Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Forever Friends

8"x10" oil
Shelburne Farms is the setting for this scene.  The balustrade is in the gardens overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains in NY state.  These women are some of the important women in my life.  I feel very blessed to have had so many wonderful females in my life, starting with my mother who was humble, sweet, nurturing, supportive and offered unconditional love.  She taught me to see the world in a joyful way and tried to teach me to not be swayed by silly things, opinions or people.  She was an artist and one of my dreams came true when she and I attended a Dreama Tolle Perry painting workshop together.  I miss her funny way of saying things, her passion for her family and her wonderful giggle.  She wasn't perfect, like the rest of us, but her faults have faded in my mind because her positive qualities overshadowed them.  I remember as a 12 year old hearing her story about her mother's death when she was 12 and thinking I could not go on without my mom.  It helped me start to see her amazing strength.  She couldn't read and would have been diagnosed with dyslexia if they had known what it was back then, and she was left-handed, another deficit.  She was one of 13 siblings and the school decided she was unteachable and was needed more at home rather than get an education.  She was ashamed about this, but I think it just goes to show what a resourceful woman she was.  She went to art school for a short time and joined the Navy as a bookkeeper because she was a wiz with numbers.  She was a talented mom to five kids and the true definition of great homemaker.  She felt insecure about her lack of education, but taught herself to read and educated herself and she and my dad both valued their children getting an advanced education.  I didn't know, until I was an adult, that my mom had been faking her way life because she couldn't read.  So many things made sense then, like: not ever reading to us when we were little, spending nights up reading when we were teens, and the way she wrote notes in beautiful penmanship but would always leave out words.  Vocabulary was important to my parents. My dad taught me the word "facetious,"  and he was a good example of that.  My mom taught me to use "flibbertigibbet," of which she was not at all!  Go Figure!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Tumbling

8"x10" oil  $200

Letting out a big sigh of relief right about now.  I just delivered well over 100 figurative paintings (including the one featured here)  to the Castleton Downtown Gallery for a show which opens the first of July.  Like so many things in life, getting ready for this show, aptly titled Go Figure, was fraught with many potential stumbling blocks. Rather than describing the mundane frustrations I have encountered, I will just say that it was a bit like the little tufted titmouse who repeatedly is flying into my window convinced that the image of a threatening competitor is real! Nothing too interesting or life altering in any of that, but it has brought to mind more important events that have changed the course of my life.  One of those was the arrival of my youngest son, Harry.  He arrived with that first name and a heartbreaking back story.  He was an abandoned baby, teeny weeny and clearly scared.  My memory of holding him for the first time was of him gripping my skin with his fingers and toes and holding himself on to me for dear life.  This is not normal behavior for a 6 month old who should be all soft and floppy.  This unprecedented early physical development, although the result of survival skills, has served him well.  He is a natural athlete and incredibly strong.  It took almost 12 years for the adoption to go through, but that day stands as one of the happiest in my life. I could, and probably should, write a book about all we have been through, but the happy ending to the story is that he is a handsome and successful adult who has a sweet and loving personality. Aside from my parents, he has done more to form the better parts of my character than anyone else.  It is easy for others to view our story and react by saying what a wonderful thing I have done for him.  But, truth be told, it really is the other way around....Go Figure! 
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