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Fresh Air Magazine

Her Mind's Eye

Resident colors Rockcastle Regional with creativity

Her paintings might sometimes be colorfully complex, but the way Paula Crawford describes it, taking up painting was as simple as black and white.


One day she was watching the famous Bob Ross paint outdoor scenery, and she thought, “I can do that.”

Before long, her husband bought her an armload of art supplies, sat it down in front of her, and said “Well then, do it.”

And so began a hobby that she’s enjoyed for 30 years and counting.

When she was admitted to Rockcastle Regional in 2015 because of complications from COPD, she wasn’t sure if she’d still be able to paint. But when staff learned of her love for it, they made sure to accommodate, and now they’re some of her biggest cheerleaders.

“They support my efforts and recognize my completion of each painting,” Paula said.

She gives back by offering lessons to fellow residents, and she’s rewarded when she sees them get excited about painting.

Inspired by Ross and William Alexander, artists who appeared on public television for many years, Paula loves to paint natural landscapes, particularly western ones such as scenery around and near Carson City, Nevada, where she once lived.


“Painting puts me in my own visual world,” Paula said, “It stimulates my mind and gives me an outlet for creativity.”

She does not use a picture to work from as she paints.

“I just use my mind’s eye, and it just builds as I work on it.”

Her finished products line the wall of her room, and an easel with a work in progress can often be seen in the day room.

Some of her paintings are subtle, some stunning, many featuring her favorite color, purple. Though she doesn’t often sell her work, Paula has had numerous requests for paintings.

“She is truly talented and has been wonderful in sharing her talent,” said activities director Ann Abney. “She literally has brightened our days.”

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