My most popular abstract

by Don Shaw
(Kimberly WI United States )

My most popular abstract

My most popular abstract

I had turned 82 in January of 2017. In August, my wife told me that the hospital where she volunteered was offering a new service. That new service was a courtesy cart for patients that have difficulty walking long distances and The Hospital Volunteer Services needed drivers. Maybe this was something I would enjoy doing, she said.


I did enjoy it. All the walls were filled with art of all types. When I didn’t have any passengers, I would stop and look at the paintings. Like most other people who had never painted, I naïvely thought I could do that. How hard could that be. After all I was a published cartoonist and all I would have to do is draw what I wanted to paint and then fill it in. In my mind, It was as simple as paint by number.

I went to the craft store and bought canvases, brushes and paint. It took about a half a day for me to discover that I had no talent for painting whatsoever. Now what do I do? I turned to YouTube. Here I found that there were artists who would be willing to teach you anything you needed to know.

Here was the method that I chose to learn how to paint. I would start a painting and paint until I got stuck. If I wanted to paint a tree or clouds, for example, I go to YouTube and look up how to paint them. I also use pictures from Google as samples of pictures that I want to use for my painting. In some cases, I will use as many as five different pictures that contain what I’m looking for. (I do not recommend this method at all)

By doing it this way I was missing some of the very fundamental things that I should know to even get started. Such things as blocking in and color theory. In a nutshell, I didn’t know how to plan my painting before I started to paint. My method worked to some degree for me. However, I would never advise anyone to adopt this method.

By the end of September, I had a painting that I liked. And what’s better, my wife also liked it. She never said so when I started but I don’t think she had much confidence in me learning to paint. Now when she introduces me to someone, she will tell them that I’m an artist. This also explains all the paintings on display in our home.

I know that I probably only know 1/100th of what I need to know to become an even so-so painter. The main thing is I’m having a good time doing what I’m doing. I enjoy the painting and the learning. That’s a great combination for someone that is 85 years old.

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