'Colour and communion': Exploring the influences of visual art-making as a leisure activity on older women's subjective well-being

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Reynolds, F (2010)

This is the post-print version of the final paper published in Journal of Aging Studies. The published article is available from the link below. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. Copyright @ 2009 Elsevier B.V. Research into the subjective experience of art-making for older people is limited, and has focused mostly on professional artists rather than amateurs. This study examined older women's motives for visual art-making. Thirty-two participants aged 60-86 years old were interviewed. Twelve lived with chronic illness; twenty reported good health. Nearly all had taken up art after retirement; two had since become professional artists. Participants described their art-making as enriching their mental life, promoting enjoyment of the sensuality of colour and texture, presenting new challenges, playful experimentation, and fresh ambitions. Art also afforded participants valued connections with the world outside the home and immediate family. It encouraged attention to the aesthetics of the physical environment, preserved equal status relationships, and created opportunities for validation. Art-making protected the women's identities, helping them to resist the stereotypes and exclusions which are commonly encountered in later life. AHRC
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