Keeping Busy During a Pandemic

by Kurt Leininger

One might assume that since I retired 3 years ago, well before the COVID-19 pandemic reached Southeastern Pennsylvania, I might be accustomed to finding creative ways to keep busy and to continue to learn. And I am, generally, but the isolation we endured in the past year challenged me further, and I imagine that’s true for many more folks than I might think…

I’ve always enjoyed the visual arts and music, and my favorite college elective class as a civil engineering student was History of Art. I had never seriously considered becoming an artist, until last September when Bob Stradling, Pastor of Vision Fellowship at the First Baptist Church of Malvern, offered to share his knowledge and experience in weekly art classes, hosted by Malvern Arts. With all this time literally on my hands, and the happy memory of my college days, I decided to take the plunge, and become an amateur oil painter!

Of course, I found that painting allows me a new way to enjoy and ponder some of my other interests: nature, architecture and education. The scenes I like to paint focus on natural landscapes with historic or iconic buildings, especially scenes that I’ve visited (and photographed) that I would enjoy recreating on canvas. Most recently, I painted the front of the Wharton Esherick Museum, just north of Paoli, which is an unusual structure designed by the artist of that name. Esherick avoided right angles in everything he made, including his entire home. I found this small museum especially intriguing since I visited and admired many Frank Lloyd Wright homes, which excel in right angles! I’m convinced that with an open mind we can discover and enjoy and be inspired by the creativity of our fellow humans (like Esherick and Wright) regardless of our age.

Here are photos of some of my initial paintings:


  1. I’m always trying to look for a silver lining in the past 14 months of Covid. I’ll add to my list “the time to pursue interests and latent talents” which you have certainly evidenced in your emerging body of work. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and photos of your work.

  2. Both your art and your writing are inspiring. To express one’s soul is a gift. Thank you for sharing yours with us.

  3. Kurt,
    I really like these. Color,color, color…and a sense of man-formed objects in a bigger world. Going outside to go inside.Very fine.

  4. Thanks to all for your generous remarks, and I’m glad to have been of some inspiration. One thought that motivated me to start this hobby, apart from expressing my love of colorful landscapes and interesting structures, was to learn free-hand drawing (since my engineering career involved only “mechanical” drawing – my favorite high school class in the early 1960s). Free-hand is also more fun than just punching keys to make computer-aided drawings, so long as my arthritic fingers continue to behave!!

    Also, I find working on my scenes both challenging and relaxing, which is a combination that I can’t remember feeling with most of my previous work and hobbies. If you’d like to see a file of all of my paintings from October through February, send me an email and I’ll forward it. I’m still working on new ones and have another 20 +/- scenes on my to-do list.

  5. Always exciting when a new artists emerges and even more excited when it’s taken up after retirement! Blessings for a fun and interesting career as an artists – you will never be bored and always be learning. 🙂

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