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Late Bloomer

When I was ten years old, I took oil painting classes at a little gallery in Waldwick, New Jersey, right up until my parents deemed that the lessons were too costly and that it was affecting my grades (I wanted to paint - not do homework!!!) I didn’t do much more “arting” throughout my life due to my extreme inner critic telling myself I wasn’t any good. I would occasionally draw or paint and the demon inside usually stopped me dead in my tracks.

Fast forward to my late 50’s, when I somehow quelled the demon critic's voice and decided that I was, indeed, an artist in my heart and that I absolutely needed to create. So that’s what I did. Unschooled and pretty ignorant, I began painting little animal and people portraits for a while, then decided to go bigger and abstract.

So here I am, in my mid-sixties. I find myself in a dream job as development director for a very cool nonprofit music venue here in Minneapolis and I try to balance life with creating a couple of paintings every week. Each year I travel to Grand Marais, MN on the north shore of Lake Superior, to attend a week-long abstract painting workshop at the Art Colony up there. It’s my sacred retreat.

My approach to abstract art-making is emotional and intuitive. I don’t often have a plan when I start on a new piece; I pick some colors I want to work with and then just let loose on the canvas. Lately I’ve been trying different methods to ensure I’m not doing the same painting over and over. I’m finding that process challenging at times when I go out of my comfort zone to try something new.

That demon inner critic? Oh it’s still in there with its scathing opinions - only I’ve decided that I’m the one in control.

Patti Walsh


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