Former educator Sam Botkin exhibits vibrant paintings at a show at the Paseo Arts Space 

"The Evolution of an Artist"
Paseo Art Space, 3022 Paseo
Ongoing, through March 31
525-2688

For Sam Botkin, art is about having fun.

"I have fun with my art and my art has fun with me," he said.

Botkin doesn't have a formal background in art. In fact, he taught math all of his life. After he retired, he decided to spend his time with an old hobby: painting. Two years later, Botkin debuted the work at his "The Evolution of an Artist" show, which opened last week at the Paseo Art Space, 3022 Paseo.

Botkin said his work isn't defined by a genre. He's inspired to paint many things, from works rooted in realism to pieces that reflect whimsical fantasy. But as he improved his painting skills over time, Botkin discovered that he didn't enjoy painting reality.

"It isn't what I am," he said. "I'm about chaos and mayhem. In the past few years, I spent some time in Mexico. Some of the artists there have inspired me with their turmoil."

While he is unsure of his future with painting, he said that no matter what happens, everything will be all right as long as art is involved.

"I live art. I don't do art," he said. "It will take me where it takes me. That's the goal of my life. My art is a big part of it." The exhibit is on display through March 31. For more information, call 525-2688. "?Luke Atkinson

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