Acrylic, 16 x 20 on canvas
In the gardening world, there’s a phenomenon known as “second flush.” This has nothing to do with anything that happens in the bathroom, but involves a second round of blooms on flowers, shrubs and trees.
I thought of this today as I considered the paintings that surround me and are encroaching farther and farther into the limited space of my little apartment.
I’m not a kid. I have grandchildren your age. I have a couple of careers under my belt and a few additional “odd jobs” under there as well. Painting is perhaps the last dance for this old dame, but painting it is, along with a sprinkle of teaching.
In order to think more fully about beginning an art career this late in life, I went to trusty Google to learn more about late starts. What I found was not the least bit encouraging because the articles about artists – or anybody else – starting “late” focused on individuals ranging from 28 to 40 years.
I’m so far out of that ballpark, I can’t see home plate.
So I Googled “starting after 70.” My search yielded nothing but information about Social Security and when to start drawing on my IRA (if I had one) and topics more medically inclined.
I’m reminded of Tom Lehrer’s great line from one of his comedy albums: “It is a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he’d been dead for two years.” I can only imagine how many great artists were long dead by the time they were my age.
From my view, it’s never too late to start painting or anything else you’re passionate about. I don’t subscribe to the “do what you love and the money will follow” line of thinking, although money is a terrific fringe benefit. It’s the “follow your bliss” line that appeals to me more.
The painters before me followed their bliss. Theirs is not my bliss. But I’m grateful they led the way. I don’t expect to see my work in big, expensive books of art or museums, but that’s okay.
Painting now is a gift to myself. Think about the gifts you can give yourself. We deserve them at any age.
Writer E.L. Doctorow once wrote: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night: you can never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
I know about writing novels. Now, I’m following the headlights with my painting.