Artist January Hooker walked down the hallway at Coastside Adult Day Health Center in Half Moon Bay, giving a tour of her “Healing Windows,” a collection of 10 petite landscape murals inside painted elliptical window frames.
“I planned a curved window because it’s much more calming than square edges, which makes you feel confined,” said Hooker.
Hooker, who many Coastsiders know from her idyllic depictions of the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, started the “Healing Windows” series in 2014. Then and now, her goal has been to brighten up the space for the participants at the center, who are predominantly seniors living with physical and mental conditions that require extra care.
“I thought of the name ‘Healing Windows,’ because if the participants can walk up and down the hall, maybe they can make some connections with their memory,” said Hooker, explaining that some participants at the center have dementia and Alzheimer’s.
All the “Healing Windows” are positioned at eye level for the sake of verisimilitude. “It’s almost like you could lean out of it,” said Hooker.
In a way, a stroll past the paintings feels like a tour along the coast. Take in a view of the James Johnston House here, gaze out over the bluffs at Poplar Beach there, admire the Montara Lighthouse in the distance.
After taking a long hiatus from the project due to life events and later the global pandemic, Hooker resumed work in early February in order to complete the 11th and final painting in the “Healing Windows” series. She has been spending about 12-15 hours a week at Coastside Adult Day Health Center and makes a point of painting during times when she can interact with the participants and they with her.
“A woman told me the other day, ‘I’ve been to that ocean,’” said Hooker.
The last “Healing Window,” a gift from the Minoletti family, pays tribute to the late Anne and Til Minoletti. What stands out first about it is that it stretches from floor to ceiling — so it's much larger than the other paintings. And instead of a slumbering country field or a dancing cypress tree, it shows a large manicured garden with pampered rose bushes and handsome hedges. In the foreground is a majestic flower arbor that will eventually be embellished with blooms.
Standing in front of her work cart, Hooker picks up a pile of postcard-size images of other paintings she has done of flowers. Up until now, Hooker has always painted “Healing Windows” based on photographs she had taken. Smiling, she said the scene in this last “Healing Window” is from her fantasy.
“I put purple pansies here and tulips there,” she said. “Maybe I’ll do some coral over here. Each row is a garden.”
This version corrects the names associated with the last Healing Window.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.