I became a house painter in New England in 1982. I purchased a panel truck and registered a trade name ("Skip's Painting," of course). The first years were slow over the winter months and with Christmas coming in 1983, I decided to paint portraits of my sister's dogs as gifts. I had no experience or training in art, but an artist friend of mine had given me a 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 myself 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. Painting portraits opened up a world in which I had a lot to learn, and I found out that whatever talent I might have possessed was secondary to problem-solving and teaching myself something about art. After I retired from house painting in 2014, I started painting with watercolors and acrylics as well, and only went back to oils occasionally; water-based paints make it possible to finish a painting in a matter of hours, but the challenges are still there.
I also published a series 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 stories in the book about later years that I think could 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.
The book is available here:30 Stories and A Little Adventureskipvanlenten@gmail.com