Self-taught artist hosts first show with help from hospice

MADISON, Ohio (AP) — He may be a man of few words, but his paintings speak wonders for themselves.

John Measles, a resident of the Cardinal Woods Skilled Nursing center in Madison, Ohio hails from Sparta, Tennessee, where he worked on his family farm among his six other siblings.

The 91-year-old made his living repairing boats in Lake County, but can be recognized as an all-around handyman. In his spare time, he took up carpentry, creating furniture and once building a Tudor home from the ground up without any formal training.

Measles is a self-taught artist beginning in the 1980s. Using a makeshift studio in his garage, he and his brother would spend hours practicing their drawings. First, they would work on a person’s nose, then their eyes, lips and ears, until it was perfected enough to put on canvas. Finally, the painting process would begin.

Using oils and acrylics, Measles creates his works of art featuring serene landscapes, portraits of women and detailed images of Native Americans. Every painting he creates is done without a point of reference, simply conjured up in his imagination.

Once his Hospice of the Western Reserve art therapist Cameron Plagen and registered nurse Carla Schubert got wind of the painting, plans began to commemorate Measles and his work through an art gallery.

On Oct. 20, 150 people gathered at The Lantern of Madison to exhibit 40 selections of Measles’ much larger art collection. The Cardinal Woods staff never imagined that so many people would show up to celebrate Measles’ art.

“…To acknowledge that he’s been able to distill how to paint on his own, and brought this level of skill and craftsmanship up to the high level that he has, so much so that his work has inspired other people,” Plagen said. “It’s inspiring and there’s a spirit in the paintings that resonates with the people that see them, and it brings them joy.”

Measles showed up to the gallery in true Tennessean fashion, adorned in a plaid button-up shirt and a black felt cowboy hat. Outside of painting, he and his brother enjoy line dancing at parties in Mentor that gathered over 125 dancers.

Schubert said that Measles was giddy with happiness during the art show, beaming through the whole night.

Lake County commissioners presented Measles with a proclamation at the gallery, honoring the lifelong achievements of this self-made man.

Many pieces of his artwork were purchased by audience members, a few he has gifted to the staff at Cardinal Woods and the rest stay at home with his brother.

Measles said he would welcome another art gallery exhibition, after the great success of the first.

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Information from: The News-Herald, http://www.news-herald.com/jrc-html/index/index_p33.html

 

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