Sebastian River Art Club’s Henry Pitt still painting, exhibiting at 93

SEBASTIAN — As the oldest exhibiting member of the Sebastian River Art Club, 93-year-old Henry Pitt says his craft gives him something to do and share with others.

The front two rooms of the newly opened Sebastian Arts Center next to the Historic Sebastian School, are filled with his work. He could have filled the entire center. At 93, Mr. Pitt continues to work on paintings. He has three in the hopper at home at any given time.

“I enjoy doing it,” he said after explaining that painting has become increasingly difficult for him.

A three-stroke survivor, Mr. Pitt has lost some control of his muscles and uses handmade devices to help facilitate his work.

“It really gets aggravating,” he says, but he does not let that stop him.

For about 30 years, Mr. Pitt has been honing his craft, working in graphite, pastels, acrylics, oils and watercolors.

“It’s one I like to do the best,” he says of using oils, which much of his exhibited work is done in. But, he says, his best works are in pastel.

Looking around the gallery with a touch of pride, Mr. Pitt points to a portrait of an aged Indian. He says the Indian was still working at the age of 103. He serves as inspiration.

The portrait isn’t his most prized artwork in the exhibit – that honor goes to a large canvas of Mr. Pitt’s 4,600-acre family ranch in Montana.

While area residents have been bundled up as of late due to our chilly weather, Mr. Pitt says the chill here could not touch that which he experienced in Montana.

The coldest it ever got there was 58 degrees below zero. The snow would squeal, he says, because it was so cold.

“I don’t like it, either,” he says.

Over the years, Mr. Pitt has become adept at his craft and – either to trick viewers or stave off boredom – he likes to hide images within his art. Viewers often take a cursory look of the piece and then, upon closer inspection notice horses in the bushes or a face in the steam.

Not all paintings have hidden images, but there are enough to cause viewers to take an extra moment to review the piece.

Art enthusiasts will have about as much time as they need to examine the works of Mr. Pitt, which will be on display through Jan. 10.

The center is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center is located at 1245 Main St., Sebastian.

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