By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) — When you walk into Lankenau Hospital’s cardiac unit, you’ll see some beautiful artwork: a series of four panels called “Springtime.”

This is just one of the many artworks on display around our area by 97-year-old Philadelphia artist Bernice Paul.

“I’m excited by everything,” she says.


(Bernice Paul, working on a painting.  Photo provided)

(Bernice Paul, working on a painting. Photo provided)


Paul came to Philadelphia from Russia, through Ellis Island, during the Depression, when the Nazis were coming to power in Europe.

“It wasn’t of our choosing, but we had to escape,” she says.

Paul did not start painting until she was 30. She took classes and became so accomplished that she began to teach art classes.  And people wanted to buy her artwork.


(Some examples of Bernice Paul's artwork.  Images provided)

(Some examples of Bernice Paul’s artwork. Images provided)


She says her inspiration is everywhere.

“Just looking out the window, there are so many beautiful things,” she tells Positively Philadelphia!   “The skies alone, you can spend a lifetime.”

And she says life is dramatically different from when she was growing up.

“You didn’t have a telephone — you had to go either to the drugstore, or you had a party line,” she recalls.  She finds other modern inventions equally notable. “The GPS is unbelievable — it tells you how to go forward, how to go backward, and the address where you are going.”

And on her two web sites you can see her artwork, where the last line of her posted biography on one says, “In her spare time, Bernice wrestles alligators.”  It could be true.

Hear Lauren Lipton’s extended interview with Bernice Paul in this CBS Philly podcast (runs 12:34)…


So, stay tuned for what is coming when she turns 98, this coming April!  For this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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