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A colorful new career

Instead of retiring, Mountain View woman teaches art classes with her favorite medium, the iPad

Artist Caroline Mustard moved to Mountain View to retire, but that was before her son gave her an iPad. Five years later, the 71-year-old is busy teaching art classes and creating mixed-media artwork and drawings with the device.

Mustard, who is originally from England, said that when her son, a Silicon Valley technology executive, gave her an iPad, he downloaded the app Paper by FiftyThree. "He said, 'you might like this.' I started drawing." Mustard said.

It took all day to get used to drawing on a glass surface. After completing her first drawing on the iPad, she said, "I thought I had created a miracle, I was so excited."

Although she mostly uses an iPad, she has used other media in the past, as a scenic painter in Los Angeles. "What I love about the iPad is I can work fast and get done so quickly without a lot of stuff around me ... and without a huge expense," she said.

She said that recently, she makes mixed-media works by painting over top of her iPad paintings with acrylics.

When Mustard first started painting on the iPad, she posted her art on a Tumblr account. "I just kind of went viral and people were interested in me," she said.

Mustard described her style as "modern-day fauvism," a colorful precursor to abstract art, and said that she is influenced most by "the universe around me, what I see in front of my eyes. I'm an artist that goes from the outside-in as opposed from the inside-out."

"I am also very influenced by Japanese wood cuts and post-impressionist art. My biggest influence is Pierre Bonnard," Mustard said.

She said she believes that art is an "absolutely a vital part" of technology.

"We're not going to make it unless we start to encourage the creative part of our lives. What sets us apart from machines is our creativity. In the machine-learning age, creativity is vital. Art helps you problem-solve and think outside of the box," she said.

The Renaissance, she said, came about through the marriage of art and technology."

Accessibility to art is also important to Mustard. "Part of being an artist now is sharing and helping others, and being a community of creators."

She said that she is not interested in the art community that is focused on having a small group of rich people validate artists. What's featured in most art galleries is "just a bunch of dead white guys that had enough money and time ... I'm more interested in the guys in East Palo Alto and anywhere being able to create (art)."

Mustard also has a passion for empowering people of her age group, having recently led a workshop at the Mountain View Senior Center. She also teaches classes at the Mountain View Library and at the Community School of Music and Arts, where she is holding a couple of workshops and eventually will offer a full curriculum of iPad art. She also works with the Pacific Art League and Avenidas in Palo Alto, and teaches private classes. She also gives free workshops from time to time at the Mountain View Library.

Her next exhibition will be a group show in December at the ArtVentures Gallery in Menlo Park with iPad artists Jeremy Sutton, Adam James Butcher and Lisa Cirenza.

It brings her joy when someone who has never painted in their life is able to be proud of something they create, she said.

Mustard, who was planning on retiring four years ago when she moved to Mountain View, she finds that her youthful spirit comes from the work she does to keep herself busy and inspire others. "I believe that I'm younger than I've ever been."

More information is online at carolinemustard.com. Her art can be seen on Twitter at @ipadartist04 and on Instagram at @carolinem.

She also participated in the Mobile Digital Art & Creativity Summit at Tech Code in Mountain View. A live stream of the event will be available for a fee starting Sept. 16.

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