Yates Villepigue’s love of engineering provided the base for his love of painting.
He retired from Savannah River Site in 1987 and in his retirement he sailed at Clarks Hill, flew airplanes and played golf.
“I figured everything I did was physical so I wanted to find something that I would like to do that did not involve physical activity,” he said. “I loved to draw when I was a kid. It was fun.”
Villepigue said he saw an ad in the paper for classes at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art with Ed Rice and he took classes with him for about three years.
“Since then, I have been taking classes for about 20 years at the University of South Carolina Aiken in Al Beyer’s class,” he said. “You can take the classes on a space available basis for about $50 per semester as a senior citizen.”
Beyer provides critiques to the seniors attending class.
“It’s fun going to classes with other people,” he said. “My little room at home isn’t as much fun as class. I enjoy seeing what everyone is painting and there are so many styles.”
Villepigue’s preferred medium is oil. Under the direction of Beyer, he learned to start with an under painting in acrylic but paints now without the acrylic layer, preferring oil.
Sail ships, airplanes and wildlife are his favorite subject matter.
“Painting is something I am glad I got into,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Villepigue said he works on and off for about three months to complete a painting.
“Basically, it boils down to what I did when I was working—it’s problem solving. I have a lot to think about to get the painting right, and sometimes it doesn’t work,” he said. “You have to do things that make the outcome satisfying.”
Villepigue can be reached at email@example.com.
Beth Jones is the vice president of the North Augusta Artists Guild.