Manor Moments

A Resident Artist: Carolyn Baker

October 2018

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off ourselves.” -Pablo Picasso

Cornwall Manor resident Carolyn Baker has had a love for art since her childhood. Her parents were Methodist missionaries while growing up. During her first through fifth grade school years, she attended a one-room schoolhouse in Malaysia as one of 10 students within the boarding quarters. Their American teacher was creative and enjoyed painting. She would have her students paint in “en plein aire,” which is French for “open air.” Living in Malaysia provided scenic backgrounds of colorful floral and lush jungles. This is where Carolyn’s love for art began.

Her seventh through eleventh grade school years was spent in India, while her parents were serving as missionaries for another five-year period. Carolyn continued dabbling in art and finished her final year of high school in California and prepared to attend Albion College, a small liberal arts school in Michigan. Her parents returned to Malaysia for another mission term, so Carolyn chose a college near her aunt and uncle in northeast Indiana. She majored in home economics with a minor in art and English. She met her husband, Stuart, at Albion College. While Carolyn was finishing up her senior year of college, Stu began is first year of seminary at Yale Divinity School. Carolyn’s mother returned for her college graduation and to help Carolyn make her wedding gown out of six yards of a silk/silver Indian Sari (a sari is a female garment from Indian that consists of a drape varying from five to nine yards in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder). Her father returned to the states in 1962 the day before Carolyn’s wedding, met Stu for the first time and married the pair the next day.

During their first year of marriage, Stu gave Carolyn an oil set to inspire her oil painting. Their first jobs landed them in Connecticut. Stu took a ministry position and Carolyn taught Family and Consumer Sciences at a local public school. This gave her the beautiful backdrop to paint many New England scenes.

When Carolyn and Stu began having children, she didn’t have much time for painting since she was focused on her family. After retirement, the couple relocated to the Poconos. Carolyn enrolled in portrait drawing classes and plein aire painting with an informal painting group “Come, Paint with Me.” She also taught art, drawing and painting to seniors in the Stroudsburg area through The Older Adult Learning Center Program (TOALC) at East Stroudsburg University.

Carolyn’s art uses many different mediums including pencil sketches, watercolors and oils. She has numerous art journals. At the end of each night while traveling, she often sketches, draws or paints something from her day. This allows her to capture memories and reminisce. “It allows me to appreciate the natural beauty of God’s creation – the world,” Carolyn states. She has had the opportunity to paint a variety of cultures, and enjoys like the neutrals of the Middle East, lushness of Malaysia and the changing seasons of the Eastern United States.

She continues to be actively involved with her art since settling at Cornwall Manor with Stu in the summer of 2015.  Carolyn has painted several scenic images of Cornwall Manor. She participated in the Lebanon Valley Art Studio Tour in the Paymaster’s Building at Cornwall Manor with fellow resident and bird carver Gerry Boltz in 2016 and 2017. In March 2018, she was named artist of the month at United Zion Retirement Community in Lititz. Carolyn also enjoys sharing her art through her card making program “Art-to-Heart-by-Carolyn.” One of her greatest joys is someone receiving something they truly enjoy.

Most recently, several pieces of Carolyn’s artwork is on display in the Wellness Center. Her beautiful works of art brighten the space tremendously. We are very grateful to Carolyn for displaying her art pieces with the Cornwall Manor community and for sharing her talents. She will be teaching art classes at Cornwall Manor for residents in 2019.