Never too late


Dear Artist,

Yesterday, Tammy Callens of Jackson Hole, Wyoming wrote, “I’m suddenly 47 years old. It began to panic me that I’m too old to have a real career. With husband, children and other obligations, I wondered about all the young talent out there. Now I have recently enjoyed a sudden rise in sales due to steady work-habits and trying to make a bigger noise. Fine Art Connoisseur chose me as one to watch, and the local paper featured my story. I’m thinking, maybe it’s never too late. Maybe we all have different times to rise up. It’s humbling to suddenly have attention. What are your thoughts?”


“The Traveler”
oil painting, 12 x 9 inches
by Tammy Callens

Thanks, Tammy. The first thing I did when I read your note was to go take a look at your work. There was the answer. It’s good work. Maybe it was previously hidden under a bushel, or maybe it took you a while to get good. Goodness knows, many folks take 47 years to get as good as you. Many take longer than that to get accepted. Look at Grandma Moses. She was in her seventies before she quit embroidery and picked up a brush.

It’s never too late to get good, and it’s never too late to get accepted. They go hand in hand.

Every day I get emails and requests from promoters offering marketing counsel for artists. Some say things like, “It’s not the art, it’s all in the promotion.” These folks, who often come from business backgrounds and don’t know much about art or how the gallery system works, offer to guide artists to success in galleries and online. As noble as their motivations may be, these promoters are mostly off base.


“Creekside Adventures”
oil painting, 24 x 48 inches
by Tammy Callens

Folks like Tammy succeed because they are trying new things and expanding their repertoire. In her case that includes counter-light, edge-lighting, atmospheric effects, sophisticated colour, challenging techniques, odd-ball compositions, unusual juxtapositions, aerial perspective, shimmer, symmetry, sentiment, sunlight-eating-out-detail and attention to surface quality.

Folks like Tammy are also succeeding by subtly and tastefully letting people know their work is regularly being made and available.


“Snow Trees”
oil painting, 48 x 24 inches
by Tammy Callens

Best regards,


PS: “I don’t advise anyone to take up painting as a business proposition, unless they really have talent. But I will say that I have did remarkable for one of my years.” (Grandma Moses 1860-1961)

Esoterica: As the baby boomers come on stream and are demanding decent heath care, planning to live past the century mark, I see nothing but a sea of painters ahead. Given reasonable health, copious shots of curiosity, humility, character, studiousness, ego and workmanlike habits, folks will be putting it together. Fear not the young kid; your main competition may just be the seasoned, passionate and competent geriatric next door.


Tammy Callens art


oil painting
12 x 9 inches


“The Root Shed”
oil painting
16 x 12 inches


“Salad Days”
oil painting
36 x 24 inches


“Forgotten Moments”
oil painting
36 x 24 inches








“Island Lake”
oil painting9 x 12 inches


“Sisters on Holiday”
oil painting
9 x 12 inches


“Safe Passage”
oil painting
12 x 16 inches


“Home Again”
oil painting
24 x 18 inches







The present moment
by Carol Mayne, Leucadia, CA, USA


“Curly Lotus”
original painting
by Carol Mayne

When I was in my 30’s, I thought I should have been a really successful artist by then. Really? When I was in my 40’s I thought I should have been a better artist by then. Really? When I was in my 50’s I thought I should have worked harder in my 20’s to get more skills. Really? Now that I’m 60, I am grateful for everyday I can do whatever I can, realizing I really wasn’t shooting for ‘museum status’ as an artistic quest, but rather a balanced life, full of many experiences. My sanity was saved through these decades by this quotation, placed over my easel, that snapped me back to the present moment, again and again:

“There is no such hour on the time-piece of Fate as, ‘Too Late.’ ”


Steady work habits
by Casey Craig, Wimberley, TX, USA


“Indigo evening”
mixed media
by Casey Craig

Kudos to Tammy for making her family a priority and yet still pursuing her art. I too, have to manage my artistic pursuits around two children, a husband and now a puppy (why didn’t I remember how much work is involved in raising a pup?). Through the years of raising my boys, I have managed to keep working on my art, but it is often very challenging and being organized is essential. It is a common story for many artists that once the children reach school age, we see a surge of artistic energy to make up for all the time spent raising families. You have to ask yourself, if you would have preferred to farm your kids out or not had a family so that you could accomplish more in your art career. You can’t be the hands on wife and mother (or husband and father) and log endless hours in front of the easel. For me, the answer is easy, my family is worth the time I’ve given them. I’m pretty sure most people in this situation feel the same. No, it’s never too late and congratulations to Tammy on her success and more importantly her devotion to “steady work habits.”

