84-year-old painter adapts after accident leaves her unable to hold a paintbrush the same way

Marilynn Derwenskus
Posted at 9:43 AM, Sep 15, 2022

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) —When a painter broke her arms and wrists, she didn't throw in the towel. Instead, she got creative.

The bad fall in Marilynn Derwenskus' garage a few years ago left her unable to control a paintbrush the way she had for decades. Determined to make art again, the 84-year-old decided to master abstractionism in a new way.

"Who would think it takes any skill to make a straight line? But it does. It was a kind of frustrating experience," Derwenskus said.

It took some time, but eventually, she committed to switching up her style. She now paints fewer straight lines and uses more stencils and tape. At first, the limitations frustrated her, but then she stepped back and looked at the big picture.

"I have kind of positive attitudes toward things. Maybe you have to do it a different way, but you'll be able to do something. Achieve the result, but maybe in a different way," she said.

This story was originally reported by Hannah McDonald on