Jackie Martin Cole loves to paint. She has painted the covered bridge about 16 miles outside Dothan. She has painted Providence Canyon which is about 15 miles across the Chattahoochee from Eufaula. She has painted the grand Acapulco Rock at Lake Martin, and much more.
“I’m a cotton pickin’ woman and I’m proud of it,” said Jackie. “I grew up in the country with the woods, the trees, the squirrels, and that’s what I like to paint. I choose very carefully what I… well, I never really make a choice. I see something and want to paint it.”
When neuropathy hit Jackie’s feet and hands, she began looking for a place that could help take care of her during all phases of her disease. Jackie looked at several retirement communities before settling on Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan. She said that it was the patio with the outdoor gardening opportunity that caught her eye.
“Out the glass sliding doors I have a patio, and outside are two large river birch, they are beautiful, and a crepe myrtle, and a gardenia bush, and I’ve got my bird feeders. I see cardinals, and a house finch which has got red on its chest. Its babies are almost as big as the parents when they begin to fly,” Jackie proclaimed. “From my recliner I can swivel it and watch the birds right next to the windows.”
Jackie explained that art came naturally to her. At Enterprise State Junior College (now Enterprise State Community College) she had to take an extra course in the arts so she chose painting. Though she did not pursue a degree in art, she did take one art class in Dothan.
“I learned that when you’re in a group of painters you learn from each other,” recalled Jackie. “I was there maybe a year. Then I was going to the senior center, and joined when I was 60. They put in for me to teach art there, which I did until I got sick.” Jackie explained. “I enjoyed that as long as I could do it. But the Lord doesn’t turn me loose from working for Him.”
Jackie sees her paintings as a way to reach people for Jesus.
“I paint because I love to paint. It was not ever for money. My painting was not expected to be a means of income.”
Discerning God’s prompting, Jackie chose 10 of her paintings and ordered a package of 800 prints of small, 2-sided cards to hand out to people she meets. She ended up with 800 of each of the 10 styles of cards! So began her quest to hand them all out to encourage people she meets. Her paintings are featured on one side of the card and on the other side is an interpretation of the painting offering Biblical inspiration. (See photos of card paintings below.)
As an example, Jackie explained the inspirational message on the back of the card featuring her Acapulco Rock painting.
“The guy who runs and jumps, he is like a person in the church who has total faith in Jesus Christ. He trusts Him and does all he can do to be faithful to Jesus. The ones that are jumping from the lower section, they are Christians, but they don’t have the growth to have the same depth of faith. The one that jumps from the top has to trust God that he can jump, and he’s got to know the water well enough and the depth of the water well enough. Those already in the water, they are the ones who go to church on Christmas, Easter, and other holidays. And then there’s people sitting in boats watching people jump, and they are atheists. They like to just think about what the Christian people have, but they doubt it. Each picture I do, the Lord gives me something to compare to from the Scripture.”
The walls of Jackie’s apartment at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle are covered with her art and action shots her children and grandchildren.
“I have my treasures all around me. I’m at home. I have no regrets leaving my house because it came with me,” Jackie grinned. “Everything I need is right here. I made sure of that before I made the deal.”
If you would like to know more about retirement life at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle in Dothan, contact the admissions team for your personal tour.