Ernest final painting class

Ernest, 72, from Brookdale Inver Grove Heights in Minneapolis, Minnesota, spent 6 years in the Military reserve waiting anxiously, ready and willing to serve his country. After spending many years on reserve and never having been deployed overseas, Ernest ended his career in the Military services and began his career in marketing and parenting.

Ernest and his wife have been married for over 50 years. He also began painting “…roughly 50 years ago.” This is no coincidence. He directly attributes his passion for art to his love for his muse, his wife. Ernest says that she has always been a beautiful inspiration in everything he sees. Their love has pushed him to explore his artistic interests for over five decades. He was always there as a loving husband and father to provide and care for his family, just as she supported all of his passions. He used to enjoy painting subjects like people and still life, as well as visualizations from his memory. After his stroke he became very frustrated at his lack of ability to paint like he once could.

The stroke that Ernest endured back in 2011 put him in a wheelchair permanently as he lost control over the left side of his body. As an artist, this was extremely painful for him. This pain was seen by many of his loved ones and he was pushed many times to explore his artistic side again despite his new handicap. When Barbara, Ernest’s nominator, was approached by him to submit a Wish to engage in artistic activities again she was thrilled. This was really the first time he had expressed an interest in pursuing his passions again in a long time, which excited everyone around him.

Brookdale Senior Living and Wish of a Lifetime were thrilled to send Ernest to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to take an art class. He was excited to have the opportunity to learn new skills—especially the more technical aspects of painting—and the lesson gave him the ability to use these abilities like he hadn’t since his stroke. He was able to branch out of the aspects of art he had been so comfortable in for almost 50 years and learn more about the mixing of colors and water colors paints in general.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Ritz

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