When Westport's Leonard Karp retired in 2009, he took up painting. At first, Karp dabbled in watercolor painting for about six years. He didn't paint at all for four years and then three years ago, he began painting with oil paint.

Karp retired at 66 years old after spending his adult life working in the furniture industry, mainly retail sales. Since his retirement, Karp has found a sort of calling in his artistry.

Two years ago, Karp said he "decided to offer free oil portraits to those who lost loved ones as a way to honor their memories."

"It has a lot of meaning to many people," he said. "You could call it a random act of kindness. I feel this is a way I can give back."

Karp has done a number of portraits for folks through the Westport Senior Center.

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He calls his home studio "Famous Faces Studio."

"When I'm not painting for others I paint portraits of famous people, singers, actors, etc., I recently painted a portrait of Mother Theresa," he said.

Karp said he and his wife are former dog owners. "I know how painful it is" to lose a pet, Karp said. So he paints free portraits of deceased pets for people as well – but his specialty is people.

"It's amazing how grateful people are when they receive their portraits," he said.

At 79 years old, Karp plans to enter some of his work in the local art shows in the near future.

Courtesy Leonard Karp
Courtesy Leonard Karp

Anyone interested in receiving one of Karp's free oil portraits of a deceased loved one can phone (774) 309-3184 or email LRKARP8819@gmail.com.

"I will explain what I need to paint a portrait," he said.

He said the photos he would need to do the portrait can be emailed. The whole process takes about three weeks.

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