Nope, It’s Never Too Late to Start

Art: It’s Never Too Late to Start

We love stories of people finding their passion no matter when or at what age.

The NoHo Arts District is lucky to have the NoHo Senior Arts Colony, a place where folks can explore the arts at a later stage in life. One of their residents, Larry Blecha, will have his first art show on Tuesday, March 28. He is in his 60s and only started to experiment with paint a couple years ago after an injury. This is why the name of the show is “Art: It’s Never Too Late to Start…” 

The art show will feature the work of residents Alvin Fels, Bert Sanders, Deborah Holzel and Caroline McElroy.


Tuesday, March 28 at 7:30PM


10747 W Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Larry Blecha was born October 8, 1952 in a small town in Southwest Nebraska. He grew up on a farm, attended a small one room country school through grade school and graduated high school in 1970. During his high school years, the country was in turmoil over the Vietnam War, his parents both became ill leaving the teenager and his two teen siblings to care for the family farm. Shortly after graduation he went into the US Army. These experiences would influence the remainder of his life and his art. Larry’s education and early career were heavily influenced by his mother and later his brother developing mental illness. He spent many years in the field of substance abuse and mental health treatment as a provider and as an administrator. His art is also heavily influenced by those experiences.

Larry is a “self-taught” artist. He began painting by accident, the result of a badly broken leg and subsequent recovery as a way to pass time. Early works were in Acrylic medium on paper, canvas, wood and nearly anything that would hold paint. His current medium of choice is oil on canvas, although some sketches are done in acrylic. Painting has moved from a pass time to a passion with a simple driving principle of displaying visually what moves him on the inside.

Larry Blecha Art: It's Never Too Late to Start... art show
Larry Belcha

The process of developing his artwork comes from his desire to express his inner thoughts and memories, long standing personal relationships and his drive to constantly improve his technique. Larry says “If art is an expression of one’s inner self, then my art is about the things I love. I have found I am in a process of discovery with my art in that each painting, sketch or drawing is about seeking a way to properly represent the people, places and things in my life that matter the most to me. Each piece represents a memory, a feeling or a sense of desire to reflect meaning visually. Often the ability to say what I want to say is limited by my skillset, which drives me to improve my ability to express myself with my chosen medium of oil paint on canvas. Each color choice, brush choice, composition, shape and ultimately, brush stroke is about how to represent the things I love and care most about. “

“The title of our show “Art: It’s Never too Late To Start…” really demonstrates what we at EngAGE stand for. We support and encourage lifelong learning through creativity therefore contributing to individual, community and public life,” says EngAGE program director and show curator Sara Debevec. “It has been very rewarding to watch Larry’s development even over the past couple of months in preparation for the show. It simply shows that through learning and discovering new passions, we never really grow old. The residents of the NoHo Senior Arts Colony embody this philosophy and demonstrate their active participation in creative expression through the artworks included in this exhibit. Some, of these artists have experienced a lifelong pursuit of creativity; others have discovered their artistic passions late in life. All are vibrant and engaged seniors who are empowered to share their artwork with the public, some for the first time.”

Alvin Fels has enjoyed the good fortune of being both an influential and visionary as a globally renowned footwear designer for 65 years. During that time, his talent as a fine artist grew as his love of shoe design blossomed. He has found the most fun painting Pop Art Footwear expressing how silly some women might be when purchasing shoes that really don’t fit and wearing them anyway.

Bert Sanders discovered painting literally “by accident.” When she was away with her daughter at a Bungalow Colony in Catskills, she fell and hurt her left wrist and ankle. An art teacher at the colony encouraged her to start painting which she continued to do through her injury. More than 40 years later, you can still find her painting in the studio of the NoHo Senior Arts Colony.

Deborah Holzel decided in her 50ss that she wanted to be an artist, having not taken drawing pencil to paper since the age of eleven. At that time her favorite subject was pretty ladies, but her current wish was to bring animals to life. She dabbled in every available medium before finding her passion in Sumi-e, the art of Asian brush painting.

Caroline McElroy grew her penchant for collaging and began to collage furniture, lamps, and walls and also continued to hone her instincts regarding form and function as it applied to creating collages from items that she collected during her travels. Some of Caroline’s accomplishment highlights are working with Joel Wachs, president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, on a few projects in Los Angeles, California; staged art shows each spring for several years at The Southwest Museum as an instructor for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Indian Education Program; held art shows in Montecito and Santa Barbara, California. She’s also published her book “Gallerie de Street Art: Paris.” Caroline is also a music maven and is a music blogger for

Larry Blecha Art: It's Never Too Late to Start... art show

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Lisa Bianconi
Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of


  1. Larry, your painting is beautiful! I would love to see more, do you have a website? We have two things in common – I also like to paint and my daughter and your son are “an item”. I hope you have an awesome turnout at your show!