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Artist Draws Inspiration from His Father for ‘Say It With Flowers’ Exhibition

Dr. Dan Joseph turned to painting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease

Dr. Dan Joseph, a local artist and retired physician living with Parkinson’s disease, will present his second solo art exhibition titled “Say It With Flowers” at an opening reception from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mercer Advisors Inc., 1801 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

“There’s nothing easier to look at and more difficult to paint than the flower,” Dr. Joseph said. “Flowers are true gifts of sweetness. The colors, smells, geometric patterns — they are unique like little else in our world.”

“Say It With Flowers” stems from Dr. Joseph’s time spent working at his father’s flower shop as a teenager. His father, Philip Joseph, was a florist all his working life and bought a flower shop in Connecticut at age 35. Three years later, he died unexpectedly from a heart attack, leaving his wife and two sons — Dr. Joseph was 15 and his brother, Nate, was 10.

“Our world turned upside down in what seemed like a second,” Dr. Joseph said. “Fortunately we had all spent time working together as a family, so we all pitched in and managed to run the shop.”

Dr. Joseph received a scholarship to Yale University and eventually went on to become a doctor and fulfill his father’s dreams, which had eventually become his own. However, he still had the dream of being a florist like his father.

“My father never let a child walk out of his shop without giving them a flower,” Dr. Joseph said. “I always wanted to be like my father and become the florist he was.”

Throughout each stage in his life — medical school, residency or running his private practice — Dr. Joseph managed to spend some time working in flower shops. His brother Nate became the florist and ran the family business for more than 40 years.

It was no surprise that when Dr. Joseph began painting six years ago, shortly after retiring, he began with flowers.

“I didn’t realize it until later in life, that those last four or five years of my father’s life were very special to me,” Dr. Joseph said. “I learned a great deal about flowers and operating a business, but even more so, I learned about beauty and life.”

Dr. Joseph was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease shortly after retiring from his medical practice. He developed a new outlook on his illness after a friend suggested painting, which proved to be healing for him and has since become a part of his regular routine.

“Say It With Flowers” features an emphasis on floral art and design and depicts memories of his father and childhood journey with flowers. While the subject matter also includes still lives, portraits and outdoor scenes, the majority of Dr. Joseph’s work connects with flowers and his father.

The community is invited to experience Dr. Joseph’s touching and inspirational exhibition at the open house event on Friday. Admission is free, and wine, cheese and fruits will be served.

Dr. Joseph will donate a portion of proceeds from his art sales to Hospice of Santa Barbara Inc. in memory of his dear friend and former executive director, Gail Rink.

His work will be on display at Mercer Advisors through Sept. 21 and open for viewing during normal business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

— Daniella Elghanayan is a freelance publicist.

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