"When we use the gifts God gave us, we can feel His pleasure". C. Tom Hartman

Painting has always been a passion for me - even though I have had no formal training in it. You might say it is a gift, and in my life it has been "a gift twice given." My story is an unusual one - for you see, my ability to paint was once lost to me (for nearly 14 years) when Multiple Sclerosis interrupted my life. However, in 2008, a miracle of technology restored my life again and gave me a second chance to paint. C. Tom and Lois Hartman, 2010

But, thankfully, the miracle of technology impacted my life because of a pilot program called The MS Technology Collaborative who, through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society MidAtlantic Chapter, The North Carolina Assistive Technology Program, and the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services gave me hands-free input devices that allow me to use the same programs the rest of the world uses.

I have literally been reborn and reconnected with my life! I wake up every morning with new inspiration and goals that I now can accomplish.

I am currently using a MacBook Pro along with a combination HeadMouse and Keystrokes which together work just like a computer mouse. With the addition of an adaptive Sip/Puff switch, I can click and drag with a tube held in my mouth to draw and paint on the computer. An off-the-shelf art software program, ArtRage Deluxe, provides me the virtual tools to create the artwork I once did with brushes and paint.tom with mac

Painting for my own enjoyment is unbelievably entertaining in itself, but painting for a larger purpose is so much more fulfilling. The volunteer artwork that I have been able to contribute to various projects for the MS Society and other community groups has been more rewarding to me than anyone can imagine. It has given me the opportunity to offer, not only my art, but my story that others need to hear. This web site is an example of another gift to me that keeps on giving! It is a tool that I am using to share my experience with anyone else who is living with a disability. The Karpata Group has made this web site possible.

I was born on August 7, 1942 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in the heart of the PA Dutch Country near Hershey, where you could always smell the chocolate! Lois and I met as teenagers in church and were later married in 1962. Two sons followed, Thomas and Andrew, who are now all grown up and who blessed us with 5 wonderful grandchildren: Landon, Faren, Ryan, Rae, and Mallory.Tom Painting

Also during these years, photography played a large part in my creative interests, and Lois and I took every opportunity to get out and photograph nature - sometimes on long drives in the mountains, other times just short visits to local gardens. Our move to Charlotte in 1981 gave us new territory to explore. We did not know it then, but this collection was to become our "treasures" when MS changed our lives.

Tom & Lois at Winghaven
Photographer Tom & Lois at Winghaven