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Late-blooming Oklahoma artist wins national honor

Legend at Rivendell Assisted Living will hold a reception for Robert Wilson, whose painting won a national showcase.
BY DONNA WALKER Published: May 12, 2012

Robert Wilson finds inspiration in many places.

His art is inspired by photos he sees in magazines, by nature and by his deep faith.

His greatest inspiration, however, came from his late wife, Christine.

Wilson, 84, was named grand prize winner of the Assisted Living Federation of America's 2012 Art Showcase.

His acrylic painting, “Adorable Child Exploring the Beach,” was chosen from among more than 200 entries. The judges, assembled through the federation's partnership with the American Art Therapy Association, said they chose the piece for his representation of the theme: carpe diem, meaning seize the day, and its overall artistic merit.

“I just couldn't believe it! God is really pouring it on me now!” Wilson said. “I'm just so happy. It's such an honor to know that they will be displaying my art at the (federation's) headquarters and that others can enjoy it after I'm gone.”

Wilson, known as “Bo” at Legend at Rivendell Assisted Living where he resides, is what one might call a late bloomer. It wasn't until his two sons were grown and he was settling into retirement that he began to dabble in art. He completed his first painting in his garage, sandwiched between two vehicles. He was in his 60s at the time.

“She's (Christine) the one that inspired me to paint. She said, ‘You're always sketching and drawing … now, why don't you add some color to it.' Who would ever have thought 20 years ago, this would come about,” the retired electrician said.

With his wife's encouragement, he signed up for an art class. He took 10 lessons, then decided to try it on his own.

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