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Watercolorist finds her niche

Artist celebrated in successful exhibit at Linden Ponds

Created date

September 12th, 2014
Nathlie Badian speaks to visitors at the opening reception of her exhibit in the Linden Ponds Art Gallery. Her painting Coneflower Meadow (far right) was featured in the exhibit but was not for sale.
Nathlie Badian speaks to visitors at the opening r

Two and a half years ago, Nathlie Badian knew nothing about watercolor painting. But she had fond recollections of attending weekly art classes as a child and illustrating stories told by her own children years later. Those memories were at the forefront of her mind when she retired from her professional career in educational psychology and moved to Ponds.

Shortly after her April 2012 move from Quincy, Mass., to the Hingham Erickson Living community, Nathlie joined a weekly watercolor painting class; it was the beginning of what would become a prolific pastime. This year, her work was featured in an exhibit in the Linden Ponds Art Gallery, where she sold a record number of paintings to benefit one of the community’s philanthropic funds.

Faithful to her purpose

Nathlie plunged into her new hobby when she joined the Thursday morning watercolor painting class taught by accomplished artist and teacher Burt Longenbach, who lives at Linden Ponds. Initially, she spent class time sketching and drawing, building a foundation on which to paint. 

At the onset, Nathlie says she didn’t even know watercolor paper existed. She credits Burt: “I’ve learned everything I know about watercolor painting from him, so I am grateful for his help.”

Nathlie’s painting took off when she purchased a digital camera that August. She had never owned her own camera, but with this she began capturing the natural beauty of her community, printing the photos herself, and using them as the basis for paintings that were truly a product of her artistic vision.

She is quick to point out that her true loyalty is to painting. “I only do photography as a means to aid painting,” she says. “Photography is not my main purpose; my main purpose is to paint.”

Beauty of Linden Ponds

Nathlie paints daily in her Linden Ponds apartment, with classical music playing and her four pet parrots looking on. She typically creates several paintings each week, which she brings to Burt’s watercolor class for critique. She estimates that she has painted around 400 paintings since moving to Linden Ponds.

Inspiration for Nathlie comes from the flowers, gardens, landscapes, and changing seasons at Linden Ponds. She has her own garden patch and regularly strolls by it and the other community gardens, snapping close-ups of the varied and bright blossoms.

For Nathlie, gardening is another extension of her artistry. “I love landscaping and trying to make my garden peaceful.” Her favorite is the purple coneflower, or Echinacea, which grows in her garden and hangs on her bedroom wall—in Coneflower Meadow, one of two paintings featured in her exhibit that weren’t for sale. 

Nathlie’s exhibit this spring was meant to capture the beauty of Linden Ponds in 30 paintings. Nathlie sold 16 paintings of the 28 that were for sale and opted to donate all earnings beyond the cost of materials to the Resident Care Fund.    

A few months after her featured exhibit, two of Nathlie’s paintings were part of a multi-artist exhibit in the gallery at Linden Ponds.

Smooth, social transition

Out of curiosity, Nathlie had visited Linden Ponds a few times while living in her house of 36 years in Quincy. She made the decision to move after the unexpected loss of her husband. When looking for an appropriate apartment, Nathlie’s priority was to find one that would comfortably house her pet parrots. 

Nathlie worked with one of Linden Ponds’ sales counselors, who eventually found an available two-bedroom apartment with a sunroom—a Patterson floor plan. The transition to life at Linden Ponds was smooth for Nathlie and her pets, who appreciate the company as she paints at the counter that separates the sunroom from the kitchen. 

Beyond her painting, Nathlie is a member of the Linden Ponds Opera Club, and she attends various classical music concerts held in the community. She also dines in one of the community’s restaurants most evenings. 

“I’ve gotten to know hundreds of people, and I enjoy the sociability,” she says. 

An enjoyable occupation

Long before Linden Ponds, home for Nathlie was New Zealand, where she was born and lived until age 21. She then sailed to England and spent 18 years there before spending a couple years with her husband in Italy. They arrived in the United States in 1968. 

Nathlie received her bachelor’s degree in classics and her first master’s degree in ancient Greek language. She went back to school in her 40s for another master’s and then a doctorate in educational psychology. She practiced in the field and completed many years of research until her move to Linden Ponds. 

It was a career Nathlie calls both exciting and challenging, but of painting, she says: “It’s made me very happy; it’s made me very content. Painting is just an enjoyable occupation. I really love it.”