My Retirement Stories

I never took any art classes growing up. Wait, I remember one class in high school where the teacher had us copy a painting of Nefertiti. Art was not part of parochial school education in the 50s and 60s, although the Humanities program in my Senior year did include several class trips to museums in New York City.

Discovering Acrylic Painting

I have only painted using acrylic paints, and I credit my dear friend Becky Steele with helping me get started. In an earlier post,, I introduced you to Becky and other artists who have become friends and an inspiration to me. Becky, in particular, took me under her wing, taught me so much, and is always there when I need a kick in the apron! She has recommended other abstract artists to follow, many offering free lessons on YouTube or social media.

Bob Burridge is one that I thoroughly enjoy, and I have watched many of his video lessons. I love how Bob adds people to his abstract paintings. He uses a round brush to paint a Carrot! I tried it, and darn if it doesn’t work! Now, this was an early painting of mine and not my best work, but don’t those carrots look like people?

When I discovered Louise Fletcher, I found her teaching style very helpful. She doesn’t try to teach you to paint anything in particular; she instead focuses on teaching you to be you and paint. She often challenges us to make a mess or paint an ugly painting, and sometimes the results are rather lovely (see, I am already talking like a Brit!). The mess I created here on the left I call Hurricane Lee, which thankfully did not visit Florida.

Find Your Joy 2023

Today, I began my first paid online art course, taught by Louise Fletcher, that will last 12 weeks! I look forward to learning who I might become as an artist. Instead of writing a Memoir, it dawned on me this morning that I would prefer to paint my memories. I want to tell stories that express the feelings, the fears, the wonder, and the discoveries that mean something to me. We are the sum of our experiences; I have had a few at almost 76 years old. Over the next three months, I plan to spend many hours in my studio making a mess!

Lessons #1 – DO NOT TRY

During week one, Lesson #1, at first, was frustrating. Despite the instructions, I couldn’t help but want to make a nice painting. The instructions were clear – DO NOT TRY! I repeated the assignment a few times and started to get looser. Here’s what that looked like –

I did let loose without trying to create anything in particular. For the first one on the left, I let color fly while listening to Jon Batiste’s Freedom. We could take our time for the second one on the right but use the same colors. I actually see someone struggling for Freedom in the one on the right.

Lesson #2 – CHOOSING

Before starting Lesson #2, I began to think about what I wanted to accomplish and where I hoped to go with my art. Choosing taught us always to choose what we like, whether marks, colors, or tools. At this stage, we’re learning to find our own style and not to try copying anyone else. I did the first assignment in this lesson using acrylics and the second using acrylic inks. I had much more fun this week and love painting with inks. See what you think –

Pulling off the tape to see what might appear is really fun. I absolutely love the results for the one on the right, painted with inks. Here is one in particular that I might frame –

Flo making a run for it!
(Flo is my Flamingo)

If you’d like to see more of my art currently for sale, visit my website Art by KSB, or if you live in the Florida Keys, visit Shady Palm Gallery in Marathon.

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