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says and " I get excited when I mix the
right paint colors and apply them to
canvas or paper in a pleasing form. I
recently realized the synergy between
painting and music. ... I find art to be
very enriching and relaxing. I also enjoy
jamming or performing with the dulcimer
groups and handbell choir.
" Learning is fun and rewarding at any
age. "
Award-winning artist Annette Marcuson
retired 13 years ago as a historic
preservation planner for the City of
Lynchburg and since then, she has
devoted herself to what had been a near
lifelong hobby: painting and supporting
the visual art community.
Before retirement " I had little time
to paint ... [and] when I prepared
to retire, I knew I would need other
avenues to concentrate on and to stay
busy. I returned full-time to art and
art education. " That meant not only
painting and taking classes, but she
" became involved in two art clubs " in
various capacities. She was already
taking classes, but then began to attend
workshops and " I also coordinate and
lead trips " to art venues throughout the
Her mother was an artist and Marcuson
has been painting since she was nine.
" My mother began painting in her 40s and
recognized my curiosity and took me with
her to art classes. Her encouragement is
the reason for my passion today. "
She is serious about her art: " I consider
painting a vocation in that it's a calling.
But it's also an avocation, a hobby that I
could not make a living with locally. ... I
sell but there are so many fine artists and
so much competition. I am happy to be
recognized once in a while with an award
and to sell my work. My purpose is to
create, and if I sell, that's icing.
" The quality of my life and retirement
are dependent on art and the art world,
which includes friends who are artists.
Artists and people who appreciate it
inspire and lift me, and my relationship
with them is a most important aspect of a
quality retirement and my happiness. "
Bob Schmucker is standing at the edge
of retirement with a solid plan. That plan
includes music. Lots of music.
Schmucker is 65 and staring Social
Security in the face, but he is hanging on
for a bit longer. He has worked in defense
contracting, fiber optics and other hightech
endeavors, but these days, he is
shifting his emphasis. He is the volunteer
manager of 3rd Street Coffeehouse
in Roanoke, a live music venue that
recently celebrated its 35th anniversary.
" During COVID, we worked closely with
local musicians to raise over $32,000 for
Feeding Southwest Virginia, " he says.
He says he has " been blessed with
decent jobs most of my life and have
been able to save and invest a little,
primarily putting money away in 401K
plans. Our house has been paid off
several years and have no long-term
debt. It wasn't always that way though. "
He and his wife, Denise, have created a
sophisticated plan for maintaining their
income and Schmucker has added some
personal goals and says, " I wouldn't
mind writing a few top ten country songs
before I kick. "
He hopes " music is a big part of my life
during retirement as there seems to be a
solid connection between playing music
and staying healthy and productive. I've
been playing since I was about 14 or 15,
though I took a lot of years off to focus on
work and raising a family. I didn't really
get back into music until my wife had
a stroke about 14 years ago and music
became my stress reliever. I hope to do a
lot more songwriting and performing in
my retirement.
" I have a lot of friends who have retired
from corporate life to start second careers
and songwriters and touring performers.
They all seem to be having fun. "
Sixty-seven-year-old Andrea Brunais has
been involved in one art form or another
for her entire adult life and now she
has tackled painting with enthusiasm.
Brunais was a much-honored journalist
for many years and retired nearly three
years ago-at the beginning of Covid-as
director of communications for Outreach
and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.
She has written three books and edited
others. She still edits occasionally and
" I've written poems to go along with
" Learning
is fun and
at any age. "
26 / / RETIRE-VA 2023

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