The Gardiner Library presents the first showing of the works of Raymond Schleinkofer, a 90 year-old, self-taught Wallkill artist. His show will be available throughout the remainder of July, beginning with a Meet the Artist Show on July 13.
“I have never taken an art lesson in my life,” writes Schleinkofer in his autobiography. “My journey as an artist has been through trial and error. My passion for continuing to create art at age 90 gives me great joy. I hope others are inspired by my story and that they strive to live life to the fullest as I have done.”
His story began during the Great Depression where, he says, the family was poor and the food was scarce. He would join the Army, and later marry a “sweet Scottish lass” and raise two daughters.
“In 1987 my wife passed away suddenly. I was lost and didn’t know how I would continue my life,” he recalled. “A few years later I met a wonderful woman and we married and I began a new chapter in my life. My wife was a very talented seamstress and suggested I try my hand at painting. And as a young boy it came back to me that my mother liked to draw and I remembered techniques she showed me.”
Schleinkofer began the next chapter in his life with his 2002 marriage.
“My wife and family tried to encourage me to begin painting again but to no avail. As an untrained artist, I shared my past paintings and my thoughts with a new friends. Ironically, both were professional artists; Chuck Davidson and Lucy DiMiceli,” Schleinkofer said. “ I shared the passion I found through painting and they both encouraged me to begin painting again. Through their encouragement, my wife, my mother and my family I rediscovered my passion for being an artist. I enjoy painting scenery, ships, birds, wolves, orcas, dolphins and large gamefish. I paint mostly in acrylics on canvas, board or wood.”
Many of these paintings will be in display at the library, located at 133 Farmer’s Turnpike. The Meet the Artist reception will be held Saturday, July 13, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.