As a child, Linda Wallace loved to draw, capturing the places and things she saw.
Through her teen years and college, and even while working as a pediatric nurse’s aide and starting a family, Wallace kept sketching and painting the world around her. Right into her senior years.
But she slowed down by 2008, and six years later, moved into Costa Valencia, a senior apartment community among the Merced Housing Texas affordable multi-family properties.
That’s where she met Resident Services Coordinator DeeAnn Guajardo.
“We immediately felt comfortable with each other,” says Guajardo. “She began to assist with the after-school program, and attended all of our activities and events. If she wasn’t there, I worried about her.”
Last year, when Wallace began reminiscing about her passion for sketching and painting, Guajardo says she had an ‘aha moment.’
She invited Wallace to join the GO!Arts classes that instructors from Bihl Haus Arts Studio conduct at another Merced community, Casitas de Villa Corona.
Today, Wallace is one of the program’s most enthusiastic participants today — missing a class only for doctor’s appointments. But she no longer sketches just places and things.
Because the passage of time has folded both good and bad experiences onto the palette of her life, Wallace’s work now also expresses the emotional colors of love and loss.
“I take the pain that I have and put them in the painting,” says Wallace, whose mother and a daughter passed away in recent years. “It can tell what I’m feeling. One side is pain. The other side is coming out of the pain.”
As an artist and devoted grandmother, Wallace enjoys watching a teenage granddaughter’s interest in art grow as well. “Oh, she can draw! She can draw so well,” she says with pride.
In addition to the weekly art program, Wallace attends regular nutrition classes at Casitas. And she happily draws on her creativity and imagination to make “friendship baskets” for others in need.
–by Cary Clack