A Healing Art

Pocatellan Linda Wolfe’s Paintings

By Harald Wyndham

On a bright afternoon in a warmer-than-normal March, from the driveway of John and Linda Wolfe’s house on the hillside above Pocatello, I see the sun glinting on the remains of mountain snowbanks which, in wetter years, would still cover the canyons.

Around the house, decorated flowerpots and painted metal sculptures gleam and spin. Inside, Linda and John greet me warmly, as do their dogs, Rosie, Abby, and Buster. My visit to these long-standing friends is not completely social. I have come to discuss a book illustration project with Linda, an artist I have worked with for more than thirty years.

We settle into the comfortable upstairs living space off the kitchen, surrounded on all sides by brilliant paintings. Linda’s most recent work, showing sinuous vines transforming into birds, faces, and flowers in a progression of colors from dark green to vibrant reds and pinks, are accented by yellow and white embroideries that have a life of their own. I like this new direction in her painting, which radiates positive energy.

“It’s part of the healing process,” she tells me, with a smile tempered by the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. “Art has always been my refuge and my paradise.” Over the past decade, as she cared for John while he underwent chemotherapy or he cared for her while doctors searched for the best arthritis treatment, she never stopped drawing in her sketchbook and painting when her health permitted. And the products of those efforts cover the walls and hallways, staircases and alcoves, like testaments to survival.

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