There are 2 comments for Steady work habits by Casey Craig

From: Mary Carnahan — Dec 10, 2009

What a magical painting. I like the dimensional effect with all that contrast at the top of the tree.

From: Anonymous — Dec 11, 2009

I too did my art on the side while raising children (six of them plus a few fosters)……now I am happy to pursue things with more time………and YES, I am not as far along as I wish I were, but all thoe years of life experience have given me much more to work with. My favorite quote, “One can do all things well…just not all well at the same time.”


How do I get started?
by Kathleen Bennett, Wilmington, MA, USA


“Brilliant sunset”
oil painting
by Kathleen Bennett

I am a 43 year old, single mother of two teens with a full time career and have recently re-discovered my love for oil painting. I agree that it is never too late! Although I hardly have much time, over the past year or two I have been able to reach a point where I feel ready to put my art work outside the four walls of my home. Does anybody have any suggestions as to how I may start? I joined an art association this summer and have volunteered. I also joined a plein air group to improve my skills and to make new friends and network.

How does a “new” artist jump into the art world? My plans for the winter are to keep painting and to enter as many shows as possible next year. Shall I focus on smaller sized pieces with low prices? Should I approach galleries yet if I only have about 6 solid consistent styles of work? How many pieces should I have under my belt before I step out into the art marketing world? Do you have suggestions for marketing my work at this early stage?

There are 4 comments for How do I get started? by Kathleen Bennett

From: Anonymous — Dec 11, 2009

6 solid consistent styles? If you’re going to approach galleries, you’d be better off with one.

From: Darla — Dec 11, 2009

Sounds to me like you’re doing exactly what you should be doing — working on your art, (your style will show itself eventually), entering shows, joining with other artists, and asking for advice from other artists. I agree that if you’re going to galleries, you need to show them your best style instead of 6 different ones. Your local art association will know about the opportunities available near you.

From: Brigitte Nowak — Dec 11, 2009

Most art associations have at least a couple of shows a year – participate! If you have had positive comments on your work from impartial sources, consider entering local or regional juried exhibitions. This builds some credibility into your “cv”.

Six “styles”: an artistic style isn’t something you put on like a new sweater, it should come from an innate affinity with your methods and materials. If you meant six paintings, paint another six and then cull, and then do that again. Until you have a dozen or more works that you think are wonderful, it is probably premature to approach galleries. In the meantime, lots of local churches, restaurants and libraries have exhibition venues: consider those.

From: Kathleen — Dec 12, 2009

Thank you for your comments! I meant that I have six paintings of one consistent style. It has taken me some time to create this style but I feel it is consistent. I apologize for the confusion!


Old works returning to gallery
by M. E Whitehill


original painting
by M. E Whitehill

Grandma Moses’s late start at 70 was always both an inspiration to paint and an excuse to postpone the attempt. I finally began at 60 what I had been dreaming of my whole life. Nothing but lack of confidence held me back. In the beginning I practically gave the work away and did not keep photographs or records. At last, thirty years later, I opened my own gallery and many owners of the early paintings have visited. I was amazed to discover that those early attempts were much better than I thought. I have also met several women who felt they were too old to begin and have been inspired to try.


An inspiration
by Caroline Simmill, Morayshire, Scotland


“Sailing Moray Firth”
watercolour painting
by Caroline Simmill

I just had to write and tell you how much I have enjoyed viewing the paintings of Tammy Callens. She is one of
the best artists I have seen and she most certainly stands out from the crowd. The body of work is very skilled and there are landscapes and figurative works of an impressive standard. Age doesn’t come into it, she is still very young at 47 years old and has worked very hard to reach the standard of work we are seeing here today. I was so impressed with her paintings that I had to email her and tell her immediately how wonderful her work is. She is also very beautiful but I think even if she was much older and plain in looks she would still sell very well. It is the work that speaks for itself. What an inspiration she is, I must get in my studio and work even harder!

