Last week marked the celebration of 2012 National Assisted Living Week. The theme, “Art for the Ages” brought together residents, staff, family and the community to celebrate the talents and creativity assisted living residents have developed through hard work and their love of art.
Cleo Balthazor has been passionate about art as long as she can remember. As an eight year old little girl, Cleo remembers creating her own paper dolls and designing clothes for them. “I would draw on any paper I could get my hand on,” she recalls.
Later in life, at age 45, Cleo took art classes at Art Originals Studio. She also attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee where she remembers her instructor, Guido Brink, pushing abstract art on his students. “I am a realistic painter and focus more on portraits and landscape,” explains Balthazor. In the end, Cleo got Mr. Brink to see her point of view and he brought in live models to enhance the art lessons in still life.
In the 1980s, Cleo was accepted in the juried Mount Mary Starving Artist Show. She had 53 paintings on display at the show and sold 50 of them. Cleo is passionate about acrylic painting and continues to paint at Oak Hill Terrace Senior Community where she lives. She recently donated one of her paintings to the community. The piece started out as a picture of Mary and Jesus. She tried to paint the wood grain on the door behind them, but no matter how she painted it, it just didn’t look right. And to her astonishment, she saw the image of Joseph’s face. “It was at that moment that I knew I needed to add Joseph to the painting,” commented Cleo. Appropriately entitled, Holy Family, the painting proudly hangs in the chapel at Oak Hill Terrace.
In celebration of National Assisted Living Week, Cleo gave a painting demonstration to her fellow residents.
Oak Hill Terrace is a Laureate Group senior community that offers independent and assisted living apartments as well as compassionate dementia care. For more information, visit www.laureategroup.com
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