This Artist Picked Up a Paint Brush at 77

Picking Up the Paint Brush

One day, he saw a local ad for painting lessons, and while he’d never considered being an artist in all his previous 77 years, he thought he’d give it a try.

“It was just three consecutive Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the first thing I painted was a sunflower, and I thought it was just the neatest thing in the world to paint,” Herbst says.

Even though it was just three classes, he knew he found his next calling and he decided to go all in. He went home and told his wife, and while she supported him, she wasn’t thrilled at the idea of turning their home into an art studio.

“So I had the idea to open a studio in a little strip mall, and I used it for storage and to paint,” he says. “I just started painting away and started doing Bob Ross paintings.”

As a self-taught artist, he relied on videos and tutorials from other artists, picking and choosing different techniques and styles to incorporate into his own work. 

“I really wanted to learn one type of painting,” he says. “I wanted it that way because I’m 80—I was 77 at the time—and I did want to take a bunch of lessons.”

Eventually, Herbst found his own signature style, inspired by his own imagination, his love of colors and memories of his youth in Pennsylvania.

“I just wanted to stick to colorful, abstract palette knife paintings,” he says. “I only use a palette knife. I don’t use brushes. I like bright colors. I like oil painting. I like impressionism. I like abstract paintings.”

The YNOT Art Studio & Gallery

A Painter’s Lesson


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