Little did they know, residents at Grand Brook Memory Care McKinney had lifelong artists among them – until Thursday, when the residential community held a somewhat surprisingly esteemed art show.
During the community’s monthly party – this one fittingly termed “April in Paris” – caregivers and friends gathered. They were drawn in awe to a room with some of the life works of William C. “Bill” and Faith Hanlon, married for over 70 years, and residents there.
Each painting and carving showed an everlasting glimpse into their past.
“I started when I was 12 years old,” said Bill, the true star of the show. “And I never stopped painting.”
He worked in the art industry in some fashion for over 50 years, he said, including as art director for department stores, at advertising agencies and art studios. He once had an office across the street from the White House in Washington, D.C., making $10,000 a year. “I thought I had arrived salary-wise,” he recalled, jokingly, “but it wasn’t long after that, I had to earn more to get by,” he recalled.
Pieces on display Thursday, many that stay and decorate their daughter’s home in McKinney, represented a long journey of traveling, doing and seeing. “Amanda of Taos” showed a young girl; there were pictures of fruits and dogs.
Another painting, entitled “Quitting Time-Erie Shop,” is set in scenic Susquehanna, Penn., where the Hanlons lived for several years. Still other paintings resembled Bill’s equal lifetime passion: boats and sailing. One donned a log canoe-type boat he spent three years building – then he painted a picture of it.
“He never did anything to sell,” said his daughter Dena Klevan. “It was all just his life.”
At 94, his health is declining, but he was all beaming words and proud memories explaining each work to onlookers. He recollected the places visited and time spent on each depiction.
Bill and his bride, an artist in her own right, met while both worked at a reform school in Washington, D.C. Faith, who attended art school, keened her skills alongside Bill. They shared inspiration, with one of Bill’s paintings of Faith.
“Each picture has a story,” said Kenny Nash, Grand Brook Memory Care’s life engagement manager, who organized the special art show. “Some of the caregivers have seen them but don’t know the stories behind them.”
Now, those stories will live on in vivid color and commentary. Bill Hanlon never cared to share all his works with the world, but at least a part of his world has seen them.
“I like them all, myself,” he said. “They mean a lot to me.”
Written by Chris Beattie.
Original article can be found at www.starlocalmedia.com