The art of life through brush strokes of a 96-year-old

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Al Albrektson’s booming voice offers delicate instructions to his art students, who listen and then apply his guidance to paper.

“Italian outdoor dining scene,” he says, referring to the subject of the watercolor class. ” Every painting you do is a new adventure.”

His work with his brush and his students belies a man who’s only four years from the century mark.

“It definitely keeps me going,” he said.”Because it’s a social contact. It’s a physical thing and it’s a mental thing.”

Al made a living as an ad man, and eventually ran his own advertising art firm. But cutting his creativity loose was always something that kept him moving forward. He pushes himself and his students to think outside the frame.

“I’m not trying to get a factual copy,” he tells one of two classes he teaches. “I’ve made a special effort to make the bell tower, taller. We always try to be better, different, more interesting.”

And with art, he has a firm grip on life.

“Well, it’s my spark plug I would have to say. I can’t imagine being without it. Thank God I’ve got painting.”

Albrektson, who also takes a painting class one day a week, is currently exhibiting some of his work at The Providence Art Club.

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