Painting Quilt Squares Brings This 94-Year-Old “Real Joy” | Southern Living


To date I have completed 165 quilt-pattern paintings. I didn’t make any preparations for you. It’s laid out just the way I do it. I’ve been asked many, many times where do I get the ideas, well some of my ideas come from my wife who is a very fine quilter. I began painting with my wife’s suggestion. I was approaching 90 years old. I told Mary Jane, my wife, that I wanted to branch out. I wanted to do something exciting. I wanted to do something different. She came up with this suggestion that I paint a quilt pattern. I usually plot out what I want, graph it out. And there is a good example right there, that’s a simple one right there, graphed it out and go to my piece of wood. I took on the challenge and decided to try to paint a quilt pattern and after a lot of days and a ton of mistakes, I completed a four-foot by four-foot painting, that now hangs high on one of our barns behind our home. If I’m gonna do a painting, first thing I had to do was find out what kind of paints I had. I didn’t know how to even get started. I hadn’t talked with any painters. My mother was an artist, but I didn’t know the first thing about it. An interesting thing happened to me while I was doing that painting. Interest became joy. I could hardly wait to finish that painting so I could start another one. The reason it takes so long to do these paintings is because you can only do so much and that part has to get dry before you can do something else. The paintings I do go to people that have done something special. For instance, one lady after retiring has spent her life carrying food, Meals on Wheels, and that to me deserved recognition. I did a painting for her. It hangs on the front of her house now. You see these little tiny corners? When you get down to those little tiny corners, sometimes I just have to stop and get up and walk around. I will never accept anything for a painting. I’ve been very fortunate. I felt good about giving them away and I still do, and I plan to always do it. But I could not accept anything as a return for a painting and I never have done that. I hope I can be an inspiration to inspire people to get off and do something exciting, do something you’ve never done. It has certainly been a lifesaver for me. I have enjoyed every minute of it. Branch out, do something different, be adventurous, be daring.