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Art broadens the palette of retired physician

Dr. Lloyd Backus has developed his painting skills since he retired from Raiter Clinic over 20 years ago. His watercolor paintings, such as the one shown here, will be featured at a gallery showing in Duluth this month.

Dr. Lloyd Backus retired over 20 years ago, but that doesn’t mean he stopped working. Soon after he put down the stethoscope, he picked up his new operating tools — a paintbrush and a blank canvas.

After taking some starter courses, his journey into the art world began.

“I keep learning new things as I go along,” said Backus. “I’m just having fun with my retirement.” Backus primarily paints in watercolor, a technique in which the paint is mixed with water, providing a smooth, transparent quality to the art.

Backus plunged full-force into his hobby. Until recently, Backus averaged around 150 to 200 paintings every year, keeping his favorites and trashing the rest.

“But with my eyesight starting to go, I’ve cut back a bit,” Backus admitted. “I paint 40 to 50 pieces a year now.”

His artwork is scattered around the area, from houses to business lobbies. Some of his pieces have also been donated to local organizations and hospital foundations.

Backus used to be part of the Lake Superior Watercolor Society, and is still a member of the Arrowhead Art Club.

“Painting has introduced me to many amazing individuals,” said Backus with a chuckle. “I’ve found that artists tend to be pretty nice people.

“It’s been a great retirement. My wife, Jan, has been really supportive, and it keeps me busy,” Backus concluded. “It’s really about having fun. And you don’t need to be retired to do it, anyone can pick up a brush and start painting.”

Backus is the featured artist for July at the Just for the Season Gallery. The Duluth gallery is hosting showings of his watercolors all month, from July

2-31. The showcase exhibits 15 of Backus’ original paintings.

In addition, the gallery is hosting a reception from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, July 16, when people can meet Backus and also view his work. Just for the Season Gallery is located in the Holiday Center, 207 W. Superior St., Duluth.

For more information, call the gallery at

218-722-1140 or email justfortheseasons@gmail.