Man shares artistic talent

AUSTINTOWN – The walls of Willie Lane’s room at Austin Woods Nursing Home are covered with sketches of both famous and not-so-famous people.

Lane, 75, a Crossroads Hospice patient, recently shared his passion and talent for art with other residents at a recent art party “Gift of a Day,” in which he led a group of other residents in drawing.

Drawing has been a lifelong passion of Lane’s, and he has created many pieces of artwork that cover the walls of his room.

The walls are covered with sketches, drawings and watercolor paintings of people, scenery and landscapes and some abstract pieces.

Christine Ford, activity director at the nursing home, said Lane spends all his free time sketching, and often is seen drawing or painting in his room. She said the art party was his way of sharing his passion with other residents.

Among those at the party was Lane’s sister, Wilda, who also is a resident of the nursing home, his brother, Roland, and six of his friends. Ford said the group was able to paint, sketch and share stories while creating lasting memories and works of art together.

Kate Davis, provider-relations director with Crossroads Hospice of Youngstown, said the organization presented Lane with one of his favorite sketches in a commemorative frame.

She said the art celebration is possible through the Crossroads Hospice.

“Gift of Day” program is designed to have patients share their idea of a perfect day, and staff and volunteers work together to make it a reality.

Lane, a seven-year resident of the nursing home who has been receiving hospice care for about six months, said he started sketching people and characters in his youth, starting with such popular comic characters as Dagwood and Blondie.

“When I was a kid, I always liked to draw faces. Now people will pose for me and I draw their face. I am always able to find a new face to draw,” he said.

While some of the drawings are famous people, such as Diana Ross, Tina Turner and Alfred Hitchcock, he has also drawn residents and staff of the nursing home.

Lane said he also remembers the person’s face and sketches it.

“I draw some people from memory,” he said in his room where a small art area was set up in the corner with sketch pads and paint, brushes and artists’ pencils and other drawing utensils.

Lane said he used to write poetry but now relaxes by painting.

“It makes me feel good. I draw so many people each day,” Lane said.

Lane grew up in Youngstown and Campbell. He said he enjoys also drawing in the nursing home’s activity room where there are other people.

”I like to be around people,” he said.