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How old you are, or where you live, doesn’t matter when painting artwork. Actually, you don’t even need a home.

Case in point…. the pictures above are the most recent works of art I purchased.

I love the colors and that they are each so unique and original.

Oh, they also only cost me $10 a piece (including the frame).

But, perhaps what makes the pieces even more interesting is the story behind each one. The artists are homeless. No, not the starving artists we all hear about. The real deal… people who live down by the Arkansas River.

I found the pieces at an art and music festival.

The tent caught my eye because of the lack of fanfare, with stacks of 8×10 paintings displayed in plastic crates. Sifting through each canvas reminded me of looking for music in an old record store.

Artwork was hung with clothespins.

The man running the booth says, “This is The Blue Dome Festival art display of works from the homeless art class at Salvation Army in downtown Tulsa.”

That’s Dr. Paul Krautter who volunteers to teach the homeless how to paint.

“We always go through a little painting step by step, just like you’d see someone on television.”

AUDIO: Click HERE to listen to Dr. Krautter talk about how he teaches his homeless students.

His students are usually first-timers. They often don’t return and they usually leave their art with Dr. Krautter. After all, there isn’t a place to hang pictures if you don’t have walls.

“If they want to take their paintings with them, that’s fine. If they want to leave them with me I say well we’ll have a booth at The Blue Dome Festival. We’ll use the proceeds to buy supplies.”

The family physician uses the experience to pay for more, so more homeless can experience making something meaningful.

“Most of the time landscapes… I’ll do the sky then the background, like the mountains and the grass and trees.”

Landscapes seem to work best for Dr. Krautter in that this type of unusual settings.

“My hope is that it is an encouragement to them and give them a feeling of accomplishment.”

Even buying the art can be therapeutic.

“The people buying the paintings are often very interesting. Their lives are interesting and a lot of it’s reflected in their artwork indirectly, who they are and however they struggle with life.”

Dr. Krautter spends his days and nights taking care of others, but the teaching experience help him take care of him.

“It’s therapeutic for me. And it’s fun and relaxing.”

He uses acrylics because they are easy and wash up with soap and water. Their much less of a problem than oil paints.

Dr. Krautter found his own teacher just three years ago.

“A few years ago, at one of the churches here in town, there was a guy who had a little class for anybody who wanted to could come to and he’d teach them how to paint. And I enjoyed it a lot and got started painting and I thought that I’s try replicating the same class at the Salvation Army.”

Hearing Dr. Krautter talk about his love for painting, it’s obvious he’s found a love.

“Art combines together… a lot of aspects of life, from the emotional to the intellectual in a way of making your mark on the world in a way.”

 

A wide variety of artists with a wide variety of skills showcase their art.

A wide variety of artists with a wide variety of skills showcase their art.

The conversation with Dr. Krautter convinced me to pick up a paintbrush. I’ve always wanted to, but didn’t believe I had the natural talent.

Meh. Why not? No one else has to see it.

I expect to mess up often and paint over a lot.

You can do it too. I’d love to see some of the results.

Here are some related videos I love.

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