Ella’s Freedom

Grandma Ella wore a comb to pull the hair back from her smiling face.

She was a happy person in her younger days…singing, dancing, making art, collecting Royal Dalton china cups for tea time with me.

In later years, Grandpa and she moved to Naples, Florida.

She had a sweet little bird there she called Lucky. One day Lucky flew out of his cage and never returned.

Ella moved from the ocean to Lake Placid, Florida. With each move she grew colder…

…less able to dance or sing. The dreaded disease began….

…to freeze her life. When she left this world…

…her spirit was freed like a bird.

Ella’s Freedom

Watercolor paintings by Susan Sholle-Martin in memory of

Ella Murdock Sholle

June 25, 1902 to November 20, 1974

My Grandmother and fellow artist who was freed from alzheimer’s disease.

Grandma Ella as a girl
Susan as a girl

Susan and her grandmother Ella were both born and raised in Ohio. Ella inspired her with beautiful paintings, drawings, and ceramics. While Susan was studying art at Westminster College in Pennsylvania, Ella moved to Naples, Florida. Like her mother before her, she experienced dementia and died at a great distance.

Through the series of paintings above, Susan was able to express her grief and love for her grandmother. She painted a transformation of the comb Ella wore in her hair into a beautiful bird. It is a metaphor for  her transition from life to death and into eternal life. It was her way of healing from seeing a disease that seemed to take the personality and life from her grandmother. This was one of her first experiences using art as part of  a healing process.


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