Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mom's Orange Sunset

My mom began oil painting when I was about five years old, and when I would return from school in the afternoons, she would be in the process of finishing a piece and arranging her makeshift kitchen table/studio back into its usual red or blue gingham tablecloth-covered self.  The smell of the turpentine she used to clean her paintbrushes instantly transports me to those afternoons, as do the voices of painting show hosts Bill Alexander and Bob Ross.  Their "happy little trees" were such a part of my childhood.  I can still hear the whippa-whippa-whippa as Mom's wide brush slapped back and forth against the canvases with the oils.  And how many times did I hear her comment that the only thing about oil was, it took the paintings forever to dry. . . .
Mom painted mountains and rivers and forest scenes and bodies of water.  Much later, by the time I was in high school, she would prefer painting in acrylics and would be selling her artwork--mostly landscapes and wildlife--in local shops and in both Farmington and Mystic, Connecticut, as well. 
While home a few months ago, I lamented that I hadn't saved any of her old paintings.  She had always sold them or given them as gifts, and it seemed such a loss that we had none of them--and not even pictures of any of them.  "Oh," she said looking pleased to have been asked, "I still have one canvas somewhere in the basement.  I don't know if it's in your colors, but you can have it if you want it."  She rummaged around downstairs for a few minutes before handing me this orange sunset. 
I treasure it, of course. 
Mom's paintings were beautiful, both in what they captured and in what they represent to me now:  My young mother--just-turned thirty--only thirty!  almost a decade younger than I am now--became interested in something, set out to learn how to do it, did it, and managed to do it without a proper or permanent work-space and while busy raising three young children.  My younger brother was only a newborn when she started, I was in kindergarten, and our older brother was around eight years old.  I think of my mom, getting us off to school, taking care of my then-baby brother, doing everything that needed to be done around the house, and still carving out the time to set up easel and paints in our little kitchen, only to disassemble it all each afternoon so she could be ready for us by the time we got home--and simply because it made her happy and she loved it. It mattered to her, and so, she made the time.  Beautiful. 


La Table De Nana said...

It is beautiful..I am glad you have it and appreciate it.
It really amazes me how grateful you are at such a young age.:)
Don't ever change.

Val said...

Thank you, Monique. That's an interesting observation too--Thank you. ♥

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a wonderful story to go with this lovely painting done by your mother.

Happy Val-entine's week ~ FlowerLady

Teresa Schubert said...

How lovely that you hold that sweet thought about your mom, and now you have a beautiful painting to go with it! Hope you have a wonderful week.
sugar, spice and whatever's nice

Marie Rayner said...

Val, what a wonderful treasure for you to have. I think it is priceless! I am with Monique. You are very grateful and at such a young age. You are special. Love you to bits! Loved reading about your mom. I can picture her doing these things as I read them. They were much the same as myself. No time to do anything at all before my five started school, and only limited time to do it once they had. But then . . . they were my focus in life. Time for everything else came much later in life. You have a fabulous Thursday! xoxo

Balisha said...

Val.....I was so touched by the beautiful bouquet that arrived this morning. I can't thank you enough. My morning wasn't going to well....and your flowers simply brightened a spot in my day.
I have enjoyed your writing...and was so impressed by your compassion for others....especially the work you do providing books for so many readers.You and I share a passion for so many things.
What a special person you are.
Love you, Balisha

Val said...

Lorraine, thank you. ♥

Teresa, thank you. 'Hope you're doing well.

Marie, yes, you get it. It's probably the story for so many moms. Thank you.

Balisha (I emailed you a few days ago, I know, but) thank you, and you're most-welcome. I treasure your words--and am glad you're writing on your blog again when you feel up to it. ♥

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story, Val. I, too, love that you mom made time and put effort into learning/doing something that mattered to her. Great quality in a personality!

And the piece you now have is lovely. I am happy there was one there for you to have as your own.


Val said...

Thank you, Lily. :)