Wish Stories

Josephine Expands Her Skills at a Mixed Media Art Workshop

 

Perhaps the only constant in life is the fact that it is unpredictable. And as obstacles and challenges arise, it certainly helps to have an outlet— something steady to turn to as things continually change.

For Josephine, age 67, that constant has been art. Even though making art came naturally to her, she has never taken it for granted— making time to hone her skills and learn new techniques at every opportunity.

That might be because Josephine was a teacher for 15 years, and they say that the best teachers are lifelong learners.

As a teacher, Josephine helped students develop essential literacy skills like phonics and reading. Along the way, she’s worked with students at all grade levels, including both English and Spanish-speaking students. Josephine’s favorite grade to teach was first grade, as she could witness the incredible progress her students made in their reading skills every month.

Any teacher will tell you that the job is not always easy. Throughout her years in the classroom, teaching has been both a gratifying and challenging experience for Josephine, but she is proud to have devoted her time and energy to empowering and helping students.

Josephine’s generosity and determination played a role in how she raised her family, too. As a single mother, she overcame many barriers to care for her two sons and ensure they had a happy and fulfilling life.

To this day, her sons are inspired by the strength and compassion of their mother. That’s because Josephine taught them by example as she faced challenges with her head held high. Recounting a difficult moment in her life, Josephine shared, “my crown started to fall, but it didn’t fall off completely,” she said. “When life is complicated, you readjust your crown.”

Josephine uses various tools to create a mixed media artwork
Josephine uses various tools to create a mixed media artwork

In her retirement, Josephine fills her days by connecting with friends over meals, in her book club, and through the activities she finds on AARP’s website SeniorPlanet.org. Those who know her will tell you that she’s the kind of person who wants to get the most out of every day— and makes sure she eats healthy and exercises to support her vitality.

Josephine has also maintained her love for art. Most mornings, you can find her up with the sunrise, enjoying a cup of coffee, and losing herself in making a collage for hours on end. Lately, her focus has been on mixed media art, which uses various materials and techniques in one artwork.

While Josephine is confident in her skills, she never wants to feel complacent. Continuing to learn, develop new skills, and push herself to achieve new things is what she believes is the recipe for keeping life interesting—and keeping art invigorating!

“I’m very passionate about mixed media,” Josephine said, “But I feel like I need a bit of direction in it.”

Josephine looks up and smiles during the art workshop
Josephine holds her final artwork outside of the Farmington Valley Art Center
Closeup of smiling wish recipient Josephine age 67

There’s no doubt that Josephine’s dedication to continued learning inspires those around her— which is why we were so thrilled to help her continue to explore her art-making abilities. With Wish of a Lifetime’s help, Josephine enrolled in a mixed media art workshop at the Farmington Valley Art Center, a community staple in Connecticut that hosts workshops, gallery exhibits, and events.

Before the workshop began, she was so excited that she could hardly sleep! This left like a new adventure, maybe even a new phase in her life.

During the workshop, Josephine felt like she was one of the least-experienced artists, a “newbie” compared to the other participants. But, her confidence never wavered. She embraced the challenge and loved the opportunity to work on her skills with the tutelage of an artist with professional experience.

In retrospect, she knows it was an experience that helped her to grow as an individual.

“I told the other students that while we’re learning, we’re developing our voice,” she said. “That’s priceless. You can see it in your work; you look at it as a whole and know your soul is on that substrate.”

 

Close up of Josephine's mixed-media art work in progress at the workshop

One incredible story at a time, Wish of a Lifetime is changing the perception of aging—not just how we view our oldest citizens but also how we see and value ourselves as we age.

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