There is 1 comment for An inspiration by Caroline Simmill

From: jeannine — Dec 11, 2009

I agree, her work is stunning!!!


Just keep climbing
by Dena Crain, Kenya


“Heart’s Aflutter”
mixed media
by Dena Crain

I was 50 before I could acknowledge that I was an artist, even though other people had been telling me that for a very long time. Now, at 60, I am an online and international quilt design teacher with little time for making art, but with very bright prospects for continued success, including certification as a qualified quilt judge. The important point is that it is NEVER too late to enjoy success in your occupation or avocation. Life is like a mountain we climb a little every day, with its peak shrouded in cloud so we cannot see how close we are to reaching the top. Just keep climbing! You’ve come a long way already, but there’s always a little higher you can go. And be sure to enjoy the view along the way!


European vs. American art differences
by Melinda Collins, Redwood City, CA, USA


“Early Autumn in Portola Valley”
oil painting
by Melinda Collins

I’ve noticed a distinct difference in what is lauded in the U.S. as being the finest art and what is exciting in other places. American art (of the illustrative representational styles as opposed to conceptual art) tends to be recognized as “higher” art when it is more refined painterly realism, of landscapes and even rather sentimentalized figure work and florals. The best galleries in France and England tend to show more stylized, fresh imagery that relies less on its rendered realism and more on expressive, personalized form and color. In other words, less conservative and more exploratory.

I know this is something of a generalization, because both continents produce many types of art, but on the whole I do find Europeans produce and respond to a more stylized type of representation than Americans. This has certainly been true for me in terms of my sales. I am just wondering why this seems to be the case and whether anyone else has noticed this. On the whole, Americans seem more conservative in both social and political values, and perhaps this contributes to the differences in art.

There are 2 comments for European vs. American art differences by Melinda Collins

From: Leah — Dec 11, 2009

When I moved to Canada from Europe I was shocked that when asked by your neighbours which church you go to, you better have an answer. “If” is not even considered. You are right, average North Americans are very consrevative. I often hear expression “European” used as a synonim to “weird”. It’s just a fact to be accepted if you decide to live here. I would also like to hear thoughts why people think this might be.

From: Liz Reday — Dec 15, 2009

If you go to contemporary galleries you might see something different than if you go to a gallery showing landscape, plein air or western art. The market is funny everywhere! In the U.S. you can always find a collector who likes painting to be like a photo, the more detail the better. That’s O.K. The market for contemporary is much smaller, but much more money is involved. Go to Miami/Basel to see what I mean. Museums don’t buy western art, except for the Autry. I lot depends on the sophistication of the collectors. It’s not that different in Europe…I went to art school in London-it was very contemporary, but when I went back years later the gallery’s were showing landscape just like Scottsdale. There are a number of art books out by British artists depicting realistic watercolors and oil landscapes in plein air style. What you’re seeing depends on the gallery. Collectors don’t have to have an art history education to know what they like, and some prefer to buy the more conventional realistic styles and subjects that might seem overly sentimental. It’s the same all over the world, and i’ve been travelling all my life.


Sense of urgency
by Jan Blencowe, Clinton, CT, USA


“End of the day”
acrylic painting
by Jan Blencowe

I’m also 47 and like Tammy I’ve had other seasons of my life filled with work, children, family but in the last decade or so have been working hard at my art with some nice successes. I also occasionally wonder if it’s too late to really have a bona fide career in art. But since I’m a died in the wool believer in the rewards of hard work that thought never gets very far with me.

People like Tammy and Britain’s Got Talent runner up, singer Susan Boyle (also 47), just prove that it’s never too late if you’ve got some talent, and are willing to give it your all, follow your dream and persevere. I think that at this stage of life I’m more focused and inclined to work very hard because of a sense of urgency generated by the awareness of my age. You wrote, “Fear not the young kid; your main competition may just be the seasoned, passionate and competent geriatric next door.” Well, in 20 years I hope I am that seasoned, competent geriatric next door giving younger artists a run for their money!

