“Karen will draw it and I will paint because I can’t draw,” says Linda. “I enjoy doing the art because my mind is busy with doing the whole thing.”
Karen Keenan Takis, photographer, artist and operator of the Express Yrself Therapy Program, has brought her Express Yrself with the Freedom of Art to more than 40 individuals in the Lawrence and Wilmington day programs during the last four years.
“It’s about being present among color, form and music,” she says, as she teaches the meaning of being in the moment and not to be shy with colors to budding artists like Linda and David. “I project photos on the wall and bring lively music for cognitive stimulation. I build freedom into my art program to allow individuals to create what they feel, think and hear, so they’re utilizing all their senses. And I change up my program week to week according to the individuals I know will be attending.”
Takis passes out her adapted paint brushes to individuals then uses “hand-over-hand” methodology to show them what it feels like to use brush strokes to create forms and combine colors.
“I guide individuals through their artistic process,” she says. “It’s truly astonishing to me how color and form can inspire an individual to accomplish the task at hand and achieve a sense of gratification and happiness.”