It's Never Too Late to Become an Artist

Onnie's Art was created in the summer of 2020.  It was inspired by the older adults in the classes I led at a local independent living community in 2019, as well as the artistic journey I saw my mother embark on once the quarantine started.  

Back in March, I made a pivot with my team building company, Corporate to Canvas, to offer online painting classes. I opened up a few classes to the public and my mother signed up!

Rather than have me tell you about her amazing artistic progression, I asked her to recount her experience.  It's never too late to become an artist and here's her journey, so far...

"When the pandemic hit, I was bored out of my mind!  I am a social person and not being able to spend time with my friends and family was really taking its toll on me.  I was desperate for a hobby that I could do at home. 

I took Kimball's Paint With Me Online classes and it was a lot more fun than I expected.  When I compared my efforts with the others who were also taking these Zoom classes, mine were not any worse or any better than anyone else's!  That encouraged me to keep going. 

Some of my creations were not something I would frame and hang on a wall but I did improve and that made me feel pretty good!   Here are my first two paintings:

First Painting     Improve Painting


Eventually I found that some types of paintings I was much better at than others.  "Realism" seemed to be my thing. 

My painting of a row boat was the first one that made me realize I could do this fairly well!!  My husband liked it so much that he did frame it and it is hanging in our dining room!  I felt like a million bucks!! 

Boat Painting


I did a few more Paint With Me Online paintings then I branched off into doing some projects on my own....with Kimball's help on Zoom now and then. 

Instead of trying to work from another painting, I tried working from a photograph.  This was MUCH harder and I got frustrated many times.  I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew.  This first one was a photo of the lighthouse that can be seen from our deck. The lighthouse itself was hard but the water really had me flummoxed!

With Kimball's encouragement and MANY layers of paint, it actually came out reasonably well.  I still have a lot to learn about perspective but mind you, I was a scratch beginner only a couple of month's before! 

Light house paining

As my first try at working from a photo, I was not ready to frame this one but I felt I could do better next time using what I had learned from this beginning effort. 

Kimball had more faith in my work than I did and talked me into participating in a Pet Portrait contest that Trekell Art Supplies was having, but I had never painted an animal!  LOL! 

However, I have been a horse person most of my life so I had my granddaughter show me her favorite horse at the stables where she takes riding lessons. She adores "Sunny" who is is a sweet, elderly thoroughbred.  I took numerous photos of him with my phone and set to work. Here's the photo I worked from:

Chestnut Horse Sunny

The horse's head was not too hard for me as I know all of the shapes and musculature in horses.  I was determined to get his kind eye just right and it took several tries but finally it really looked like "Sunny"! 

I struggled with painting his shoulder and actually had to go back to the stables and take a few more photos so I could get the shading right.  I originally was going to do a landscape background but quickly discovered it was going to 1) take me too long as the contest ended in less than a month at this point and 2) Landscaping is HARD!!!  So I decided to just do a textured green background which complimented his bright chestnut color.  It came out GREAT!! 

Horse Painting of Sunny


I am still blown away that I actually created this painting!!  I emailed it to a bunch of my friends and posted it on Facebook.  They all LOVED it and couldn't believe I had done that!!  I was so proud!! 

One of my friends actually asked me if I would paint her draft horse, Elvis! So that is the project I am working on now. 

He is a black horse but I learned quickly that black horses are not really black but many shades of dark gray with black shadows.  I am about 2/3rds done with him but the background is driving me nuts!  Once again, after numerous layers of paint, I think I know what direction I need to go in to make it work.  It gives me a boost of confidence when I reach these conclusions and am able to execute them!  I hope my friend likes my results. 

I also thought I would try some Onnie's Art boxes and got the first one about a week ago.  They are more relaxing to do than trying to paint realism and do not require as much of a time commitment. 

I did the first one, a postcard using colored pencils and it came out great!  I'd never used colored pencils before so the link provided to the tutorials on how to do them was really helpful! 

As soon as I get Elvis finished up, I plan to do several more postcards.  So here I am, in just a few months going from a frazzled shut-in to having a new hobby as an artist!  I feel great about it! 

At first, I didn't think I could really do art, but I gave it a try anyway.  As with most things in life, I found that sticking with it and practicing helped me find my niche and now I truly enjoy creating art that I alone have made!  It's a great feeling!" 


- Lynda Robeson



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