Old Masters Academy

There’s No Time to Waste

There’s No Time to Waste

Feedback from Barbara Straley

I can remember drawing from about age four. All through school, drawing was the thing I did best. Other than drawing, I wasn’t much of a student because I just wasn’t interested.

I dreamed of going to the Kansas City Art Institute where my high school art teacher trained. It didn’t occur to me that one needed money to go to art school or college and of course I didn’t have any.

I did see that most artists had trouble making a living unless they taught school. It was 1952. I watched how people in small town Iowa watched teachers. I didn’t think I could be the paragon of virtue that teachers were expected to be and I was enough of a rebel that I didn’t want to try.


I didn’t plan life. It just sort of happened. I found a few art jobs along the way but none that paid well. I spent a lot of time doing yard work, waiting tables, and working in offices. Along the way I picked up a few college classes. I married thoughtlessly a couple of times. Had some great kids and spent the first forty plus years just trying to figure out how to grow up. Art was a fine vehicle for absorbing life’s frustrations.

Life provided a plentitude of work and very little “me” time. It wasn’t uncommon to put in 90 hour work-weeks with kid raising and managing a household on the side. Once the kids were raised I went to college while working full time. Forty years after graduating from high school, I graduated from college with an art degree – not fine art because I didn’t have time to put together the requisite show required for a fine art degree. There was little technical training along the way. Teachers would put a brush in my hands, stand me in front of an easel and give me an “A”. I thought I was a pretty good artist. Wrong! I’ve come to see that I’m sadly lacking in technical training and I haven’t put in the time just making art that it takes to be really good.


There was still the matter of earning a living. I spent 35 years working in offices knowing that if I didn’t earn a retirement income there wouldn’t be any. Office work has a way of schooling the creativity right out of a person. A person with the soul of an artist and the spirit of a rebel must hide behind banality in order to negotiate the land-mines of the political landscape of an office environment. I did learn to do that but my creativity suffered.

Finally, a month shy of my 79th birthday came blessed retirement. It was my plan to travel and paint and draw. My body had other ideas. Well, now I’m 82 and I’m still standing. I’ve told my daughter that I plan to hang around for another 20 years or so because I want to see how my six-year-old grandson turns out. He’s a little rebel who sees danger and heads right for it.

At long –last, I’m drawing and painting and completely immersed in anything having to do with art. I’ve found Youtube and wonderful tutorials especially Web Art Academy. I’m learning that I really don’t know anything about art and I want to learn. I’m working on a painting in the classic style and learning as I go. I have Youtube playing while I work and I can see how little I know and how much I still must learn to become the artist I know I can be.

I’m excited and obsessed by it all and nothing stands in my way now. It’s almost a lifetime too late but I want this experience while I still can have it. It’s stressing my budget to buy art materials. If I could win a Web Art Academy membership, it would provide the knowledge I’m desperate for without capsizing the budget.

Please vote for me

Categorized: Web Art Academy Survey Archive

This Post Has 132 Comments

  1. Lisa Luree says:

    I’m a Nextdoor neighbor and also a professional artist. I am always thrilled when an innate artist finds the impetus to stretch and grow and find their path. Age is never a factor -but age adds patina by way of great experience. I laud your journey and know you will be a winner – now that you have found your course!

  2. mountain air says:

    Barbara, love your story . It is never to late to follow your passion. I love your work. Best of luck to you. My vote is for you.

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Thank you. With your help, I won. You can uncross your fingers now. Good thing you don’t have to type anymore.

  3. don says:

    I’m Barb’s brother. With me it was a similar story about theoretical physics. Barb really wants this and surely deserves it. She is a great artist as well as a hard working, accomplished caring beautiful person

  4. janice says:

    You are a wonderful sister-in-law.I am proud of your accomplishments and your many talents. You definitely have my vote!

  5. Lois PIcking says:

    I can’t think of a more deserving or more appreciative student than Barbara. Your PA cousin sends her vote. Lois

  6. Lois PIcking says:

    I can’t think of a more deserving or more appreciative student than Barbara. Your PA cousin sends her vote.

  7. Username* says:

    I couldn’t be more thrilled to recommend Barb! I’m looking forward to seeing how this win transforms her life and those lucky to benefit from the connection to her.

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Thank you. With your help, I won. I look at the beautiful family you’ve created and see that as inspiration too.

  8. jt74 says:

    Barb, you were always my inspiration in our many years of working together, and I know your heart was always yearning for artistic endeavor. You were true to the practical matters of life, and now you can apply that tenacity to your soul’s calling! Great article and beautiful works! You deserve and have my vote – 100%! Jerry

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Thank you. With your help, I won. I really appreciate your kind words and thoroughly enjoyed working with you. We had lots of mighty fine conversations didn’t we.

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Thank you. With your help, I won. This is sort of me re-trying something old. The new thing will be the technical part.

  9. retroillini says:

    Oh Barb! You’re a writer, artist, who lives full tilt. Admired you for years. Wonderful to see your art. Old neighbor Jeannie

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Thank you. With your help, I won. You have talent too. You just don’t give yourself enough credit. Your writing is wonderful and your photography is amazing. Think happy thoughts!

  10. Marj says:

    Just amazing Barb – I never Knew this about you. I wish you all the luck and hope you win. You have a great talent. Marj

  11. tkahle says:

    This goes to show that it is never too late to follow your dreams. Beautiful art with a beautiful story. You certainly have my vote! Tim

  12. Janet says:

    Terrific artwork, Barb! From a fellow artist, I am sending all my positive energy your way to win this contents! Slam dunk!! 🙂

  13. Chalmer says:

    Barbara….you are the best…I admire your tenacity in life…to be ALL you can be and toreach for the stars…Keep going

  14. Chalmer says:

    Barbara…..you are the best…I love you tenacity to embrace life…to keep going aND be ALL you can be….I love your art..and You…

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Thank you. With your help, I won. You’re a darned good example in the tenacity department. Hang in there!

  15. Rose says:

    Barb, not only are your paintings beautiful but you’re writing and spirit as well! You go Barb !
    Rose & Keira

  16. Artheart#33 says:

    Hi Barb… this is the third time I have tried to leave a comment and a vote for you… I keep getting the message “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!”

    Since I am not seeing my comment/vote posted, I am trying one more time. Wonderful artwork and beautiful story…

  17. Mary Frances says:

    I am casting a definite vote for Barb. I am one of her colleagues from years past in the office jobs she mentioned. At the time, 5 years ago or so, we worked together for years and she was one of the staff without whom we could not function. She was always willing to help with computer difficulties. I called her my “guardian angel” because she would have a comforting word at the end of long days. Despite our friendship, I didn’t know she had such artistic skill. She mostly talked about her wonderful children. I am proud to support her now in her application for a membership to this terrific organization that could provide her the ability to develop more artistic skills. This is a very small gesture in thanks for all the support, wisdom and friendship she has shared with me in the workplace.

    • b_straley@msn.com says:

      Mary Frances,
      Your comment brought tears to my eyes. Now you are my guardian angel. Thank you so much.

  18. mlake says:

    Barb – You are such a talented person, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves this more than you. Good luck!

  19. Helen (Curves workout buddy) says:


    Love your art and your friendship at Curves. You definitely have my vote!!!


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