Editor's note: The E-T asked readers to submit names of good neighbors and interesting people to be featured in a new summer series called "Meet your neighbor." The feature will run every Thursday all summer long. If you have someone you would like us to consider, email suggestions to news@empiretribune.com.

Opal Black didn't have a hair out of place when she sat down for a photo and a short chat at her lovely home in Stephenville Tuesday.

And that comes as no surprise to Irma Harrington who nominated Black for this story.

"She is so inspiring, not only as an artist but as a human being," Harrington said. "She is kind and compassionate and has been motivating to me because she is so persevering."

Black has been teaching art enthusiasts how to paint for more than 35 years. Harrington is one of her many students who take weekly classes.

Surrounded by her paintings, Black talked about how her love of art began at a young age and flourished into adulthood.

"My mother was a musician, but I always loved art," she said. "I babysat to pay for my art lessons and I was fortunate to have a very good teacher when I was young."

Black grew up in East Texas, where she met and married her husband George.

The couple had two children and moved in the early 1960s to Stephenville where George worked as a civil engineer.

Through the years, and with the support of her husband, Black continued to study art in fascinating places like the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy where she often traveled with her family.

When her children started school, Black began teaching private art lessons.

And more than 35 years later, she is still doing what she loves.

Every Thursday, Black teaches two painting classes at The Apple Tree, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, with the exception of summer when she takes a break.

Painting and learning is something Black says she will never get tired of doing.

"I still do a lot of studying," she said. "I will never stop learning more about art."