For the last few years of her career, Gini Deaton spent her days designing and maintaining websites and electronic publications for Draper. Since her retirement a couple of years ago, instead of spending her days building web pages, she’s been creating art.

“I love to paint. I’ve been self-taught for most of my life and was inspired and taught by Bob Ross, Bill Alexander, Dorothy Dent, Kevin Hill, Robert Warren, and Gary Jenkins, master artists teaching mostly the Alla Prima (wet-on-wet) method of painting,” Gini said. “I grew up watching them on PBS TV and YouTube over the years, as well as taking classes from them in person.”

Gini, who paints mostly with oils, says being able to devote more time to her art has not only made a difference in her life, it has made a difference in her ability.

“I have definitely grown as an artist since I retired. In order to get good at something, you have to practice. Since I have retired I try to paint almost every day.”

Gini has entered some art shows, and recently won first place for oil painting at the Anderson Art Association Gallery Show.

“Putting together a painting lets me bring out my creative side as nothing else does. It is both relaxing and exciting,” she said. “My favorite part is when I am getting frustrated with how something is coming out and then all of a sudden I realize it is starting to come together!”

And her least favorite?

“Being interrupted when I have to put out more paint. But since I am stingy with my paint, I just have to bite the bullet and stop and do it.”

Gini’s first-place finisher at the Anderson Art Gallery Show.

In addition to painting, Gini also teaches others, leading classes in area craft stores, art associations, and other venues. During each class, she teaches between five and 10 people to paint a specific picture. Most of her students have never before put brush to canvas.

“I love seeing people stretch their creative side. I really like it when at the end of a class, they step back from their painting and say, ‘Well, that’s not bad.’ Or ‘That’s better than I thought I would do!’ People tell me all the time ‘I can’t even draw a straight line,’ and I say, ‘Good, because we don’t do any straight lines when we paint! Most people are amazed at how well they can do if they just try. That is the rewarding part of teaching.”

During her years at Draper, Gini was often the first in the office, working on web designs, drinking coffee, and building pages for at least an hour before everyone else arrived. Now that she’s on her own schedule, there’s still plenty to be done, but her day depends on whether it’s a painting or teaching day. Either way, it still starts with coffee and a check of the calendar.

“If it is a painting day, I think about what I am painting or need to paint in preparation for teaching. I will usually paint for a while, do some computer work to keep my website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter up to date, then paint some more. If it is a teaching day I get ready for my class. Get my list out of everything I need to have ready for class and get it loaded into my car. I have so much fun with all of this that I sometimes feel guilty because I am not ‘working.’“

Students from a recent class proudly display their artwork.

However, teaching painting classes does involve quote a bit of work. She has to unload all of her supplies, set up the easels and paints, and do a step-by-step demo.

“I go around to each student and help them individually, as well. It can be tiring, but when we get done and people look at what they have accomplished, it makes it all worth it.”

Gini says she sometimes finds herself feeling guilty because she’s relaxing and not working. But then she reminds herself that she’s retired and can do anything she wants.

Despite her evident work ethic, Gini doesn’t miss the daily eight-to-five.

“I miss the people of course, but I sometimes see some of them out and about, or on Facebook, so that helps. But for the most part, I am really enjoying my retirement,” she said. “I think it is important to have something planned to do once you retire and this was waiting in the wings for me.”

Gini is currently having her first gallery show. The show runs August 27 at the Henry County Art Association in New Castle, Indiana.

If you can’t make it to see her work in person, you can click here to go to her website.

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