There are 2 comments for Sense of urgency by Jan Blencowe

From: Jim — Dec 10, 2009

You will undoubtedly be seasoned when you are 67, but please… not geriatric. Sincerely, Jim, the 63yr old

From: Janet Badger — Dec 11, 2009

I believe the correct term is “dyed in the wool.”


A blessed fire
by Laurie Sain, Lander, WY, USA


watercolour painting
by Laurie Sain

I’m 56 years old. In 2008, after a 30-year career as a successful consultant and writer (and an equally long caree as a playwright and poet — yes, produced and published), my words ran out and I found myself bored with my business and adrift with creative energy and no outlet. On top of the boredom, the economic collapse dissolved my consulting business in a matter of months, leaving me with a lot of time and little income to contribute to the household. There I was: “old,” broke, out of work, and in a state where most careers entailed oil rigs or wildlife. I didn’t have much to move forward on – I thought. I wanted to paint — it had always been second on the “list” – but the energy to clean out the back room of the office and set up a studio — the courage for it — the sheer audacity of it — escaped me.

Finally, the world took things in hand one Friday night and burned down the building that contained my office, my lifetime’s writing, most of my father’s and friends’ art, my childhood trains and my collection of first-edition children’s books, including “Bambi.” In short, everything. (I managed to salvage one painting, a lifetime of journals, a few copies of my plays and poetry books, and my IRS records, thanks to a courageous friend.)

What a blessing that fire turned out to be! It took a year of shock and insurance payments, and two years of exploring options, including giving horseback riding lessons, starting a new online business, managing rentals — oh, and actually painting. Of all my explorations, painting “seriously” brought me the most success: acceptance at a juried show (“Heart of the West,” here in Wyoming), two commissions, and soon a print sale. I am now ensconced in a bona fide art studio upstairs in our house, with a real easel, flat file, brushes, paint, paper, all the stuff I need to paint, none of which I could have afforded without the insurance money. I don’t have a serious body of work yet — that’s this winter’s project — but it seems the universe needs to see me paint more — which I’m happy to do.

Too old? What does that mean? Too fearful – now that’s something that can get in the way. But what’s to be afraid of, really? A bad painting? It’s just a step to a better one. Here’s what I’ve learned: don’t wait for the fire. Go for it now. Save the universe the trouble of making you do it some other way. Oh, and do make sure your fire insurance covers your assets — because if I learned anything in the last few years, it’s that most of us are sorely underinsured.

There are 2 comments for A blessed fire by Laurie Sain

From: Rene — Dec 10, 2009

Laurie, I love your painting! The way the colors blend in the shadow is really beautiful. The horse is a good representation yet stylized. Your courageous acceptance and gratitude about all you’ve been through is inspirational! Peace and blessings to you.

From: Karen Martin Sampson — Dec 11, 2009

Laurie, Your experience gives us all pause for thought. Thank you for sharing! Also, I agree with Rene, in the charming painting of the horse you have excelled with that shadow! I hope you are doing more with that look in other paintings.




Killer bee

3D digital painting
by Balazs Papay, Budapest, Hungary


You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Michael Weaver of Elizabethtown, PA, USA, who wrote, “You do give folks hope — I have been inactive as an artist for decades — got sick of the whole public art teacher burn-out thing — but desperately want to get back the flame and the hope. You gave it to me so many times, I think I’ll be working again and having fun, too! You are so fine in your treatment of people and your grace and tact are first-rate, too!”

And also Carlana Lane of Pasgoucala, MS, USA, who wrote, “Tammy should read On Becoming an Artist by Ellen Langer… a good read for inspiring creativity.”

And also Eileen McErlain of Winston Salem, NC, USA, who wrote, “‘Geriatric’ is not a noun (re: “the geriatric next door”). I just would like you to be aware that some people find this usage offensive, as it is in other settings. At what stage are you suggesting someone becomes “a geriatric” etc.? I just thought I’d point it out.”



Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Never too late



From: Ron Unruh — Dec 07, 2009

Tammy’s talent is obvious. Her work is stellar. No wonder success is coming. And at 47 she hardly has need to be concerned. I should be the one asking the questions of plausibility. At 67 years of age I too am wondering out loud whether I should pursue this impossible dream. However, I maintain an online gallery, write a blog, keep painting and polishing, showing here and there and selling some, so, who knows. It’s not as though I am depending upon fame and success but people continue to encourage me and it is very enjoyable to try.

