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Why Life After 60 is the Perfect Time to Start Painting

By Malcolm Dewey October 20, 2016 Lifestyle

A few years ago I was looking after a gallery exhibition. Sometimes artists have to share this duty for joint exhibitions and this was my turn.

During a quiet moment on a Saturday morning I noticed a man stop outside the open gallery doors and look in. He then declared in a loud and smug voice, “You guys must really be suffering these days!” He then turned around and walked off.

Wow! I was stunned. But after a while I realized how lucky I was. Not only was I surrounded by beautiful art, but I could be an artist, too. Imagine being so cynical that you feel compelled to make snide remarks like that poor fellow?

Making a Start with Your Passion for Painting

There are many frustrated artists working the daily nine-to-five grind who cannot wait to retire so that they can paint full-time. Many do follow through with this desire and discover the enormous benefits of creative work.

I regularly meet people like this in my town or online and they are thrilled to be painting. Often someone says “I wish I had started painting sooner.” Hindsight is perfect vision I guess. The main thing is that they are painting now.

If you are putting off painting or some other creative pursuit for that day when you officially retire maybe you should not wait any longer. Make a start now. You will not regret it.

But time is full of other more important things. There is always time even if it means making a few changes to old habits. Perhaps this is a good moment to mention my own experience with painting.

Dune Light
Dune Light

One Painter’s Experience

In a previous article I mentioned that I shelved my plan to go into an art career after high school. Instead I studied law. After about twenty years of legal practice with painting on the side I decided to take the leap. I would paint full-time.

I wish it were that simple. The leap was more like a crawl as I grappled with the angst and practical issues of unwinding the ties that bound me so tightly. Fortunately, my wife supported the idea so I only had my own doubts to conquer.

The saving grace for me was that I got stuck into painting well before I retired from legal practice. I wanted to hit the ground running. This meant plenty of study, painting practice and putting my work out for display. My early painting was more oriented to graphic and commercial illustration. Now I wanted to paint in an impressionist style as my tastes had changed over the years.

Gentle Sunset
Gentle Sunset

Still, my early paintings were poor and required a lot of work. My painting skills had gone rusty. When I looked back at the time I had squandered it made me more determined not to waste any more of this precious resource. The result is that I now have an early retirement situation where I work full-time as an artist. It is a New Millennium trend apparently, but I love it.

How to Find More Time to Start Painting

Of course you do not need to take risks with your livelihood to take up painting. But if you have a passion for art then begin now. You will be glad you did. There are many time wasting activities that we can all shake off. Television was mine. Cutting the cable gave me hours of extra time to devote to painting. Looking for ways to find more time to paint? Here is a little Slideshare I prepared on this topic.

If you have retired, then time for painting should not be a problem right? Would you believe how busy retired people are these days! Time management for active retirees is just as important. So too is prioritizing activities that are important for the spirit. It just so happens that painting is a wonderful way to relax, socialize or get away from the noise and contemplate life. It is a form of meditation too where you can reach a true state of calmness. Try it for yourself.

Morning Walk
Morning Walk

It’s OK to Make Mistakes

A final word on getting started. Many people feel nervous about creating art. Especially when it is something totally new to them later in life. Fear about looking silly or producing paintings that are not showpieces creates real anxiety. This is normal, in my opinion, as you are challenging your comfort zone.

But remember that this is a healthy thing to do for yourself. Plus, it is not a crime to mess up a painting. I do it plenty of times! There are many resources available to help you make a confident start. I also have a series of courses for beginners, from free to premium depending on your needs.

Are you ready to start painting? I hope that you are motivated to take up painting or to get back to your studio. Let us know how you are getting along, hurdles that you may be facing and any tips on finding time to paint more.

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The Author

Malcolm Dewey is a professional artist and writer. He is passionate about painting in oils and watercolor. Malcolm loves landscape painting. He teaches painting to artists of all levels. Working online on his website and in personal lessons Malcolm helps other artists paint better with structured painting lessons. His Facebook page can be found here.

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