No age limit for taking up art

Jan. 22, 2013 @ 07:27 PM

WARRENTON — Roger Griesinger took up art in 2007, shortly after his 65th birthday.

During the five years since then, he has become accomplished enough and prolific enough to present a one-man exhibit at Warren County Memorial Library, where it will be on display through this week.

There was little in his career to suggest he would become a painter.

“I had a class in art in high school that I all but flunked,” he said. “It was a total disaster.”

But one day in 2007, “I watched some people in Art du Jour in Louisburg.”

In talking with them, he learned that some had begun painting late in life.

He began participating in Art du Jour activities and enrolled in an art class at the Vance-Granville Community College main campus, where Lelia Brigham introduced him to watercolor painting. That was the beginning.

To broaden his approach, he studied acrylics painting with Pam Danzer at the VGCC campus in Franklin County.
One of his acrylics, “Pots by the Sea,” recently placed third at the Regional Senior Games.

Currently he is receiving instruction from Cheryl Hight of Louisburg, whom he describes as “a teacher with a passion that she conveys to you.

“Right now, I’m working seriously with oil,” Griesinger said. The medium allows him to apply an undercoating that gives the final product a lively coloration. He said the modern chemicals used in oil paints allow them to dry faster, so he doesn’t have to wait so long to paint over the undercoating.

A native of Ohio, Griesinger had a much-traveled career in the U.S. Navy. In 1984, he received a bachelor’s degree in education from Elizabeth City State University. He taught at the high school and community college levels, coached track and worked as a sports information director.

During his Navy years, he visited 13 countries, He said was looking at them from a photographer’s point of view. That way of visualizing potential pictures shows in his paintings.

Griesinger’s enthusiasm for painting is infectious. He shares both his talent and his zeal with other seniors at the Warren County Senior Center.

Griesinger is active in community affairs, offering his support to causes such as Special Olympics, human rights and the needs of adults with developmental disabilities. He is a member of the Henderson Kiwanis Club and the Warrenton Rotary Club and has served various community and regional committees.

Roger and his wife Julie reside in the Elberon area of Warren County. They have five grown children. Julie uses their golden retriever, a trained therapy dog, in a program called “Reading with Cleo” to help children become more comfortable reading out loud.

Why take up a new hobby at 65?

Griesinger said, “If you just sit on the porch rocking, all you’ll see is what’s right in front of you.”

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.