I’ve been a lifelong artist, but only recently claim painter status because I had “painter’s block.” Private art lessons began when I was 14 years old. I studied at the South Bend Art Association and attended Indiana University for art. But I didn’t paint.

I began my creative career when I was 17 as a newspaper artist for the South Bend Tribune, which led me to a profession in advertising. TomButtersI spent many years as an AdMan, but I didn’t paint.

I was a creative director, copywriter, and PR practitioner. I created marketing campaigns for clients including Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Pirelli, Budwweiser, Camel Lights; various political figures; and software technologies. But I did not paint.

I raised a family, spent time racing cars, worked in ad agencies in New York, St Louis and Indianapolis. I occasionally suffered the requests of family to produce a painting about once a decade, but generally speaking, I didn’t paint.

My turning point was attending a Ken Auster workshop in New Harmony, IN in 2007. Within 20 minutes, I realized I had been making the process much harder than it needed to be. I finally began to paint.

I received the ‘Best of Show’ award in the 109th annual Richmond Art Exhibition the first time I entered. I began teaching painting at Hagerstown Arts Place and have taught more than 200 classes since 2009, hopefully inspiring students to simplify and just paint.

It’s never too late to begin. But if you begin late, commence with all possible haste.

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