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Flood: Artist finds his passion again, thanks to unlikely muses


When Artino Sims was born, his father was so sure he’d grow up to be an artist that he gave him a name to seal his destiny.

As fate would have it, Artino developed a deep passion for painting and could turn a blank canvas into a masterpiece, despite no formal training. But his art took a back seat to raising a family and his busy career teaching people to drive trucks and buses.

With limited time for painting, he described his style as “hurry-up, get-it-done, go-to-work art.”

Over the past year, battling advanced cancer, Artino fell into a dark space where nothing mattered, not even his art. That’s when his doctor referred him to Arizona Supportive Care, a Hospice of the Valley home-based program that serves patients with serious illness by managing symptoms, providing 24/7 clinical support and improving quality of life.

Artino had no idea what to expect. But after meeting his social worker, Micaela “Mica” Dalley, and nurse, Lisa Schultz, everything changed.

Inspired by their faith in his obvious talent, his black-and-white world was filled with color again.
“They have so much personality and character,” Artino says of his care team. “These two ladies, they take good care of me. I feel a lot better and a lot more confident.”

Mica recalls early visits when Artino was so depressed he wouldn’t even get up. Noticing all the striking artwork on the walls of his living room, Mica encouraged him to take up painting again. As they talked more about facing his fears, enjoying each moment, and doing what he loved most, Artino had an awakening: “I’m going to live from now on.”

These days at his Sun City home, sunlight streams through the windows, lively music plays and new pieces are always on display. On this Thursday morning, freshly painted portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot adorn the walls. When Mica and Lisa arrive, Artino smiles at his muses’ reaction. “I paint for them,” he says.

Mica radiates joy to see her creative patient flourishing. “It took a lot of feeding his beautiful spirt to get him to stand tall again,” she says. “We love listening to him and providing reassurance that we are with him in this journey, that he’s not alone.”

Lin Sue Flood is director of Community Engagement at Hospice of the Valley. To learn more about Arizona Supportive Care, visit azsc.org or call (602) 212-3000.