Al Kline is a trained foot and ankle surgeon who works out of Portland and Corpus Christi and has 25 years of clinical and surgical expertise.
One could surmise that he has surgery down to an art.
So to some it was no surprise that when in 2017 when he took up watercolor painting he was a natural. More than a natural, actually. Kline was good. Really good. And over the past few years he’s only gotten better, gaining recognition throughout the field and is now passing along his talents to anyone that wants to learn as the president of the Watercolor Society of South Texas.
But first let’s get back to why he picked up a brush in the first place.
“I said, you know I’d love to learn how to paint because I know I’m going to retire in three years, and I want to be able to do something when I do,” Kline said. “So that’s how it all started, it was really like a retirement thing.
“This is my first watercolor from 2017,” he said holding up a small watercolor painting of a green apple. “I just did an Apple to see if I could paint it and my daughter said, ‘You got to keep doing this.’
“So I just kept doing it,” he laughed.
“But you know what, I really dove into it the first two years. I was painting probably two or three paintings a day for two years straight. I was into it.”
Kline said that he did struggle to get back into drawing, a skill he needed in painting. While in school he was quite the artist but left it behind once he headed off to college. Basically he had to re-learn how to draw for his current artistic endeavor.
In 2018, just one year after starting watercolor painting, Kline was voted President of the 51-year-old Watercolor Society of South Texas.
Once he took over the mantle of president he was holding in-person classes at the Port Aransas Art Center until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Kline, not one to simply bow out from his new found love of painting, took it all online and kept on going.
“I thought, ‘Well how am I going to keep my students involved?’” he said. “So this is the way we do it now. We do Zoom classes which I announce on my Instagram (instagram.com/al_kline_watercolors).
Through the society he holds live classes every Sunday online and has several of them archived and available to members. His setup in his studio is quite impressive with lights, camera and tablet mounts surrounding his work station to insure his students get the best possible experience.
“We actually built up our watercolor society with these zoom workshops from about 25 members to 90 members, who are from all over the world now,” Kiline said. “We have people from Canada, the UK, Germany and even some from Switzerland and Sweden – everywhere.”
Anyone whishing to join the society can visit www.wsstx.org and do so for a yearly payment of just $35 and get access to everything Kline has done so far.
He has also joined the list of well-known watercolor artists that holds workshops all over the world through online streaming platforms, most recently holding one for a shopkeeper out of London.
There are even sketchbook companies that have heard of his work and send him their products so he can test them out, which he doesn’t seem to mind as he has stacks of sketchbooks in his office. Each one is full of amazing watercolor paintings that are simply just practice. Some of that work can be seen on his Instagram page and www.albertkline.com as well.
Kline will be attending the Rockport Art Festival Fourth of July weekend where he will be selling his work and plans to go on a painting trip with another watercolor artist to Croatia in June.
While he’s unsure of when he will actually retire from his medical practice, the one thing that is certain is that painting is in his future for the long haul.
“Where is it going take me?” he asked. “I don’t know. Nobody knows. I think you just have to keep doing it and whatever happens, happens.
“I mean, some people tell me that my art is going to change as I discover different influences, but I think that’s a good thing.
“Eventually I want to just do this full time. Whether people buy my art isn’t that important to me really. To me it’s just the pleasure of doing it and creating something nice.”