Joye Tilton 1923-2015
On September 7, 2005, I went to see Joye, an 81 year old woman whom I had every intention to teach art…drawing, painting etc. Joye was wheelchair dependent and had the use of only her right hand. Joye had a very supportive family who had a vision to create “Team Joye” of which I am forever grateful to be included. I had experience working with artists/clients with very wide range of challenges/abilities/experience, so Joye was a welcomed opportunity. After a few weeks, I realized while I was there for Joye as an art instructor, I had an opportunity to learn from Joye, far more than I ever imagined.
Joye and I met on Thursday mornings at 9:30 for ten years. We discussed art, life, problems/issues/challenges of all sizes. While Joye had her opinions and passionately expressed them, she was open to hearing different perspectives by being walked around to see another point of view. That made our conversations invigorating and enlightening. We helped each other navigate life as well as a canvas.
Joye loved beauty.
She wanted the world to see what she saw and art was her vehicle. She used paint and also pastel, pencils, chalk, charcoal, watercolor and markers. Joye created art. A lot. Sometimes we created art together. You see, Joye was an artist and simply used various vehicles to express herself.
When you look at Joye’s work, it is uniquely hers. It reminds me of no one else’s work. I had to remind myself that Joye had physical limitations. In addition to only the use of her right hand, she did not have the fine motors skills that she once possessed.
In ten years, I never heard Joye say “I used to be able to…” or anything close. Joye taught me to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t. She taught me to see the beauty. To see the positive in a sea of negative.
Joye inspired others. Two years ago, “Friday Morning Art” for the Parkside Village residents was created. Being yourself rather than being like someone else is the foundation for our Friday sessions. It is not a “how to” class. It is a “be aware of your instincts, trust your instincts and express your instincts” class. Joye led by example and inspired others on Friday mornings for over two years.
While Joye left us peacefully on Friday evening, August 7th at 91, her legacy lives on in all who she touched. I hear her voice as I guide artists to trust themselves. I feel Joye when I see a flower, a garden, a cloud or a yellowbird. I will feel Joye in my own art. Joye changed me and I am grateful. -David Myers
Enjoy Joye’s art. The world is a better place for it.