Carmen Herrera: Never Scared

By Ruby Cemental

You don't get to be 100 years old by living a life of fear. Carmen Herrera, an Cuban-American abstract and minimalist painter, knows that firsthand. Having turned 100 in May, Herrera has a fitting motto: Don't be intimidated by anything. Learn more about this inspiring senior.

Early Life

Carmen Herrera grew up in Havana, Cuba, the child of a newspaper editor father and a mother who was a reporter. When she married in the late 1930s, she had yet to sell a painting. Shortly after her wedding, she started to paint regularly.

When she and her husband moved to New York, she faced her first real bout of intimidation. She started attending the Art Students League, which was nearly, if not all women, and the other students weren't keen on her nationality. they tried to start fights with her daily, until her teacher told her how good she was. She also suggested that instead of attending school, she needed to simply paint. So, she left and told herself that she would never again be frightened by difficult people and circumstances.

Art Career

Herrera's artwork is considered very important in the movement of minimalism, and is created, she says, because she has to do it. It's a compulsion that has to see the light. The most interesting fact about her painting career is that, after six decades of painting because "she had to do it," she sold her first piece of art at the young age of 89! This is a shining example of practicing what she preaches.

Many seniors feel like they are beyond their prime, like anything they may have to offer, particularly in the way of creativity, will automatically be discounted due to their age. But if Carmen Herrera can be without fear and start selling her work at almost 90, other seniors should be inspired to overcome intimidation and be successful, as well.       

We would love to hear about the inspiring seniors that you know and love. Please contact us, Caring Senior Service to share your stories or to inquire about questions or concerns in the life of your elderly loved ones. 

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Tags: Golden Inspirations

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