PORTLAND - An art show Wednesday in Portland featured the work of people who might have only recently discovered a talent for painting.

That discovery is helping them deal with a devastating diagnosis.

Ray Waltz said it takes all of concentration but the soothing stroke of a pencil helps him find focus while living with Alzheimer s.

I go into the kitchen and I forget what I went in there for, but I ve learned to calm myself, he said.

Some of that calm has come in creating his colorful works. And he's found camaraderie as he shares a table with artists who are all in the early stages of the disease.

It's just nice to have friends, he said.

With Alzheimer's often they've forgotten they didn't know how, so they just come in and they're open. That filter is down, said Memories in the Making coordinator Margaret Hartsook. The program just really highlights the positive things they still have left.

The class called Memories in the Making takes place at the office of the Alzheimer's Association in Portland. The artists gather once a week for an hour and a half.

Once a year some of the art is auctioned to raise money for the association. And Waltz has learned that his signed paintings make great gifts.

It's fun to show people what I've been doing, he said.

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