From: Peggy Kerwan — Dec 08, 2009

Tammy’s work is beautiful. My favorites shown are Rendevous, and Sisters On Holiday. Softly done yet the stories have great impact. Over the years of raising my two sons I had a 5-year plan, changing my hobby/activity direction every 5 years so I wouldn’t get bored. I kept reminding myself I didn’t have to do it all by 40.

I’m now 58, heading into my 6th year of painting and not a bit bored – if only I had time to paint all the ideas in my head. I’ve also been in local papers and friends will call me to say they’ve seen me in the news. I’ve sold several pieces over these 6 years, and just received my first award at a local art exhibit – great fun ! I paint weekly with a group of artists and can only hope to keep on creating for another 30 years or more.

From: Ceci Neustrom — Dec 08, 2009

Tammy’s “story” has inspired me to “keep on keeping on…”! With zero background in art, my husband signed me up for painting for my 55th b’day…the desire/excitement that took hold of me changed the direction of my life; now, at 62, I’ve just returned from a 3 month stay at the Art Student’s League of New York! My message to all my friends and acquaintances who comment that I must’ve had “hidden talent” all those years is simple: Yes, some may have been born with it, but for the rest of us…art can be learned. It is an amazing journey…that like Peggy Kerwan (above), I can hopfully keep doing for another 30 years or more!

From: Dwight Williams, Idaho — Dec 08, 2009

Good grief! Tammy, your work is REALLY nice. What’s to worry about? From where I am you’re young. I’ve taught for nearly as long as you’ve been around. Keep going. You should do well, especially with people who know good art when they see it. Good Luck!

From: lori schaffert — Dec 08, 2009

your question really resonated with me. i turned 50 in october and many days i am paralyzed with self-doubt which has led to many days (weeks, months) of doing nothing except gaze at a blank sheet of paper thinking “it has no mistakes now, but if i put a mark on it it might.” i am slowly transforming and exchanging my limiting thoughts and working/playing more consistently, but i’m often re-working things that would have been better left alone. the thought of running out of time has been one of my fears but i remind myself that i am where i am supposed to be right now and the time i have is enough. i’m also working on a website. your work is strong and you are where you are meant to be as well. many of my fellow pastel artists whom i study with and admire are quite a bit older and they marvel that i am able to work with children at home (10 and 13). my dear friend joan is 82 or 83 and her work is brilliant. i was recently told by a trusted advisor that women come into their power at age 50 and i’ve seen this myself. thank you for sharing and i will enjoy visiting your site.


From: Lisa Mozzini-McDill — Dec 08, 2009

“geriatric” really? I hope you did not mean Tammy at 47! Her work is wonderful and who could ignore that?

From: Barbara in Chandler, AZ — Dec 08, 2009

You’ve got a wonderful art career ahead of you. Don’t look back, go for it!

From: Jackie Knott — Dec 08, 2009

No, it is never ever too late. Some of us have taken this long to have the freedom of pursuit.

Ability transcends age or career investment. Tammy, you are really, really good! Paintings at your age (you’re a babe!) are more meaningful than a younger person with less talent.

Don’t apologize for age. Who said younger is more able? Why is younger better?

I have found I SEE more than I did when I was younger. I feel my earlier work was mediocre, while at this time in my life I now possess the experiences and perspective I lacked as young and talented – huge difference in the final product.

You can accomplish more in the next decade than a 20 yr old with all the time, vigor, and drive of her youth. Don’t apologize and don’t back up an inch. You go, girl!

From: Muriel L. Henault Locklin — Dec 08, 2009

Age 47 is so young in my mind, that someone would think there is no future career after this age is missing out. After raising 6 children, I returned to college graduating at age 52 with a degree in Art and Art History. Now at age 71 I’m still quite active in the art community. I worked on a committee today to hang a show with 58 pieces from members of our art organization. Keep on “trucking”, as the old saying goes.

Teaticket MA

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Dec 08, 2009

You got me laughing out loud! So that’s how you comfort a 47 year old gal feeling blue – you compare her with grandma Moses!? I am 44, so I guess I have a couple good years left!

