By Zandy Dudiak, Communications coordinator
Last May, we did a story on a man who loves to paint—Mark “Sparky” L., formerly a resident of Kathleen Community Living Arrangement (CLA) who now lives at Wolfe CLA. During the time of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, the brush and canvas became even more important to him.
He had a specific goal: to sell his paintings to earn money for future camping trips to The Woodlands, an overnight camp in Wexford. He was disappointed that organizers canceled summer camp last year because of COVID-19, but was still looking forward to fall camp, which also shut down.
“I was mad,” he admits.
This year looks a little brighter, “thank God,” he says. Sparky has sold $300 worth of his paintings—and he’s scheduled to go to camp in July. Sparky loves camp because he can go swimming, enjoy arts and crafts, and relax away from home.
“Selling paintings, I get to share the joy and make money for camp,” Sparky says. “Making art is relaxing and helps with stress.”
He is adjusting to his new home at Wolfe CLA, where a section of the living room is set up with his easel. He enjoys watching people pass by, though there aren’t as many pedestrians near Wolfe as he was used to seeing at Kathleen CLA. But, this week, he planned to go to the Baldwin Library to get his library card and familiarize himself with his new neighborhood.
Pittsburgh Mercy colleagues call him “Mr. Sunshine” because he likes to sit out in the sun. Sparky also enjoys going to the casino, which he wasn’t able to do during the pandemic restrictions. However, he is making up for lost time. As soon as he gets back from camp, he and a housemate already have tickets for the WWE Supershow in late July at PPG Paints Arena.
Sparky’s style is abstract—layers of blue, yellow, red, orange and black painted across the canvas. He still has about 10-12 pieces of his artwork for sale. The cost is $10 for an 11×12-inch or $15 for a 10×16-inch painting.
Anyone interested in purchasing one of Sparky’s paintings can call the Wolfe house at 412-655-3238 and ask for Sparky, or contact Dorothy Hope, supervisor, at DHope@pittsburghmercy.org.