It was at the knees of her grandmother that Lois Merrill of Newcomerstown learned to be creative. And it was a bit later in her own life that she found that she had a talent for painting.

"I learned creative things like needlework, gardening, sewing and quilting from my grandma," Lois remembered. "I’ve always liked trying different types of art and being creative, from jewelry, ceramic windchimes, crystal sun catchers, to cement stepping stones."

And that background has served her well in her chosen field as she transitioned from a Hospice nurse to being an art therapist with Hospice of Guernsey County.

"I was at least 40 when I decided to take classes and learn to paint," Lois said. "I liked acrylics because you can paint right over it if you need. I love nature and people, so I like to paint them. I like my paintings to have a meaning or tell a story, and to evoke an emotion or feeling. I get ideas from many things, like travel, flowers and scenery, friends or family, a song or book. Art helps me relax and unwind too. It’s fun to paint from photos or download ideas from the internet. Most of the time it’s an idea from my head. I don’t like to sketch or draw, but usually do a brief outline, if at all, choose colors and paint!

"My favorite paintings are of landscapes and people. Some favorite artists are Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe and Picasso. I just saw the art of Yayoi Kusama, an 86-year old Japanese artist, that was very cool. I’m inspired by numerous local artists. Some are Don Fairchild and Sue Dodd of Cambridge, Sally Emslie in West Lafayette, Share Prindle (who has the frame shop in Coshocton) and my oil painting teacher, Karen Honaker Shaw in Zanesville."

But it’s an artist closer to her family who can spotlight her love of painting, her identical twin, Linda Fisher.

"I love and admire my twin sister Linda as an artist," Lois said.