I think that using “grandma” and “Moses” when you talk to women about their age is not the best choice of words. LOL!

P.S. “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill” – not the point I would like to make, but it holds some truth.

From: Lanie Frick — Dec 08, 2009

Thank you Robert for posting Tammy’s question and thank you Tammy for being so candid with your age. Your work is super. I’m the same age as you Tammy, and I have moments of discouragement but the innner drive and determination to create better art keeps me swinging the paintbrush. This letter gives me hope and encouragement. It is a lovely suprise Christmas gift.

Have a colorful day.

From: Clare Rosenfield — Dec 08, 2009

Wow! Tammy Callen is not only good, she is amazing! She is way up there with the professionals. I can’t believe she is not sure of that. I love her work. Bravo!

From: Rick Rotante — Dec 08, 2009

I can’t help but think Tammy’s plea was only a ploy to be seen by the contributors to this site. Work as good as this doesn’t happen while spending 47 years rearing children, having a business career or having a spouse. Tammy’s work is top notch and light years ahead of many I see today. The sensitivity in brush stroke alone is extraordinary. As for making money at this, many who usually sell are not selling. Sales in general are off while gallery after gallery close their doors. With the talent Tammy exhibit’s, I say keep doing what you are doing and get your work out every chance you get. But underneath, in my heart, I feel Tammy already knows all this. We live in a mass media world and I’m sure Tammy has a computer and knowledge on how to use it while viewing the work of others. If Tammy’s plea is genuine, you already know your work is way above many who have been publicly doing this for longer than 47 years.

If commercial success eludes Tammy she can live in the knowledge that she has created beautiful work that many would buy if things where different.

From: Jan Ross — Dec 08, 2009

The images of Tammy’s work in today’s letter are moving as well as feasts for the eyes! I don’t think she has to worry about the passage of time for her artistic abilities to be recognized, nor for her to become successful. Obviously, she’s already there!

Thanks for including these images on your site!

From: Dirk Hiel — Dec 08, 2009
From: Tim Tyler — Dec 08, 2009

Robert, you’re quite right, It’s very good work.

From: Rita Tremblay — Dec 08, 2009

I am 56 , I started painting 10 years ago . I am having my first show this friday.

I don’t need to tell you that I am very nervous and lack confidence in myself..

I have absolutely no idea how things are going to work out.

I don’t even know at what price I should sell my paintings.

But one thing I know for sure, my friends and family support and believe in me ..

From: Jane Podesta — Dec 08, 2009

She is great! Thanks, as usual, for your wise words. Hey, I’m 60 and still reinventing myself.

From: Susan Vaughn — Dec 08, 2009

I agree that Tammy’s work is very good, however, as she said herself – steady work habits and trying to make a bigger noise has surely contributed to her rise in greater recognition for her beautiful work.

You can be a wonderful artist, but if you don’t market your work and make a bigger noise than some others, you won’t get noticed. I’ve seen work that was, in my opinion, total crap, but had the recognition of art connoisseurs. It made me wonder. For instance, how can somebody paint an entire canvas red, put a black stripe across the canvas and then sell it for thousands in a New York Gallery? Beats the hell out of me!!! Now that is marketing my friend. Marketing and chutzpah.

From: Nina Allen Freeman — Dec 08, 2009

I am encouraged by my friends who are in their 80’s and 90’s and are painting better than they have ever painted. I am impressed by these strong women who paint amazing paintings and able to give wise advice to others.

These women are my role models.

After retiring from a career in Social Work, I got back into painting in my 50’s and I know that feeling that the art world has passed me by. I am still catching up but there is no age limit on a career in painting. I intend to continue painting until and if infirmity prevents me from going on. No one knows what the future holds, but the journey is worth the effort.

From: Ron Gang, — Dec 08, 2009

My compliments, admiration and respect to Tammy Callens. What an eye, sure hand, sensitivity to nuances color, light and shade. A sense of drama and poignency pervades the paintings which pulls me back to the memory of the magic of my childhood vision. The work is excellent in every respect and Tammy has earned every success.

Looking at her work makes me want to get back out there and paint, paint and paint. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!


