THINGS” board, which was based on the Vision Board concept. They had great fun going through magazines and pulling out images of their favorite things.
Miss Lilliette with her “Favorite Things” board. Notice the musical notes – she played the piano at church most of her life!
This was a great way to get to know them! I learned what their favorite colors were, I learned which ones played the piano and which ones sang.
Miss Dorothy (pictured above) couldn’t wait to get her board home to have it framed! I learned she had been a professional singer in Los Angeles and held singing and acting workshops for aspiring actors! (working with Bob Barker no less!)
Miss Willa with her favorite things.
Miss Willa great up on a farm in Alabama. She told the best day of her life was the day her father told her he was tired of farming and they were all moving to Atlanta!
What did I learn?
First of all, I teach vision board workshops – and as a result I have a HUGE stash of magazines. I learned that two to three magazines PER PERSON to choose from would have been worked. Too many choices makes it difficult for them to make any choices.
I purchased poster boards from The Dollar Store (2 for $1.00). Cutting these in half was enough room for them to work with.
Also, stick glue works better, especially the kind that goes on purple and dries clear. They can see they are using the glue. Liquid glue was just too messy for many of them.
I learned they want BLING! Sequins or anything shiny is a must.
When I told them we would do a collage the next week, I was met with blank stares – they didn’t know what a collage was! So – next week I will give them a lesson on collage, and show them the work of Romare Bearden! Giving them a weekly art lesson is going to be fun, I will learn more about African American artists and share it with them.
If you have any lessons you have learned, I’d love to hear about it!
“Alice” had been in totally non-verbal and in memory care for over a year. The only sounds she made was a strange clicking noise. But the clicks she made had a rhythm. A visiting music therapist began experimenting with this rhythm and after some hit and misses, he finally realized it was the rhythm to the song “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”. This is what she had been trying to communicate. When she heard the song, she began humming along, eventually singing the words. This was the song that was used in her wedding!
I found a piece of music, did a little research on the history of the song, even played it on the piano a few times, and the above collage was born, complete with hearts. The words on the right “SILVER THREADS AMONG THE GOLD” is music from a player piano which is pre-programmed music recorded on perforated paper.
Music and memory has become such a popular topic there is a wikipedia page dedicated to Music-related Memory. Music engages MORE parts of the brain that anything else we do. First of all, it connects the left and the right parts of the brain. But that isn’t all it does, tt engages movement, even it is just clapping or tapping your toe. Music engages the auditory cortex, and it engages the hippocampus – which is where memory is stored, And of course, there is an emotional response to music.
In dementia patients, familiar music has been proven to reduce agitation, improve social interaction and facilitate cognition. Music has also been proven to reduce depression, a common occurrence with dementia patients. We know dementia destroys the areas of the brain responsible for episodic memory, but usually procedural memory is retained. What is procedural memory? lt is the long-term memory which aids the performance of particular types of tasks without conscious awareness of these previous experiences.
If you know a story about the effect of an individual piece of music on an individual, I’d love to hear about it. There have to be dozens of stories like this out there that seem to prove that music has the ability to “wake” people up.
In case, you don’t remember how this song goes, here is a quick video of Martha Levison (Shirley McClain) in an episode of Downton Abbey.
Music and memory go together like a horse and carriage, love and marriage, or my mom and dad.
“Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory”. Oscar Wilde
I’ve always been vaguely aware of the power of music and how it can bring back memories at a moment’s notice. But, until I became my mother’s caregiver as she struggled with dementia, I’d never really paid attention to it. I guess there are things that are so much a part of your life, you don’t see what is right in front of your eyes.
Probably my first piano at age two.
To say I came from a musical family is an understatement. My grandfather taught singing around North Georgia and tuned pianos at concert halls in Atlanta and also at various universities and colleges, eventually opening a music store. My father followed in his footsteps, preferring to rebuild pianos instead of tuning them. I started banging a piano as soon as I was able, pointing out to my grandfather that “Middle C” was NOT in the middle of the keyboard.
My father’s sisters appeared on a local radio station and recorded gospel music.
Alas, I began to ignore my calling to create music, it took too much time, too much practice, too much everything. That is until my mother slipped into dementia. I returned to the piano so I could communicate with my mother, as well as other dementia patients. I was amazed how alive and engaged they become when hearing songs that previously meant something to them. I saw catatonic patients “wake up” when hearing music. they remember who they are. Doctors have discovered music memory can survive after other memory has disappeared.
“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.” Oliver Sachs
SO, I am making a public statement that I am creating art that holds music and memory at it’s core – beginning with music that has been known to trigger memories in dementia patients. Some of these songs include “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, “You Are My Sunshine”. As I create I will share the stories that inspired me.
I don’t know where this will lead, but I’m excited about this journey, and I would love to have you follow along with me. Simply, scroll up to the top of the post and enter your email in the block on the right hand side of the page. And, I welcome and WANT to hear YOUR stories about the power of music and memory.
To show you how music has influenced my art in the past, here a few older pieces.
One in eight people are diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s (before age 65). Music is proving to be a powerful tool giving moments of clarity
If you are unsure about how powerful music is when it comes to memory, watch this six minute video of Henry reacting to music – get your tissues ready!