The wrinkled hands of artist Herbert E. Fain may shake a little due to age and Parkinson’s disease, but after 77 years, they still make beautiful music.
When Fain picks up his favorite violin and puts it to his chin, he warns that he doesn’t play as well as he used to, yet his passion for music pours forth with every note.
Fain, better known as Buster, has been playing and making violins since he was 13 years old. Several of the instruments he has crafted are proudly displayed throughout his home.
“I’ve always been a stickler for workmanship,” says Fain, who as a boy swept the shop of his mentor, a violin-maker named Glidewel in Wichita Falls.
“I got to see what Mr. Glidewel did and how he did it,” Fain says. “It was a challenge for me to see if I could make a violin after watching him.”
Fain opened his own shop before joining the Air Force in World War II. He earned his living by making and repairing violins and violas, and by playing the trombone as first chair in Oklahoma City’s symphony orchestra.
Love for violins and his wife Jeanie eventually led Fain to discover another talent – painting.
Jeanie wanted a picture of a violin, but no artist could satisfy Fain’s meticulous eye for craftsmanship. He decided to paint Jeanie’s violin himself.
Fain began oil painting in 1964 and now has a studio filled with landscapes and seascapes behind his house. His work is exhibited at Art Encounter in Northlake Shopping Center.
“I enjoy my painting and my music,” he says. “I think God has been good to me.”