From: Norman Ridenour — Dec 08, 2009

Go for it kid, I am 71 and still rolling. I was lucky enough to be rejected by the ‘real world’ for being over educated in my mid-30s so I became an artist/craftsman. In the states I always wanted to be a history profesor but there were no opportunities anywhere was willing to live. I always wanted to explore more of the world.

So to put all together, at age 54 I left and moved to Europe and became a teacher now I am even an university history ‘professor’, and I have built a new, more successful career as an artist/craftsman and at age 56 I learned to ride a bicycle so I can really get out with tent and aleeping bag and explore my chunk of the world. Plus, all of this in a new language. I don’t have TV or a garden, nor do I play golf, so I cannot retire.

Don’t tell me about being too old at 47 when you already have a personal basket filled with skills. GO!!!


From: Vivian A Anderson — Dec 08, 2009

Can’t say I too have found fame, but I’m still enjoying doing art for myself and sometimes getting recognition from colleagues….and that’s what counts and keeps me going, aside from my own spiritual connection with artmaking. You are so right about the years engendering more interesting, brave, subtle, “new” images from the longer-time imagination and experience of constant devotion to artwork…….I’ve never been happier with my work than now, at 72, after over 20 yrs steadily plodding away. I have found that there’s no magic moment when you are suddenly “discovered”…..good talent and fate, and networking do play their parts…I’m still happily waiting. Thanks for the encouragement you give, as always. My new website starts with about twenty of my newest works.

From: John Ferrie — Dec 08, 2009

Bonnie Raitt is a wonderful singer/performer. Late in her career, she won the Grammy for her first album “Love in the first degree”. She had,however, written dozens of famous songs in her panoramic life for many other award winning performers. She said in her acceptance speech that this was the longest overnight sensation in music history. I am only 48 and I just keep thinking I have acres of canvas yet to paint. The secret to becoming a success is to never lay back on your laurels and think you have already made it. Anytime I admire another artists work they all seem to say the same thing, “it’s just more work”. And never fear the competition. They may be young but they are not that bright. But, it is never too late to start.

From: Faith — Dec 09, 2009

Tammi, I think that it is interesting that all your figures are turned or turning away. Randezvous woman is looking at us, but her body is in a protective position, clenching the robes. I would like to see a figure opened up to me.

From: Joy Gush — Dec 09, 2009

How absolutely lovely to see Tammy’s paintings today, Robert. Thank you for informing us about it. It is so true that one can start painting at any age. In my High School in England, my art teacher told me I had no artistic talent. At the time, she did me a favor because I had to be an independent woman. My family had no money and I had to earn to pay my rent in life. I began painting in my late Twenties in an office in New York City. A Fashion Report had to go to executives monthly and I had a pictorial section on the clothing in vinyl that the Company made.

From then on I painted and hung paintings on the walls of the offices of the beauty of the English countryside where I grew up. Visitors’ comments were wonderful and my scenes relaxed them.

After 600 paintings in the world, I have now been accepted for a showing at the Grace Institute in NYC from December 8, 2009 until January 15, 2010. I am one year away from 80 years of age.

Give with your talent and it will be returned in like kind and multiplied. That is so…

From: Dorenda Crager Watson — Dec 09, 2009

Tammy, you’re just a mere pup! :) The majority of my adult students that are beginning their second careers as artists are, on average, in their late fifties to early sixties. Many that I have taught over the years are well into their eighties and nineties and still going strong. I think it is only too late if you BELIEVE it’s too late and give up or become sloppy or rushed in your process. Slow and steady…build a stellar body of work that you like (weed out what you don’t.) Every painting that you create, in my mind, is a new “beginning”…so may you continue to “begin” for the rest of your life! Best wishes.

From: Bill — Dec 09, 2009

One way some artists get a boost with their carreer is by hiring Chinese art factories to paint for them. You can recognize those artists by having large quantity of high quality works produced in impossibly short period of time.

From: Randall Pike — Dec 09, 2009

The above was obviously put in by a Chinese art factory owner

From: Tammy Callens — Dec 10, 2009

I want to thank you for posting my letter, and for you thoughts on the subject of age and art, SO may people responded and were encouraged and supportive, I’m shocked at the amount of people you are able to reach. It has been truly amazing. You are a brilliant writer, I wish you the best life has to offer.

