Werner Liepolt Picks Up Painting

Some folks retire with no clue what comes next.

Werner Liepolt was not one of them.

After 42 years as an English teacher at Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools, he knew immediately what he wanted to do.

His daughter Jordan — a Rhode Island School of Design graduate, working now as director of design for an international textile company — had left boxes of art material in her parents’ home.

She thought no one would use them.

But Liepolt — whose previous art experience consisted of doodling during English department meetings — did not want the supplies to just sit there.

He pulled out 2 boxes of pastels, and enrolled in Tom Brenner’s course at the Silvermine Arts Center.

Liepolt drew upon his Bridge Street neighborhood, his garden, his hiking experiences in Maine and the Adirondacks, and boating on Long Island Sound. He loved those places, and wanted to show them to others.

The Bridge Street Bridge inspired this work by Werner Liepolt.

Early recognition came at Seven Arts Gallery in Ridgefield. Fellow Westport teacher Paul Fernandez included 5 of Liepolt’s botanical illustrations in a show.

Liepolt — a longtime visitor to Mount Desert Island — submitted several pastel works to a juried competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Land & Garden Preserve there. Two were accepted. They’ll be shown starting Tuesday (August 8).

Great Marsh in Acadia National Park, by Werner Liepolt.

He also participated in an invitation plein air “Paint the Adirondacks” conference with 80 top artists at Lower St. Regis Lake.

Underneath his daughter’s boxes of pastels, Liepolt found water colors. Last spring, he began studying with Kristie Gallagher at Silvermine.

He notes, “I’ve had the good fortune to teach in a community that supports good education. I’ve found a receptive audience for my plays and screenwriting, and am enjoying the rewards of expressing my take on the world through visual expression.”

Werner Liepolt at work.

As an undergraduate, Liepolt heard John Cage speak. The composer cautioned students not to succumb to a corporate job.

“What will you do when there is no one to tell you what to do?” he asked.

Perhaps paint.

Werner Liepolt painted his son fishing in the Rockies.

13 responses to “Werner Liepolt Picks Up Painting

  1. That’s a very inspiring story! – Chris Woods

  2. Nice work, Werner. Love the bridge!

  3. Bonnie Bradley

    Wonderful, Werner! You’re living my dream…

  4. John F. Suggs

    Lovely paintings Werner. You are an inspiration.

  5. Impressive work. And the story reminds me of my late father-in-law, a beloved Marcus Welby-type doctor who practiced medicine until he was 80 but, unlike Werner, was concerned about what would fill his time when he retired. He too took up painting and also did beautiful work. It brought him great joy.

  6. Mary Cookman Schmerker '58

    Fantastic work, Awe inspiring Looks like he is joining the ranks of former presidents and people like Grandma Moses. Keep up the work and we will be reading about you and biding on your work.

  7. Nancy Hunter

    I’ve been trying to translate your favorite saying (Stapelite ’76): “nun wir jetzt in der Sche is weider.”

  8. Another great Westport Artist is discovered! Beautiful!

  9. These are lovely, Werner!!!

  10. I have greatly enjoyed following your budding artistic career, Werner. Your work conveys the delight you feel in the places you know. Kudos!

  11. Thomas Duquette

    Who knew Werner was so artistically gifted?! He was a great influence on me and is largely responsible for my ability to craft a coherent thought and put it in writing. He also encouraged me to enjoy fine literature beyond popular fiction (and not just rush to buy the ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version). His English classes were always creatively taught and enlightening. So glad he’s enjoying his retirement.

  12. Melinda Hemson Dubowsky

    I had Mr. Leipolt my senior year for English (’88) and through an association with his wife and daughter through Girls Scouts also babysat for the family for a little while. He was in inspiration in the classroom as well as outside of school and still is.
    Mr. Leipolt, these are phenomenal! What incredible talent!

  13. Patricia Cronin

    This 1977 graduate of Staples High School is pleased to know that Mr Leipolt ,one memorable English teacher, is thriving in the art world.