Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Wendi Painting, oil sketch, 10x8" plein air, ©Diane Mannion


(Pronounced NEMMA rhymes with Emma)

Last year… the first time I met Wendi, I didn’t know I was painting next to one of those rare angels!  

Painting at the Punta Gorda Environmental Park with the Peace River Painters, I included Wendi in my plein air oil sketch (above)  and decided to give it to her later after I photographed it and let it dry.  Drove around with it all season and never bumped into her again. 

I usually have a good reason to gift a painting, but this time I thought it was just because it was a sketch of Wendi and she was happy I didn’t make her butt look big!  Little did I know that she really deserved my painting!  Finally found her this season and learned that  Wendi C Smith is a certified Mneme Therapist. 

So what’s Mneme?  The mneme therapy, named after the Greek mother of the muse (inspiration fairy that buzzes around artist’s heads), is also related to memory, as in mnemonic device (hooks to help remember things). 

In Wendi’s words:

“I work with elders with Alzheimer’s and Dementia as well as folks who have had strokes or accidents and children on the Autism spectrum.  I give my clients/artists a choice of 10 Mneme Therapy paintings from my “Inspiration Book.”

Wendi used one of my paintings in her “Inspiration Book” because it evokes JOY!  (I was pleased to hear this!)  Here’s a story of how it worked with one woman in Wendi’s words:

“My client, Pat is 65 years old and resides at Life Care Center of Punta Gorda.  Pat broke her back a number of years ago but it has not broken her spirit.  When I arrive with my painting supplies she is the first to ask if she could paint today. 

Every stroke in the painting is set up to stimulate different areas of the brain to hopefully cause a synapse and build new pathways in the brain.  So Pat chose your sample painting (my version of your painting after changing brush strokes to include strokes needed in all MT paintings). 

It took Pat 30 minutes to complete.  It was framed and hung at our Art Without Boundaries Exhibit last March at the Visual Art Center.  Pat was extremely proud!  She still shows it off to visitors at Life Care.”
Pat and her painting
My painting that inspired Pat's

My hug from Wendi after giving her the sketch
Wendi and me

More Mneme info:

Thanks to Sharon Yarbrough and Susan Hoffman for the photos!


Lisa Swift said...

I love what she is doing and your instinct to seek her out. Art is therapy, I can not advocate that enough. Art brings you back to where you were always supposed to be. Thanks for sharing such an awesome story.

Diane Mannion said...

Lisa! Love your comment, especially… "Art brings you back to where you were always supposed to be."
Thank you.