Skip Van Lenten
Stories and Paintings

I originally created this site for paintings, but since I have so many stories about the days before cell phones, computers, and electronic devices, I added a Stories page and started uploading them in April 2023. They're short, true, and personal. 

My interest in painting began with a need for gifts and came about as a necessity, rather than a choice. It proved to be more than that. I try to spend as much time as I can now, painting portraits and enjoying the slow pace of retirement.

One of my favorite watercolors, "The Neighbor's House." A few samples of other paintings and drawings can be found on the pages that follow the stories. 

First Car

They don't make them like they used to.

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The Radio

Electronics in the 50's.

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The Parade

When you've been there, you never forget.

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A Little Adventure

What started out as a winter hike in Vermont turned out to be a way of looking at life.

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The Trade

A connection to history.

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Welcome Home

When it matters most.

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Little Big Books

My first experience as a young reader.

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I started painting houses in New England in 1982. I purchased a panel truck, registered a trade name, and didn't retire until 35 years later. It was a way to earn a living, but it also gave me the freedom to make my own way through life.

The first years were slow, and with Christmas coming in 1983 I decided to try to paint portraits of my sister's dogs as gifts. I had no experience or training in art, but an artist friend had given me a cigar box full of oil paints, a handful of brushes, and several canvas panels. I drew very detailed sketches of each of the dogs from photos I had taken and more or less filled them in from top to bottom. The paintings came out okay, but what surprised me the most was how much I enjoyed doing them. They opened up the world of art to me, and I quickly discovered that I had a lot to learn. Whatever talent I possessed was secondary to problem-solving and teaching myself. After I retired from house painting, I started experimenting with watercolors and acrylics. The water-based paints make it possible to finish a painting in a matter of hours or days, but oils are still my first love, and the most challenging medium of the three.

I also published a book of short stories on Amazon about growing up in northern New Jersey during the 50's and 60's when it could still be considered a rural area. Seniors especially will be able to relate to the days when there were dirt roads, farms, and woods to play in, but there are other stories in the book about later years that I think might appeal to any age. There is a commonality to our lives that resonates with all of us, and I hope I have captured that feeling through some of the stories in this memoir.

Selected stories are featured here on the Stories page, and the book is available here:

30 Stories and A Little Adventure 

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