Last updated: July 18. 2014 4:14PM - 223 Views
By - jbreger@civitasmedia.com

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The women at Heartland Plaza nursing home in Durant have found a way to keep their spirits alive through art.

Four women at the home joined together to share their love of art and have even made a calendar for the retirement center.

Although one member of the class passed away, the other three carry on doing what they enjoy, paying no mind to what age they may be.

Barbara Mathis is the youngest at nearly 90 years old and has always had a passion for art. Mathis Studied at an art institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

She moved to Oklahoma to be closer to her son after her husband passed away and continued to paint. Mathis has worked with several mediums including water color, pastels, and acrylic paint.

Janet Tomkins returned to painting when while at Heartland Plaza. For her painting was something she enjoyed but had to give up for several years.

“After my husband died I needed an outlet. That’s when I started painting,” said Tomkins. She said that was years ago and she had since stopped painting.

She found the time and resources to get back into painting when she came to the nursing home. She also got to learn new mediums since she had only worked with oil paint and was now working with the mediums Mathis used.

World War II veteran Julia-Dean Alexander was a first time painter when she joined the class. With time on her hands and nothing in the way, she decided to try something new.

“I wanted to see if I could draw,” said Alexander. Together the women made a calendar full of the paintings they made while at Heartland Plaza.

Heartland Plaza’s activities director Deborah Smith said these women and the their spirit show that you can continue what you enjoy and even learn new things regardless what stage of life you are in.

“Not necessarily do you have to give up things that you enjoy,” said Smith. She said some activities may need adjusted for age and capability but nobody should ever give up on what they enjoy just because they get older.

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