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From professor to painter: Creating a new career into your 70s

One of Winifred Breines watercolor paintings

By Janice Elizabeth Berte, Contributing Writer

For over 25 years, Professor Winifred “Wini” Breines stood in front of a large group of young adults to teach sociology and women’s studies at Boston’s Northeastern University. She enjoyed teaching, but as she came closer to retirement, she felt a strong urge to tap into her creative side, and turned to painting.

Breines always had her hand in the arts – she made handmade birthday cards for family and friends. So it was only natural that when she retired, at 66, she decided to try her hand at watercolor painting. Without any prior experience, she learned the fine art of painting with watercolors by attending classes at the Brookline Art Center, and reading numerous books and magazine articles on the subject.

“I felt possessed with the desire to visually represent, in beautiful watercolor, fruits and vegetables in bowls and plates on kitchen tables,” Breines said. “There is something about lighted round fruits of vibrant colors, such as oranges and tomatoes, combined with blues, usually found in ceramics, fabric and kitchen tables. And for me it represents a promise of the pleasures of food, kitchens, community and peacefulness.”

All of her work is done inside spending hours per day using a transparent palette and technique with color, light and shadow created by the sun outside.

While Breines created a plethora of paintings over the past nine years, her confidence grew and so did the popularity of her work. Her pieces are now displayed from Boston to California, and she won second place in the 2017 National Cape Cod Art Association Show for water media.

As people became more interested in her artwork, she admitted, “I initially had a hard time letting go of my pieces at first,” but she knew that they would bring happiness to the new owners.

Now, at 75, Breines has artwork displayed at Boston City Hall at the offices of the City Council, the Cape Cod Art Association in Barnstable, and the National Watercolor Society exhibit in San Pedro, Calif.

For more information about Breines’ work and upcoming shows, visit or


One of Winifred Breines watercolor paintings.

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