The healing power of art

Posted on February 27, 2018

Cherry Ridge Resident Profile: Pat Tingley

“Beyond hurting to healing.” That’s the path Pat Tingley traveled with the help of a paintbrush, a 9×18-foot canvas, and a lifetime of memories. At age 86, Pat is creating a wall size painting in the garage of her home at St. Ann’s Community at Cherry Ridge, where she has lived for eight years. It depicts scenes of natural wonder from places she visited with her husband, Rollin, who died in 2013.

“I’m grateful that early in our retirement we were able to travel—and travel and travel!— while we both were healthy,” she said.

 The painting is a montage of four scenes:
• Sunset on the West Coast
• Mid-day at the Rio Grande Rift in New Mexico
• Dawn at Acadia National Park in Maine
• Pre-dawn on Lake Ontario

“It’s inspired by the feelings, conversations, and impressions we had at these places,” Pat said. “And the magnificence of what we were seeing.”

She refers to the painting as “the infolding and unfoldingof creation,” and references theologian Paul Tillich who said, “God is the Ground of Being.” Included are references to animal life, plant life, and human life on land, at sea, and in the air. At the far right of the painting is a birch tree, Rollin’s favorite.

Traveling was a part of life for the Tingleys. As a pastor in the American Baptist Churches/USA, Rollin served churches in several states over the years. The family, including the couple’s three children, Kathryn, Robert, and Donald, moved with him.

“When we retired in Pennsylvania, it was 70 miles round trip for groceries,” Pat said. “So today I’m thankful for Hegedorn’s!”

After Rollin’s retirement in 1980, he and Pat began traveling for pleasure. Photos from those trips are among the source material she used for her painting. Then Rollin’s health began to fail and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. At the time of his death, they had been married 61 years.

 The painting has helped Pat deal with the loss.

“I had healing to a depth I never thought I’d have to the loss of Rollin,” she said. “I got beyond hurting to healing.”

As a lifelong lover of the outdoors, she feels strongly about the natural world and believes people should treat it with care and respect.

“We can improve it or we can destroy it,” she said. “It’s beauty that shouldn’t be destroyed.”

Pat plans to hang the painting along an entire wall of her living room. It’s sure to be a conversation piece for the many friends she’s made at Cherry Ridge.

“There’s a family and community spirit here that I love,” Pat said.

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