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Internationally known watercolorist finds niche at Maris Grove

Light-filled, peaceful apartment home becomes her oasis

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March 26th, 2013
Maris Grove, Erickson Living s community in Delaware County, Pa., attracts artists of every medium. In fact, so many painters, watercolorists, fabric artists, photographers, musicians, and actors thrive within the vibrant environment that it resembles an artists colony. Although watercolorist Anne Gaver and her husband Paul didn t move from the Baltimore area to Maris Grove strictly because of its creative atmosphere, the community was definitely where they wanted to live. Not only was it close to their children, they also knew Erickson Living s reputation firsthand. Anne s mother had lived atOak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Baltimore, for ten years. Oak Crest s lifestyle and its program of continuing care so impressed the Gavers that they joined its priority list in 2000. Joining the list guaranteed them a place on the waiting list for an available home based on their priority list date. The date never changes and is valid for any of the 16 Erickson Living communities. The Gavers decision was one of the smartest they ever made because when they decided to move to Maris Grove, which didn t open until 2006, they were at the top of the list. I ve had many miracles in my life, Anne says, and that is one of them. She wanted a home with a light-filled, uncarpeted area where she could paint. Both the Gavers wanted a home in the Vernon Woods residence building because it afforded views into and over the trees of Maris Grove s rolling hills. As the couple prepared to move last August, the apartment style Anne hoped for became available. It was in Vernon Woods. Another miracle.

Time for living and enjoying life

While they belong to the canine club and Paul has joined the shuffleboard and bocce groups, they re taking their time becoming involved in campus life. Anne, whose watercolors brighten nearly every wall of the couple s home, is focusing on her art. The couple s sunroom is her studio. I love people, she says, but I need time alone to paint. She has, however, joined the community s meditation group. A former psychiatric nurse, Anne didn t start painting until age 40, but she s had a lifelong interest in the connection between spirituality, meditation, and healing. She meditates in her living room every morning. When they moved to Maris Grove, the Gavers untangled themselves from the responsibilities of maintaining a large house and 14-acre farm where they raised horses, steers, and chickens. It was a lifestyle change for us, says Paul, but we were ready to make that change. They ve made some cosmetic changes, too. The second bedroom in the apartment has become Paul s den, and when he realized he didn t need its closet, I thought we d put our TV in there, he says. The conversion was as simple as removing the closet doors and purchasing a base cabinet to fit the space and hold the TV. Now it s unobtrusive, says Paul.

Uncovering the artist inside

The lobby outside Maris Grove s Cardinal Theater has become an art gallery showcasing work by residents. Early this year it exhibited watercolors by Anne Gaver. On display were vibrant floral compositions, colorful scenes of people interacting with nature, and paintings that capture the transparent, often elusive quality of water. Anne has studied with several notable watercolorists, and her work resides in collections throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. She d long wanted to paint but didn t think she could. Frequently, we have something within us that allows us to do something we might dream about but thought we couldn t do, she says. Then we end up doing it! That s important. When Anne listened to her inner urge and took up watercolor, it became the delight of her life. She encourages others to do the same, to try things they didn t think they could do. It s also the philosophy that permeates Maris Grove, where people follow their bliss and reinvent themselves all the time.

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