Artist of the Month: Meet Carol Breen

Carol Breen

My husband Rick and I moved to Robson Ranch just in time for the summer heat, in 2017. When looking at adult communities in the area, other than a golf course for Rick, I needed lots of creative activities as well as opportunities for exercise. As soon as I saw the Creative Arts Center, I knew Robson Ranch would be our destination. As a very beginning artist, I was hesitant to go to Fine Arts. I signed up for one of their many classes and soon realized I wasn’t the only newbie! The members were very welcoming and willing to share their expertise in a friendly manner.

“Oh, the places you’ll go!” is a perfect quote from Dr. Seuss to describe the life of Rick and Carol Breen. My working years in education were spent in the small town of Grand Haven, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Always looking for a challenge, I retired three times! I spent time in the classroom, became an elementary principal, traveled the United States as an educational consultant in early childhood, and finished out my career at the State Department of Education in Early Childhood. The Breens “retired” to Florida to begin a new life as retirees. My husband settled right in but not me—I needed a challenge! Over the next ten years I taught classes at University of Central Florida, joined a group of retired educators selected to work with schools within the state, taught aerobics in our adult community, joined a clogging group, and even found time to volunteer at an animal shelter.

Rick always wanted to live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so off we went to the town of Naubinway with a population of 636! I immediately wondered what I would do!

Little did I know, I would open up a whole new world—painting!

Naubinway, especially during the summer, is alive with many artists and art activities.

My first watercolor experience was a four-day workshop with Helga Flowers. Helga travels throughout the U.S. as well as abroad and has won several awards. I was given a list of supplies, most of which I didn’t have a clue as to their use. I survived and even made a fairly decent painting during the four-day workshop. The following summer Ed Fenendael, from Door County, Wis., taught a week-long class using many different watercolor techniques and I was hooked.

During the workshops, both Helga and Ed shared several thoughts on painting. May they be beneficial to you as you ponder taking that first step towards becoming an artist.

Creativity takes courage.

There is no wrong on your paper.

Imagination has no limit.

Be who you are supposed to be!