Category Archives: VICKIE MARTIN ART

MEET VERONICA

This is Veronica, inspired by the Elvis Costello song of the same name. It was written in honor of his grandmother, who suffered from dementia.

Veronica, 12×36,mixedmedia,©vickiemartin2019

This is part of my MUSIC STILL REMAINS, Each piece in this series is based on a specific song and inspired by dementia.  Did you know it  has been scientifically proven that you never lose your musical  memory. (I teach at adult day care and I have seen unresponsive people suddenly sit up and joyfully sing).  The texture that appears on the painting is symbolic of the plaques and tangles that are found on the brain.  Veronica appears to be hiding, she is really not “front and center”, because dementia often make a person feel invisible, or as the lyrics suggest, has she gone to hide?

Below are two more paintings that were also inspired by the song. The titles are based on lyrics within the song,

She Spoke His Name Out Loud, 11×14 mixed media ©vickiemartin2019

 

The Empress of India, 10×20 mixed media ©vickiemartin2010

This was the first collaboration between Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney 

When you read the entire lyrics knowing where the inspiration came from, they suddenly make sense.

Is it all in that pretty little head of yours?
What goes on in that place in the dark?
Well I used to know a girl and I could have sworn
That her name was Veronica

Well she used to have a carefree mind of her own
And a delicate look in her eye
These days I’m afraid she’s not even sure
If her name is Veronica

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes,
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
Her name and steal her clothes
Veronica
Veronica

Did the days drag by? Did the favors wane?
Did he roam down the town all the while?
Will you wake from your dream, with a wolf at the door,
Reaching out for Veronica

Well it was all of sixty-five years ago
When the world was the street where she lived
And a young man sailed on a ship in the sea
With a picture of Veronica

On the “Empress of India”
And as she closed her eyes upon the world
And picked upon the bones of last week’s news
She spoke his name out loud again

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes,
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
Her name and steal her clothes
Veronica
Veronica

Veronica sits in her favorite chair
And she sits very quiet and still
And they call her a name that they never get right
And if they don’t then nobody else will

But she used to have a carefree mind of her own
With devilish look in her eye
Saying “You can call me anything you like,
But my name is Veronica”

Do you suppose, that waiting hands on eyes,
Veronica has gone to hide?
And all the time she laughs at those who shout
Her name and steal her clothes
Veronica
Veronica
Oh Veronica

 

party dress

OPEN STUDIO – BENEFIT

I will be hosting an open studio on June 22, 2-6p. 20% of all sales will go to The Alzheimers Association/Georgia Chapter.

The Alzheimer’s Association states that AD is the sixth leading cause of deathin the United States. About one in three seniors die with AD or another form of dementia.

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that AD claimed more than 84,000 lives in the U.S. Only heart disease, cancer, some respiratory diseases, stroke, and accidents caused more deaths than AD.

 
Open Studio postcard

SAVE THE DATE

JUNE 22, 2019 from 2-6pm

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!

A work in progress, my walkway leading to my studio!
The entrance to my studio!

So – save the date!!!!! AND – if you want to receive an invitation in the mail, respond to this email with your address!

Hope to see you!!!!

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DEMENTIA STATISTICS

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!

THE STORY BEHIND THE PAINTING

The Clock Ticks, ©vickiemartin2018,
20×24 Mixed Media

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.

MY OFFBEAT LIST OF TEN THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR

In no particular order, here are ten random things I am thankful for.

  1. I AM UNIQUELY ME!  and I no longer feel the need to apologize for it.
  2. LEARNING  –  You will learn something new every day if you just pay attention.
  3. 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”.
  4. 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.
  5. DO OVERS – We learn from our failures, not from our successes (I believe I am paraphrasing Bram Stoker here).
  6. RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS – humanity at it’s best.
  7. 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.
  8. THE FIVE SENSES – sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing.
  9. MY MORNING RITUAL – every day starts with a bath and a book!
  10. 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:

 

 

 

vision board banner

THE IMPORTANCE OF VISION BOARDS

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.

banner for quest

A VISIT TO ILLINOIS – JUST DON’T PRONOUNCE THE “S”

 

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!

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012) wrote in many genres, but his most famous books are probably Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.  

I love to include facts about each state too – so here are some facts about Illinois:

  • The first Aquarium opened in Chicago in 1893
  • Metropolis, the home of Superman, is located in Southern Illinois.
  • Illinois was the first state for ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery.
  • Des  Plaines is the home of the first McDonald’s.
  • President Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois.
  • The state dance is the square dance.
  • Illinois has more personalized license plates than any other state. 
  • The Chicago Public Library is the world’s largest public library with a collection of over 2 million books (I need to visit it!)

Here are some (what I consider magical) quotes from the book:

  • “Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
  • “The first thing you learn in life is you’re a fool. The last thing you learn in life is you’re the same fool.
  • “No person ever died that had a family.”
  • “Sunsets are always liked because they only happen once and go away……If the sunset stayed and we got bored, that would be real sadness.”
  • No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now.”

Now I will be reading books by authors from Indiana and Iowa. If you have any favorite authors from those states, let me know!

 

MY FAVORITE THINGS

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!

LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART

“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.