Retirement hobbies, paintingAs a child I was given art lessons by my parents and lots of encouragement too. I remember vividly when they took me to see modern art at the museums in New York. When I was about 10 years old, they took me to an art supply store in Greenwich Village and bought me a real artist box with real artist paints. I was very excited and knew they really believed in me.

But as a teenager and young adult, painting was less important. I married young and had children. Later I divorced and became a lawyer. There was little time for hobbies and painting in those in years.

Gradually I began to paint a little, as sort of a Sunday hobby. But my early fantasies of being a painter never entirely left me. 

When I was a child, I knew about Picasso and the abstract expressionists. But women artists were not on the radar screen. Not until the women’s movement in the late sixties did I become aware of the importance of women artists. This was another time that the idea of becoming an artist started to become prominent in my mind.

Retirement hobbies, paintingHowever, when I retired from the business world in the mid nineties, I decided to throw myself into my art. I began by setting up a studio in my home and painting several times a week. I found that following a regular schedule (pretending I was actually going to my “job”) helped keep me going. I did not wait until I was “inspired”, but just went to the studio to do the work.  I think it was Woody Allen who said “showing up is 80% of life”, and I believe that.

I also began going to workshops, both in France and Hawaii, two of my favorite spots. Why not combine fun and work? At these workshops I met many other artists, who also inspired me to keep going. When you are not in a regular work environment, I think it is important to have contact and support from others in your field. 

My favorite workshop is run by Stewart Cubley and is called The Painting Experience. It helped open me up creatively and let my imagination roam free. These workshops have dramatically affected how and why I paint. They have enabled me to stay in the present moment and let the art work develop in a natural and uncontrolled manner and tap into the mystery of the artistic process.

Since I have no plan when I start a painting, the many symbols, such as the plants and insects, tears and blood, animals and snakes, appear spontaneously in my mind and I paint them in. Even the choice of color is spontaneous.  I find I am now able to paint more authentically and feel freer  to express my inner emotions and ideas.

Retirement hobbies, paintingI also loved the workshops in France at the Moulin de Perrot with Tiebout de Reimpre, a well know abstract painter in France. There I learned about design, color, line and abstraction. By experimenting with different styles and techniques, studying with different experts, I was able to develop my own unique way of painting.

My paintings are done in an intuitive manner. I don’t preplan what the painting will look like or contain. I respond to the images in my imagination and mind. This is true of both the figurative and abstract work. I let my energy flow freely and dive into the mystery of my own subconscious. I give up control and let the paint lead the way. I am most concerned with the process, not the product or the outcome. Often I am surprised by what happens. 

Since I threw myself into my art about 18 years ago, I have been amazed at how far I have come, both artistically and commercially.

Retirement hobbies, paintingI had several one person shows in Dallas and Santa Fe, and been in many group shows, as well. I have even been in a couple of magazines and won a few prize competitions along the way. 

My biggest thrill was when I was featured in the Huffington Post with an interview and showcase of my paintings. 

Currently I show at the Modartists gallery in Dallas design district. They represent about 30 artists. I have had a one person show there and participated in several group shows. I feel very appreciative that I am able to show my work and share it with the public.  

I would certainly encourage anyone at any age, if they have the desire, to plunge ahead — sometimes fantasies can become real.