Forgetting the pain: Illness caused Jerry Points to close his Carmel gallery, but painting again has helped him heal

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As artist Jerry Points moves his hands, he’s careful with every brush stroke. He works on big canvases now, mostly because he’s in pain. Constant pain.

He developed a tremor in his arm that spread into his right hand and affected some of his results in fine detail painting. But he soldiers on because his artwork helps him ignore the excruciating pain he’s been dealing with since he contracted shingles almost a year ago.

“You get so involved that you forget the pain,” he said. “Right now it hurts all the time, like 24 hours.”

Points was the arts advisor to the city of Carmel and worked with the gallery owners in the Arts & Design District. He organized a new outdoor painting event. He owned his gallery, Eye on Art, for about five years and was one of the early supporters of the area.

But he had to give that all up back in December. His shingles became too painful and on top of that his wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He resigned from his post and closed his gallery. He said it was a big blow. He invested so much of his time in the arts community in Carmel and now he was unable to participate much. He was dealing with physical pain but also the emotional pain of being away from his passion.

“For an artist it’s important to have an outlet for your work,” he said. “You can be in a lot of galleries, but you might not see the money for three to six months and then they take out a commission. But it’s not all about the money, there’s a connection to the people who come in and see your work. You just don’t have that interaction. Even the days that were slow I really enjoyed taking time to talk to people.”

But that’s what had to happen. Points said doctors kept saying it was the worst case of shingles they had ever seen. He had breakouts all over his body and after 30 days he began to feel extreme nerve damage, which has improved but still lasts to this day.

“The nerves feel like they are on fire,” he said. “There wasn’t one spot that didn’t completely hurt to touch. The first six months were a complete wipeout. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do simple phone calls or simple e-mails. I can’t remember much of that period because of the pain.”

Before he had shingles, Points was caring for his wife with Parkinson’s, but after her surgery her symptoms have improved.

“For a while it absolutely switched,” he said. “I was the caretaker of her. She was going into panic attacks. I would bring her to the emergency room. She had a 12 hour panic attack that was just horrible and I was right beside her. But now she’s kind of looking after me.”

But seven months after he was diagnosed, Points began painting again. He entered some contests for plein air painting and won awards. He was a judge for the recent Carmel on Canvas event. He moved the sign from his old Eye on Art Gallery to a garage that he’s converted into his new studio. He’s represented by Editions Limited Gallery in Carmel and Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne. Interested patrons can call him at 752-1722 to set up a time to see his work.

One of the most emotional pieces since his return to painting was a large self-portrait he has hanging above his bed. He said it helps express what he’s going through.

“It was out of frustration more than anything else,” he said. “The striking paint across the face is a self-portrait to how I felt at the moment. Instead of giving up, I was letting go by expressing the pain through the painting.”

ABOUT JERRY POINTS

Favorite period of art: Pop Art Era

Favorite style of art: Expressionism

Wife: Polly, married 19 years

Previous career: Worked in advertising and design

Favorite food: Likes plain simple food, not much of a foodie

Favorite place to vacation: Hawaii

Pets: Dooley, a labradoodle

Children: Daughter, April, who lives in Germany

 

FROM HIS WEB SITE

“Points’ paintings have been recognized with honors from the Hoosier Salon, Indiana Heritage, and Indiana Artists exhibitions. His entries in the Hoosier Salon have won “Best Impressionistic Landscape,” “Best Dynamic Landscape” and, in 2005, his entry was selected by the Indiana State Museum for their permanent collection. Recently, his painting, “Rainbow Woods” was purchased for inclusion in the Greater Lafayette Museum’s permanent collection. As a plein air painter, he has won awards in several paint-outs, including Best of show in the Hamilton County and Zionsville Paint-Out. He was selected to participate as a guest artist in the Door County Plein Air Festival in Wisconsin in July 2011 and 2013.”

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