Throughout Don Henderson’s life, art has functioned as a life line, offering time to reflect, lose himself in the creative process and feel at peace. Most of the time, that is.
“Painting is a bit like golfing,” he jokes. “Some days you go out there and it’s just wonderful and then the next day it’s horrible. You just can’t do it. Sometimes you have to put the brush down.”
Fortunately for Don and for the people who buy his paintings and limited prints, he always jumps right back in. His website, atriumartstudio.com, is filled with acrylics and oils he has painted over the years and continues to paint each day in the sunporch studio of his Inverness Village home.
Taking inspiration from years of travel – Don and his wife spent time on five of the world’s seven continents – he produces landscapes, street scenes, and more recently, abstract pieces.
Have iPhone will paint
“I have pictures galore and of course there are plenty of resources around me,” he says. “And these days, all I have to do is have my iPhone with me and I can capture anything. I just finished a painting for my bedroom called Sounds of Music that depicts a trumpet lying on piano keys.”
Don is also a talented pianist, playing for residents in Inverness Village’s Heather Hall Health Care Center and at special community events.
“I’ve always had an interest in art,” Don says, adding that he comes from a long line of artistic people. A former executive with MetLife, he began painting more routinely as a young father, producing pieces for his children. When he retired in 1998, he turned his atrium into a studio – hence the website’s name.
“I did it on my own for a while, but as you progress, you realize there are techniques and approaches to painting that require some help, things like dry brushing, wet on wet, how to use various brushes,” he says. “I’ve been going to a mentor [Jerry Yarnell] for almost 20 years now.”
A certain satisfaction
Don spends at least 8 to 10 hours each week painting, and travels to art shows to sell his work. In November, Don is the featured artist at the Canebrake Resort near Tulsa.
“We all have a reasonable amount of creative juices in us,” Don says. “As you might imagine there’s a certain satisfaction that comes from finishing a piece and it’s beautiful to the eye. It’s a way to express yourself without saying one word.
“It would be hard for me to do without the painting part of my life,” he continues. “I’m almost 80 years old and I’m just so blessed to have this passion and beautiful children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I also met a dear lady here at Inverness Village and she appreciates art and music as I do. There are so many positive aspects of getting older and being in good health and able to do things and be with people you love. There’s a lot of fulfillment with all of these activities and relationships.”