I was born in 1955, so yes, I’m officially an old coot. I began painting at age sixteen and painted a lot. At age 18, I went to Ringling School of Art with hopes of becoming a commercial artist, but after the first year, I became frustrated at my lack of talent (not to mention, too many distractions of the mid 70s;) and put aside my professional aspirations. I continued painting until my mid twenties, but grew more frustrated. I knew I had some modest talent, but not enough to make a living at it. In the midst of trying to raise a family and a new career, I gave it up entirely.
At age 63, my kids my were grown and I retired from conventional careerdom. By pure coincidence, I ran across a quote by Kurt Vonnegut. It inspired me, and since I was growing bored, I decided to pick up my brushes again, just for the fun it. I had no aspirations to make a living at it or to become famous. I just decided to take Vonnegut’s advice. It has been a rewarding experience. Now I paint every day.
“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
— Kurt Vonnegut