City resident Doug Carlton displays his completed seaside oil painting for the 2024 Not So Bad Art by Good People contest. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Former Honda Marysville engineer Doug Carlton has always had artistic and creative side throughout his life, his wife Jayne relates, but it was after a difficult turn of events that has provided the Michigan native with the chance to pursue that talent and also to spur on others with his perseverance.
Toward the end of 2015, Doug and Jayne settled in Bellefontaine, and he worked at Honda until he suffered a stroke at the age of 61 in April of 2021. Then in June of 2021, he experienced a more serious stroke that left him paralyzed on the right side (his dominant side) and unable to speak.
While the stroke has been far-reaching in its side effects and Doug is still weak on the right side, his wife said he has learned to walk short distances with a cane and his speech is coming along.
“He is unable to use his right arm; however, he is working hard to improve and overcome all current and hopefully temporary obstacles.”
Doug, who has recently has learned another new skill in painting with his left hand, is one of 10 featured artists in the 2024 Not So Bad Art by Good People contest, hosted by the Logan County Art League, which concludes this week.
While his wife said he initially was hesitant to join the contest, the city resident realized that detailing some of his health hurdles and how he has worked to overcome them could be an inspiration for others facing unexpected and monumental challenges in their lives.
“Doug wants to share his story to encourage others in similar situations not to give up,” Jayne said. “Life changes; you have to find strength to accept the change yet at the same time, do not give into it. Continue to set goals for yourself and don’t stop following your dreams.
“Doug was an avid runner prior to his stroke (approximately 50 miles a week) and loved to golf. Art was always a passion, but he never had time to pursue it. Since his stroke, Doug has been working on healing and getting stronger.”
The talented painter and engineer grew up in Detroit and his family moved to Ferndale, Mich., where he went to high school, his wife explained.
He took art in school and enjoyed it, he started in graphic arts and became a draftsman and eventually an engineer.
“Doug liked drawing with charcoal in his youth. He joined Cracked Pot Studio in Bellefontaine and did some amazing pottery work with them. Doug enjoyed his time there and hopes someday to return,” Jayne said this week.
Not long ago as a creative outlet, he began private art lessons with a most supportive instructor, Dwight Greenbaum at Rush Creek Art Studio, 116 W. Chillicothe Ave., Bellefontaine.
“I encouraged Doug to pursue his passion of art,” Jayne said. “I spoke with Dwight Greenbaum at Rush Creek Art Studio and told him about Doug’s situation. Dwight was very quick to say yes, he would be willing to work with Doug.
“The next week, Doug was at Rush Creek, and he and Dwight began a journey. The two of them hit it off right away; Dwight made Doug feel very comfortable and was very encouraging. Doug, with Dwight’s assistance, learned to paint with his left hand.”
Since then, he has created four paintings, including several watercolor pieces that his wife is looking forward to displaying in their home. Doug donated his fourth painting, an oil painting of a beachside seascape, to the Art League’s contest.
It recreates he and his wife’s enjoyment and peaceful feelings of sitting on a dock or beach and watching the sunrise or sunset.
Jayne, who has worked for Small Nation for the last 2 ½ years, explained that founder/CEO Jason Duff would check in with her regularly to see how Doug was faring in his stroke recovery. It was Duff who nominated Doug to participate in the art fundraiser on behalf of Small Nation.
“Awhile back, I was showing Doug’s art work to Jason. When Not So Bad Art asked for someone to represent Small Nation, Jason asked Doug,” Jayne said.
“Jason has been absolutely amazing to Doug and I. He has been supportive to both of us during Doug’s stroke and through his continued recovery.”
Jayne has worked in a few other positions before becoming the assistant manager at BUILD Cowork + Space, she said.
“I love working at BUILD and with this team of incredible individuals. Everyone works together towards a common goal. You will not find a harder working and dedicated team.”
The local couple is looking forward to checking out the art auction Friday, Jan. 26, with Jayne noting, “You are truly blessed when you can give back to your community.”
The Carltons also are uplifted by Doug’s participation in another outlet as well – a golf program called Fore Hope, sponsored by Ohio Health in Columbus.
“Fore Hope re-teaches people how to golf with their neurological injuries,” Jayne said. “They have a summer and winter league. He enjoys being out on the golf course again.”
Doug Carlton learns to paint with his left hand at Rush Creek Art Studio, 116 W. Chillicothe Ave. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)