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Retired couple shares passion for painting

"Lincoln" by Jan Kirk from the 2014 Art is Ageless competition

Husband-and-wife artists Lynn and Jan Kirk have both entered the Art is Ageless® competition at Parsons Presbyterian Manor for the past 10 years or more, and their art works have caught the judge’s eye year after year.

Both of the Kirks pursued other professions. Lynn started his career as a graphic artist for JM Berry, which produced phone books. He worked with a team of artists to design the directories well before desktop publishing and design programs.

After being drafted and serving in the military, Lynn joined his father in the golf industry, but began looking for a job with fewer hours after the birth of their first child. He joined the engineering department of National Zinc and spent the rest of his career in that field. However, he continued to paint on the side.

“I did art work in the evenings, whenever I had time and felt like it,” Lynn said.

Jan worked as an elementary and middle school teacher for 26 years, and Lynn made artwork and furniture to decorate her classroom.

Though he started with oils, Lynn has expanded into graphite, pastels and watercolor. He has entered many art shows in Kansas and regionally, and has received many commissions to draw or paint businesses, farms or homes.

“Old-Timers Car & Barn” by Lynn Kirk from the 2020 Art is Ageless competition

In his recent work, Lynn has combined his affection for barns and antique cars. He often drives around the countryside looking for interesting barns to photograph. He uses the images as references for new paintings, and often incorporates an antique car into the finished work.

Lynn even makes his own frames from barn word harvested from a friend’s farm.

Jan got into art when she and Lynn started taking watercolor classes from Joan Allen in Chetopa, Kan., around 10 years ago. Joan introduced the Kirks to the Art is Ageless program.

Jan enjoys making paintings using pointillism, a technique of applying small dots of paint to create an image.

“We have a room we call our art room, and we just get in there and go to town,” Lynn said. “We’ve always enjoyed doing stuff together; I guess that’s why we’ve stayed married for 58 years.”

For those who may be interested in trying their hand at art making, Lynn recommends looking for a class to take, or just starting with simple pencil sketching.

That’s what he did when he was a child in Pittsburg, Kan. His parents owned a paint store that had a small art supply section.

“When I was six or seven, I’d go to the store and find a corner somewhere to draw in my sketchbook,” he said. “I love to draw, so I’ve been drawing and painting my whole life.”

Art is Ageless is a trademarked program of PMMA (Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America). The program offers senior artists the opportunity to share and display their artwork and reaffirms the agelessness of human creativity.

For more information about Art is Ageless, visit

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