GREENFIELD — She named the painting “He is Born.”
The dreamy watercolor painting by Mary Walker depicts Mary and Joseph bracketing baby Jesus in the manger, the trio surrounded by swirling greens and blues.
Walker, 89, created the painting during the living arts program at the Springhurst Health Campus in Greenfield, where she lives.
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The art work was sent — unbeknownst to her — to corporate officials at Trilogy Health Services, Springhurst’s parent company, who selected Mary’s painting to be made into its campuses’ 2016 Christmas card.
“We just thought it was wonderful,” said Rondy Feller, life enrichment director. “It really turned out great.”
Feller, who runs the living arts program, noticed Walker’s talent with watercolors after the living arts group had painted a few times, Feller said. She said she snuck the painting out and sent it to be judged by those who select the Christmas card for the assisted living facilities.
“I noticed it was missing, but I thought they might have thrown it away,” she said. “There was a lot of cleaning up to do, so I was real surprised when I found out they were making Christmas cards from it.”
Mary, who first began painting as a child, never tried to make a living with her artwork, but she painted seriously for decades after turning 40, she said.
A painting she did of pink flowers in a vase is hung on the wall of her home at Springhurst, and she still loves to paint for hours at a time.
Her painting, “He is Born,” is made from watercolors, but she likes to use all kinds of paint when she gets in a creative mood, she said.
“I don’t paint as much as I used to,” Mary said. “But I do like to have a project from time to time.”
Sitting in her leather armchair at Springhurst, Mary paused for a moment and then recalled some of the art shows she’s had in past, where she was able to display numerous pieces of her work.
Still, she was surprised to learn her watercolor painting, celebrating the birth of Christ, was selected for the campus Christmas card.
She was simply trying to create a Christmas scene with meaning, she said.
“The child, it appealed to me,” Mary said. “I like the freedom of water color.”
Mary will turn 90 in February and recommends painting to anyone who wants to keep their mind and spirit active and alive, particularly during the holiday season when there’s so much to be inspired by, she said.