Hospice of Santa Barbara offers a wide range of services for individuals with terminal diseases and their families in order to improve their quality of life. Services include counseling, support groups, and community organizations. In addition, the organization celebrates the healing power of less traditional tools, such as art. Recently, the hospice displayed the works of local artist Dr. Daniel Joseph in the Leigh Block Gallery.
Dr. Joseph, who has Parkinson’s disease, was diagnosed in 1999. In the first years following the diagnosis, he largely lived in denial, as he had always been healthy. Eventually, however, his symptoms forced him to confront the illness as his hand tremors made it nearly impossible to hold a glass of water. Around this time, one of his friends invited him to begin painting with her.
As Dr. Joseph explored the world of art, he found painting to be a form of meditation. As he focused a great deal on producing the perfect brush stroke, he realized that his hands did not shake as much. To make art a more regular part of his life, he took adult education art classes at Santa Barbara City College.
Some of Dr. Joseph’s most common subjects include members of his family and wildlife, as well as flowers. Painting flowers make him feel more connected to his father, who owned a flower shop. When his father died at a young age, he took over the family business and began to feel a real connection to his father in the flowers. His favorite medium is oil on canvas.
Dr. Joseph created his exhibition, which is called Parkinson’s: Along the Road to Hope, as a way to encourage other individuals in similar circumstances to consider the therapeutic value of creating art. Art has done a great deal to help him deal with his diagnosis and explore what matters most to him, yet he discovered its value long after learning that he had Parkinson’s disease. He hopes to inspire other people connected to Hospice of Santa Barbara to take a similar path.