From: Gail Harper,NY — Dec 10, 2009

recieved your WONDERFUL TEXT BOOK today …..headlined above


CHEERS, gail harper

From: Brenda Wine — Dec 10, 2009

Pardon me, but what is this person talking about? She has 100 high quality paintings on her web site, most sold, she is in 4 galleries. What does she mean by “no career”, children, husband , other obligations? So who is plugging out all those paintings AND practicing to get this good? According to her bio she started painting about 10 years ago…is it really possible to achieve this kind of success in 10 years and still publicize here that she is in panic? Something doesn’t add up. I can’t believe Bob is selecting such an impossible scenario as what everyone should be doing. I am sorry, maybe it’s just a wrong time in the month but I am in the dark with this one. I have been painting seriously for many years, working hard on it almost every day and even if I take into an account that perhaps I am extremely untalented or doing everything wrong, I still can’t see how this would be possible. Plus if it was possible, why I would send panicky letter to Mr. Genn? If this person is graced with such talent and capability, she should be giving advice to all of us. I wonder what Bruce Wilcox would have to say?

From: Michelle Murphy-Ferguson — Dec 10, 2009

Tammy has been blessed with a natural artistic ability combined with her hard work ethics her noise should finally be heard. Keep on keeping on and we’ll see more success from you, Tammy.

This is a very informative site and I have enjoyed reading all the comments , very encouraging for all. Thanks for being here.

From: Bill — Dec 10, 2009

Randal Pike, no, I just had that thought after reading the last letter. It’s a tabu subject nobody wants to talk about.

From: Henryk Ptasiewicz — Dec 10, 2009

You’re book arrived safely. At the moment I’m going through the index and reading what comes up, it’s unputdownable.

I can’t thank you enough for the twice weekly letters, they’re good on so many levels, the real world, the safe womb of the Artists world, plus, so many other people, it is such a brilliant idea.

From: Elizabeth — Dec 11, 2009

What Brenda Wine and a few others said. Smart move of Tammi to get posted here for more publicity. She is extremely talented obviously but this was a PR move. She should remain genuine. But it got a good conversation going.

From: eleanor steffen — Dec 11, 2009

when i was ayounger artist i painted some quality work but i didn,t know it because i did not have the years of producing,exploring, and learning what i wanted to accomplish. i was scattered and and preoccupied with finding an external element for success. at age 73 i feel comfortable with my identity “i am a painter (not houses) eleanor lipkins-steffen woodstock,n.y.

From: Asta Dale — Dec 11, 2009

Robert, you are correct! A high percentage of males do think they know it all. Centuries of brainwashing that males are superior imprinted this attitude but the womens liberation movement changed this – at least in the western world -. Our society has changed! We look not so much at gender differences now but at human qualities. Today-in the western world-we are equal beings with equal rights. Naturally- this view has its own problems (9/11 for one), but- generally it shows that we as a society have grown up-. A very simplyfied view, I agree – but my view.

From: Dayle Ann Stratton — Dec 11, 2009

I would not be offended by being compared to Grandma Moses. While I paint nothing like her, she has been a role model for many women, young as well as older, who face doubts about their ability to create a career as an artist. As Robert quoted, she did good for one of her years. I am now 67, just starting to feel I have a handle on what I am doing, getting some recognition, and, coming from a long-lived family, hope I can follow in Grandma Moses footsteps even if only a little way. All I know is that the other day, I finished a painting that had set some frustrating challenges for me. When I worked past my frustration and the painting emerged, I experienced a profound joy.

From: Jamie — Dec 11, 2009

Reading all this, for the first time in quite a few years I feel weirdly young. But I’m 45, just graduated from art school (BFA, Glass). For some years now, going to school with the young and beautiful, I’ve felt VERY old indeed. And I wondered if I could cut it trying to begin a career at my age, especially in the arts. Still, it must be said that the mature students pretty much kick butt at art school. More stick-to-it-iveness, I think. Graduating this last spring was incredibly scary because now I have to get with it and spin my craft. It’s good to know there are so many wonderful, courageous souls out there who are still crankin’ ’em out at 70, 80, 90! Thanks for the encouragement.





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