Seabrook resident Lou Rivera shows some of his artwork at a local art show

Lou Rivera draws inspiration from his travels and the world around him, but his digital medium sets him apart from most painters his age.

Rivera uses an Apple iPad Mini and an app called SketchBook to create digital artwork he can easily take on the go, which fits his jetsetter lifestyle well. He and his wife, Margot, travel frequently to destinations like Germany, France, Russia, Malaysia, Cuba, and Costa Rica among others from their home at Seabrook a developed and managed Erickson Living senior living community situated on a scenic 98-acre campus in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

Using Technology in Art

While the digital technique is completely different—he uses his finger or sometimes a stylist— Rivera taps into his watercolor training to guide his creativity. Rivera began painting watercolors nearly 20 years ago as a creative outlet in retirement from the Navy. While he still dabbles in traditional watercolors, he turned his focus to the digital medium about six years ago.

“It’s a very different process. There are a lot of subtleties in watercolor that I can’t quite get in digital, but you can achieve some very dramatic effects,” he says.

With watercolors, he says, better tools equal better results. But with digital apps, he’s able to create award-winning artwork for the cost of the app—just a few dollars—like his piece Blue Winter, which won first place in the Seniors category for pro digital imagery in the state of New Jersey.

Rivera has twice won first place prizes for his digital art at the Monmouth County Seniors Art Show, in Manalapan, within the last three years. And within the past few months, he sold several pieces locally—one at Art Alliance in Red Bank, two at Brielle Public Library in Brielle Township, and two at Seabrook to neighbors during the annual resident art exhibit.

Other pieces have received recognition, like Cactus, which was accepted into a show juried by a curator from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Dream Flounder sold at a gallery in Red Bank.

Seabrook’s Commitment to Technology

“Rivera is a perfect example of how our residents are not only utilizing technology but finding new and exciting ways to use it and getting recognized for that creativity,” says Senior Resident Services Manager Michelle Aguilar.

“Having outstanding technology resources on campus is an essential part of our residents’ vibrant and engaged lifestyle,” said Aguilar.

While Rivera represents about two-thirds of his neighbors who are tech savvy, some of his neighbors are new to technology. Fortunately, Seabrook caters to both.

Seabrook provides free IT support to residents; they can call or email Erickson Living’s support desk for free telephone computer support, as well as request in-apartment support for a nominal fee. Computerworld has selected Erickson Living as “Best Places to Work in Information Technology” for the past nine years, which reflects the degree of company staff expertise in developing systems and resources that support resident use of technology.

MyErickson APP Connects Residents

Seabrook launched the MyErickson app a few years ago, which gives residents access to meal balances, menus, activity schedules, and the resident directory from their device of choice. More traditional neighbors can find information on announcements in their mail cubbies and through the community TV channel. Next year, MyErickson app is being integrated with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant so those on campus can get community information via voice command.

“Erickson has been a leader in providing technology resources for residents for more than ten years,” says Erickson Living’s Chief Information Officer Hans Keller. “Our residents have the entire digital spectrum at their fingertips, and we can meet them wherever they are on that journey.”