I’m going to attempt to talk about my growth as an artist here, if that’s what I am. I mean, I am. I think I always have been . . . seen things the way an artist “sees” them; the pastel colors of a winter sunrise on the snow; the lavender in the bark of the trees when the leaves have all fallen and the branches are bare; the chartreuse color of hope in the early spring.
This painting of my oldest daughter Ruth, is how it restarted at 65 after 23 years of not touching a brush or thinking about painting. But after 40 years of parenting and 43 years of marriage (as of June 2016), the nest is empty, so here we go.
My children have bugged me for years to start painting again. But, between work, family, homeschooling, volunteering etc. where was I to find the time? Well, “timing is everything.” Days after my last adult child moved out for Chicago, I received a text from a dear friend of mine, Tami. Not knowing my history as a wannabe artist, she asked if I would join her in a watercolor class. We both needed the therapy and the company. During the first lesson we were assigned to bring a project to work on back to class the next week. I knew right away exactly what I was going to do.
25 years ago I started a painting of my daughter Ruth. I still had the original sketch and photograph image dated 1981. Ruth is now 41 years old. At the time I originally started, she was in high school. The picture is of her when she was 4 up in an apple tree in the back yard . . . Day Dreaming. It captures the essence of her melancholy thoughtfulness.
I am so proud of the woman she has become. She runs a summer youth program for the Center for Talent Development at North Western University in Evanston, Illinois. She’s a big girl now, but the essence is the same; thoughtful, critical, discerning. Painting this memory of her was a joyful reminiscence.
I was never more than a hobbyist. My formal training amounts to one beginning watercolor class that I took in 1980 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and the beginning watercolor class that I took many years later in September of 2015. My desire to grow has been renewed. So, I’m ready to give it a go.
Next, one of Ruth’s favorite people, her nephew and my grandson, Ridgley Hayes: