Aging Into Artistry the Left-Brained Way

Elizabeth Lemon silk painting Elizabeth Lemon

One day, in my early sixties,  I decided to change the way I look at myself.  After a younger friend's sudden death, I asked myself “what would you regret if today was your last day?”  The answer quite surprised me!

I have always been a “maker”.  Sewing, knitting, smocking, gardening, computer arts, quilting…I mastered and loved each of these at one time or another and taught many students to fully enjoy their handiwork. I did not consider myself an artist but an educator and a technician.

A life lived in my well-developed left brain, I did not consider myself an artist but buried deep was this desire to be one. Could I find something at my age with my demanding perfectionism and left brained dominance to bring out the artist that I know lies in each one of us?  I began to search and take various art classes looking for the spark.

On a vacation to Charleston, SC around 2012, I encountered silk painting for the first time.  In the visitor’s center, there is a huge painting of an aerial view of the Charleston harbor.  It is in 5 sections and my first reaction on seeing it was “What on earth is that?”  I could tell it was fabric and as I got closer and read the label, I realized it was painted on silk.  I was blown away…I did not know you could do that.  I knew then I wanted to see if silk painting was an art medium/outlet that would capture my interest.  Thank you, Mary Edna Frasier, the fabulous silk artist, for making this beautiful work of art that set me on the path from ‘not an artist’ to ‘being an artist’.


Coming to the silk painting world through the quilting world and years of sewing my own clothes, the love of fabric was a given. Starting by googling Mary Edna Frasier and silk painting teachers, my fascination began.   From the first moment my brush filled with silk dye touched a piece of stretched silk, I was hooked.  I wanted to spend the rest of my life encouraging my artistic side.

What a huge learning curve!  I had little art training….until I discovered silk painting.  Color was a struggle and a mystery still.   But that is the fun part! I started taking every online class I could find about silk painting. 

I knew that hands-on teachers were a necessity so I started traveling to take classes in search of mentors.  I have found many generous teachers in the silk painting world and I will be eternally grateful to the talent, love and generosity of Karen Sistek, my mentor.

I ordered my first set of Jacquard Green Label silk dyes in the Fall of 2013, and methodically took lots of classes, painted lots of silk, redesigned a garage into a painting studio finished in 2018 and …..the rest is held in the future.  

Anyone out there starting to explore art after 60?  I would love to hear from you and your path.  Please comment or feel free to email me


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