Aging · Artwork · Growth · Happiness · healing

Talents that Show Up Later

So, if you’re thinking you’re getting a ‘late start’ or that time has passed you by…consider this: Anna Mary Robertson Moses, aka: “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961) started painting in her seventies.

For the majority of her life, she and her husband raised a family of 10 children, five of whom would survive infancy. It was during those years she that expressed her creativity through her embroidery.

She created one of her first paintings as a Christmas gift for the postman, noting “it was easier to make than to bake a cake over a hot stove.”

Grandma was 76 years old when she started painting for gifts and selling them for a few dollars. Her arthritis had made it too difficult to hold a needle.

It wasn’t until much later, however, when Grandma Moses would become known for her familiar folk style. New York art collector, Louis J. Caldor, happened to notice some of her paintings at a local drug store and considering them a bargain at prices of $3.00 to $5.00, he bought all of them and traveled to Grandma’s home to buy even more.

When her paintings debuted at the Museum of Modern Art just a year later, Grandma Moses became an “overnight sensation.” Moses appeared on magazine covers, television, and in a documentary of her life. She wrote an autobiography (My Life’s History), won numerous awards, and was awarded two honorary doctoral degrees.

A busy artist, she had painted over 1,600 canvasses when she made her transition in 1961 at the age of 101.

And in 2006  her work, “Sugaring Off”, sold for a cool $1.2 million.

The take away: Despite the arthritis, Grandma Moses expressed herself through a hobby where she had no formal training. The door of embroidery closed and the next one, painting, opened.

Action: Something you’ve mastered in the past may have run its course. The great news is that it is never too late to find expression for your talents in similar and perhaps even more effective ways.


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