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Meet Maxey and His Dog Layla

Maxey Sanderson has lived at The Barclay of SouthPark, a luxury rental senior living community in Charlotte, North Carolina, for less than a year. In that short amount of time, he’s already discovered a talent and interest he’d never before known he had.
His newfound passion is for painting watercolors.

Sanderson’s interest in painting began shortly after moving into the retirement community in September 2022. He’d recently lost his wife and was looking for ways to cope with his grief.

“One of the guys I’d met at The Barclay had also lost his wife. He said, ‘I don’t know what to tell you to do. But I can tell you what has worked for me is to be around people as much as possible.’”

Those words inspired Sanderson to take part in some of the wide range of activities that The Barclay offers its residents. This includes watercolor classes.

Creative Inspiration

Sanderson, 78, who had worked during his career in finance and financial software. He had no idea that he had a knack for creativity.
“I’d never had the time to play. Now I have the opportunity to do that,” Sanderson says.
During their second art class, the teacher asked the students to bring a photograph to recreate on canvas. Sanderson brought a picture of Layla, his seven-year-old pet Shih Tzu. He planned to create a watercolor to put on his annual Christmas card.
The painting of his beloved dog drew the admiration of others, and soon Sanderson was being asked to paint the pets of other residents and family members.

“The people I eat with; they decided they wanted a picture of their dogs.” Sanderson notes that many residents at The Barclay have dogs.
He says the key to painting a good picture of an animal is to capture the look in their eyes.
“The eyes typically show the expression,” he says. “You want to capture the expression; the love.”
Sanderson has gone on also to paint watercolors of the dogs owned by his two grown sons and a painting of The Barclay building.
He’s also been creating greeting cards featuring flowers, birds and more.
“I paint whatever strikes my fancy,” he says. “It’s better than watching TV.”

Sanderson usually paints in the community’s art room, which is open 24/7. There are also times set aside when residents paint together using materials supplied by The Barclay.
“We all go down to work together. But you can pretty much go any time you want,” he says.
Sanderson enjoys doing watercolors because it allows him to express himself.
“I like the challenge of learning and trying something new,” he says. “It’s neat to take a piece of plain white paper and turn it into something different.”

A group of residents wanted to arrange for the art teacher to hold classes more frequently. The Barclay was happy to oblige.
“If a group wants to do something, The Barclay can usually find a way to provide it,” he says.
In addition to participating in art classes, Sanderson goes to exercise classes and attends guest lectures featuring scholars from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He also takes advantage of field trips during which residents have attended concerts by The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the opera, and theatre productions.

Life Long Learning

“We’re life-long learners,” says Sanderson of himself and other residents. “That’s what makes it fun.”
Interest in Sanderson’s artwork is growing. When he sold his previous home, the buyers included in their contract the requirement that he paint a watercolor of the house for them. He also was recently asked to create a painting to grace the cover of a pamphlet celebrating a graduation at his church.

Staying engaged and interested in the world around him has helped Sanderson deal with the losses of loved ones. it helps to maintain a positive outlook for the future.
“Painting is something that occupies my mind,” he says. “It gives me a chance to be creative.”
And having a lovely watercolor of Layla on the cover of a greeting card enables Sanderson to send the positive vibes he’s found at The Barclay out into the world.

The Barclay at SouthPark

The Barclay at SouthPark is a Life Plan Community located on a picturesque campus in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is named as one of “America’s 100 Best Places to Live” by ideal-LIVING Magazine. Also ranked as one of the “best places to retire in North Carolina” by U.S. News & World Report.
The Barclay is conveniently located in the heart of the SouthPark neighborhood, on a campus where urban meets suburban.

The Barclay offers independent living that supports a vibrant lifestyle for active seniors. Briar Creek Health Center, located onsite, offers assisted living, memory support, respite care, Medicare-certified short-term rehabilitation, and skilled nursing. Providing a complete continuum of care. The Barclay at SouthPark is owned and operated by Liberty Senior Living, LLC, a division of Liberty Healthcare Management. This division specializes in senior living and retirement communities. To learn more about The Barclay at SouthPark, visit To learn more about Liberty Senior Living and the communities they offer, please visit

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