In this second, and most wonderful, phase of life, I devote myself to painting, to art, to the joy of bringing color and joy and light to my life, and the lives of the people who see and buy my paintings.
I worked for 25 years as a reporter, copy editor, page designer and executive editor at newspapers across the country.
I started painting in 2006, when I was 50. We were living in New York, and I was the Sunday editor of the Times Herald-Record, an 85,000-circulation daily in the mid-Hudson Valley.
My mother died in July of that year, and her death broke me. Months and months went by, and I simply could not recover, could not get my stride back.
So in November, when the idea came to make a painting of our dogs to give to my husband for Christmas, I grabbed it. I was looking for anything that would help me cope, that would bring me back.
From the first stroke of the brush on the canvas, I knew that I'd found what I was supposed to do. I loved it. And that first painting was miraculous.
I took a drawing class, and a beginning oil painting class, and I kept painting.
In January, my boss, who also was a dear friend, died at 54 of a heart attack. In April, the job I thought I'd have for the rest of my life was eliminated.
In time, I was able to get another job, but it was a disaster. I stayed for a year, then set out to become a painter. In time, the costs of health insurance drove me back into regular work, but not before I'd taken my first painting trip, and started my blog, The Accidental Artist.
I worked for another 18 months, until it became clear that I couldn't paint and work, and that I'd have to make a choice.
It was my late husband Peter who suggested that I leave journalism and choose painting.
"You think we can live on what I can make from selling my paintings?" I asked, and he said. yes.
This life is a gift, and I've never understood it more clearly than I have since gambling everything, leaving the corporate world, and doing what I love.