Rick Johnston, known as the Bearded Painter, knows this first hand.
In 2015, at the age of 49, the Greencastle resident suffered a medical event similar to a stroke. It left him unable to speak or walk and suffering from vertigo, light sensitivity and balance issues. After years of unrelenting focus on his work as a manager at Carrier and an uncompromising determination to achieve financial success, Johnston found himself bitter, anxious and depressed. Physical therapy returned his mobility, but speech difficulties continued.
At the urging of his speech therapist, Johnston turned to art as a means of non-verbal communication. A man of no previous artistic talent, he has discovered liberation through painting. His new-found ability to experience vivid color has led to freedom of expression that continues to bring him joy and emotional release.
Johnston, who often begins his acrylic paintings upside down, paints with his non-dominant hand. His subjects are far-ranging and include portraits, pop art, abstract designs and landscapes. From index cards to full-sized canvases, from a living room easel to his own small studio, from bitterness to gratitude, his talent and determination continue to change his life and that of others.
Profits from the sale of Johnston’s artwork helps fund a charitable foundation that supports not-for-profit agencies around the state.
Johnston will lead a class 6-9 p.m. Nov. 3 at Athens Art, 216 E. Main St. He will supply all materials needed and instructions for a student to paint and take home their own piece of art. Class is open to anyone 12 years and older. Cost is $50.
To reserve a spot for this class, stop by Athens Arts during regular business hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, or call 765-362-7455 to pay over the telephone with a debit or credit card.
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