Linda Beers, 95, an award-winning Hungarian-born artist and resident of La Posada retirement community, has created oil paintings for approximately 80 years. She started practicing creative expression through art as a little girl. She and her family moved to the United States because her father wanted his children to attend universities in America. She was only six years old when she and her immediate family came to the United States, and she found that expressing herself through art was easier than learning English. Through the years, she developed a passion for oil painting, which led to showings in museums and numerous awards. One award of note was for her winning entry to Life magazine, published in June 1941. Of the 15,000 Americans to enter, Beers received the scholastic art prize and was the only female artist to be featured in the magazine. Her journey with art didn’t end there, and she continues to find joy in painting.
“For me, I love having the freedom to paint whatever I want on a blank canvas. My favorite subjects are women,” said Beers. “I enjoy painting people in general. I’m not a scenery painter, and I dabbled in abstract, but creating portraits has always been my greatest love. I paint what I like to paint, and hopefully it resonates with other people. If my work happens to appeal to them, well of course that is a wonderful feeling. I never pursued an art-related job after getting my art diploma; it would’ve limited my creative freedom. I can’t paint what others want me to paint. I love to paint, and I paint my world.”
Each time Beers begins a new painting, she thinks of the advice that one of her professors shared with her. He said, “Be careful how you start a painting, as it is very difficult to correct it.” She has always been very careful with how she positions her models because of this advice. Beers began her art education in high school at Washington Irving High School in New York City. After graduating, she won a scholarship to the Art Student League in New York City.
“I studied with anyone who would teach me anything new about creating art,” said Beers. “After I graduated, I won several prizes. Painting was my passion, but I had love for other aspects of my life too. I met my husband and was married to him for 55 years. My husband was a real catch, my mother jokes that I fell into mud and stepped up in gold. He was drafted during the earlier part of our marriage and became a pilot serving in the Pacific. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross along with a few other medals. He stayed in it because he loved it and retired as a General. We had two delightful and smart children together. During his career he traveled a lot, and though I raised our two children I didn’t stop painting. He built me my very own studio because he saw the love I had for painting and the immense joy it brought me. When I start painting, it is like I become hypnotized and the whole world could fall apart and I wouldn’t notice. It’s like a form of meditation or a therapy for me.”
While raising her children, she also went back to school to Brooklyn College and became a registered nurse. Even after becoming a mother and a nurse, Beers continued to paint. She studied at the Brooklyn Museum of Art School, and then later at the Norton Museum Art School in Florida, at Palm Beach Community College and the Armory Art School in Palm Beach. Beers eventually stopped working as an RN at the age of 75, but she hasn’t stopped painting. She loves to paint her world; to feel and express what she sees. When she finishes a painting and is happy with how it turns out, she feels elated. Though Beers lost her husband and her son, she keeps painting because it keeps her going despite the sorrow she confronts daily when thinking of the loss of her loved ones.
“I have approximately 100 paintings in my home right now, and I plan to leave them to my grandchildren,” said Beers. “I love painting, it’s what keeps me going. It’s harder for me now, but I still find the time to dedicate myself to it. While I paint, I reflect on my life and I think about how truly lucky I am. I married a wonderful husband, and we had 55 years of marriage. We had two amazing children. Our son became the editor-in-chief of the renowned Merck Manual of Medicine. He was a special doctor who created the Beer’s Criteria that dictates what medicines are inappropriate for seniors to be taking. He had walked into too many nursing homes and saw seniors sleeping with their heads down because they were overly medicated or taking the wrong medications. He was a change agent for seniors and nursing homes in America. My daughter was a science teacher in New York City, and we are very close. I am a joyful person who has been fortunate enough to experience a lifetime of love and happiness.”
“Linda is a talented woman who enriches the lives of those she graces,” said Rick Minichino, wellness director for La Posada. “Many of the residents living in the senior living community have an appreciation for art and culture, and they delight in viewing Linda’s work. We are fortunate to have such an inspiring artist living among us. You can really see her kindhearted spirit and how she sees the world when viewing her artwork.”