BY BOB MCDOWELL
Art is a joy for Mary Norris.
The patient at Jameson Care Center has a loving husband overseeing an ever-changing display of original paintings from their home, which help brighten her walls at the nursing facility.
Recently, Theresa Ross, who works in the activity department, set up a small exhibit of her own pastel portraits.
"She did it for all the people in the care center," explained Mary Norris' husband, Charles, who loves art as much as his wife does.
However, it is Mary Norris who gets the most pleasure from looking at Ross' portraits because the exhibit is in her room, where she is confined. But her door is always open.
"It's amazing how many families come in to take a look at it," said Charles Norris, who was eager to share the wall space so everyone could enjoy Ross' talents.
"Her paintings are outstanding," he noted.
Ross is a freelance artist who studied in Pittsburgh. She has been painting for years. Commissions include people, pets, babies and other celebratory events, such as the wedding portrait she once did for the Norrises' son and daughter-in-law as a Christmas present.
At the care center, the 44-year-old artist uses the four windows in front of the activity room as her seasonal palette, creating imaginative displays, such as the current Mother's Day theme with spring flowers and butterflies.
Ross is an inspiration for the patients.
"They sit out in the hall and watch me paint," she said.
Then she'll help them with their own crafts or painting projects.
Ross is one of three workers who assist the activities director.
Morning sessions are for painting and crafts. Ross says there are several patients who enjoy watercolors and have completed projects which now hang in their own rooms.
Afternoons are spent with social gatherings, bingo, or more physical diversions, such as exercise classes.
And while helping to fill bingo cards can be pleasant, Ross is enthused when she sparks a resident's interest in art -- helping them make it or, in Mary Norris' case, providing something for her appreciative eyes to marvel over.
"Knowing that I'm making them happy makes me happy," Ross said.
And speaking of happiness, Charles Norris is bursting with joy over the mini art show occupying his wife's room.
"The paintings are so beautiful and now everyone gets to enjoy this art," he said. "Especially my wife."
BY BOB MCDOWELL
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