Seniors see improvements from art therapy classes

- Keeping seniors motivated can be a formidable challenge, but a Bay Area artist said rekindling their creative juices can sometimes lead to better quality of life during the golden years.

Artist John Comer holds 72 classes every month - four a day - teaching seniors to paint. He's calling it art therapy and has been at it for 16 years. 

Some of his students have never painted before. One such student, 84-year-old Edna Swallows, said she never picked up a paint brush until she came to Comer's art class.

"I never painted before, but I enjoy coming to the class and I get a lot out of it," she told FOX 13 News.

Comer said he started his career as a professional art teacher almost 30 years ago. He went to a retirement community and saw that seniors had nothing creative to do.

"You grab a paint brush and you start painting. There is no possible way you can think of anything else, except what's going on at the end of your brush," Come explained. "The relaxation and the therapy side of it is probably one of the best aspect of art." 

His students seem to agree. Margie Barber has been coming to Comer's classes for eight months.

"It levitates the day, and you can get lost in what you are doing," she described.

Student Estelle Frappier added, "I can be my own choreographer make whatever color I want." 

Comer said he believes the goal is not to become a great painter, but to create friendships, exercise the mind and have fun.

John has taught more than 10,000 classes to date. Anyone interested in joining his art therapy classes may email

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