Painting enthusiast loves her senior living community

Leona Russell

When Leona Russell, 89, moved to Good Samaritan Society – Heritage Place of Roseville two years ago, she discovered a welcoming environment in which she could continue her painting hobby.

The den in Leona’s independent living apartment gives her space to spread out and create. She began painting 30 years ago and uses acrylics, oils and watercolors to bring to life nature scenes, people, animals and more.

“I like to make things pretty,” says Leona.

One of her special paintings is of her daughter.

“She was a hunter jumper, so I painted her jumping her horse,” Leona says.

Staff members and residents quickly recognized Leona's talent and wanted to see her artwork around the building.

Leona Russell's painting of a lake and mountains.

“As I step out my door, I have five paintings in the hallway,” says Leona. “They took one and hung it in the dining room.”

Leona has macular degeneration, but she doesn’t let that deter her from painting. She enlarges the photos on her phone to help her see the finer details.

Her artwork has brought joy to many of her friends.

“When someone has a birthday, I might paint a flower to give them,” Leona says.

Pet-friendly and welcoming

Leona is also a pet person. She owns two orange tabby cats – sisters Saffron and Ginger – who are good companions, but also a little mischievous.

“I call them the spice girls,” says Leona. “I shut my bedroom door at night, but one of them can open the door, so I only get to sleep in if they’ll let me.”

Sometimes Leona brings the cats out of her apartment for an adventure.

“I have a stroller my daughters bought me for the cats, so my daughter and I take the cats out around the walking path to the screened-in patio and sometimes let them out,” Leona states.

Leona has a regular lunch date with her neighbors at Heritage Place of Roseville. A group of about five or six of them sit together and visit.

They also like to meet outside when the weather gets warmer. There they enjoy the walking path or the screened-in patio. Another favorite gathering space is the building’s large entryway which has a cozy fireplace and comfortable seating.

Spacious apartment

Leona Russell's independent living apartment filled with art supplies and paintings.

Leona appreciates all the aspects of the building and her apartment. Her den has French doors, which makes for a nice art and computer room.

When Leona moved in, she was impressed with the fresh paint job and woodwork. She also likes the scenery around the building.

“I have a nice view to the east,” she says. “I have two bird feeders that the squirrels often take over.”

One of her daughters lives nearby and visits regularly. Leona also spends time keeping up with former students on Facebook.

She was a second-grade teacher for 25 years and has fond memories from her career.

“I loved my students,” she says. “I liked to see their progress and how they turned out. Two or three are teaching at a college.”

Spending her days at Heritage Place of Roseville has been a delight for Leona and she says she never plans to leave.

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