- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

OLYPHANT, Pa. (AP) - Don Fatzinger spent most of his long life working as a graphic artist-for-hire.

The work was fulfilling. “But what I really wanted to do was paint,” he said.

It took him until his mid-70s, but he finally got there.

A huge believer in the adage that it’s never too late to follow one’s passion, the 79-year-old Olyphant resident has spent the past several years fully engaged in the life of the artist.

Working mostly in pastels and acrylics, Fatzinger’s work is deeply inspired by the impressionistic art of Vincent Van Gogh. His diverse subject matter includes landscapes, seascapes, sports scenes, portraits of historical figures and life among the Amish.

“I’ve got about five different markets,” he said.

Fatzinger paints about two or three days a week, then spends the remainder of it concentrating on the business end of his art, whether dealing with his printing company, revamping his website, sending submissions to national publications or direct mailing hospitals and banks that might be in the market for some fresh art for their walls.

His original works run between $400 and $500, while his prints range from $49 to $80. His paintings are also available via a line of greeting cards and calendars.

Locally, he’s starting to get noticed more. About 35 of Fatzinger’s paintings are on display at three Lackawanna County libraries - Albright Memorial, Library Express at the Mall at Steamtown and Taylor Community Library.

“My paintings are getting better, and I’m enjoying myself,” Fatzinger said on a recent day at his apartment-studio, every room of which teems with art. “Every day is a full day. You’re always involved in marketing yourself. But it’s very rewarding.

“When I’m painting, I’m in another world.”

A Taylor native, Fatzinger spent a good part of his childhood drawing.

In his early 20s, he moved to Washington, D.C., in pursuit of a career with an artistic bent. Eventually, he landed at the National Security Agency (NSA), spending nearly 20 years there as a graphic artist.

Meanwhile, he reveled in the art and culture available to him in D.C.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said.

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