Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mothering Day

My exploration into the world of art probably began at about the age of 10 with a series of portfolio-like books called Art Treasures of the World by Abrams Art Books. There were 15 volumes of oversized, softcover books with individual color plates that were tipped in rather than printed on the page. Since the plates were on coated paper, the colors and reproduction quality were excellent. At 10 I may not have noticed those details, but as someone who loved to draw and "color" I remember being in awe of the beautiful, realistic images. I was amazed such detailed images could be created by hand, with paint! It sure didn't work with crayons.

These books may have been Reader's Digest selections, but I suspect a door-to-door salesman made the introduction. In those days my mom didn't drive, so door-to-door salesmen were lucky to find her: an eager customer. And I was even luckier.

Each volume featured the work of a single artist. The set focused mainly on Impressionists, but also included El Greco (whose dark elongated figures scared me) and Modigliani and Picasso (who my wise, 10 year-old self thought needed a few more drawing lessons). Favorites were Van Gogh, Degas and Toulouse Lautrec (precursor to my future graphic design interest, perhaps). I poured over these books and in later years remember surprising a Junior High art teacher by recognizing the work of Utrillo.
impressionist artist resource

I'm really not sure how much time my mother spent perusing art books. Whatever leisure time she had was after we seven kids were in bed (more about that here). But she introduced me to fine art, in my own home, and somehow that made it feel possibly possible. The books are gone and Mom's memory is feeble and it's too late to ask how important these volumes may have been to her. I can only give her credit for this initial inculcation which has stayed with me. Recently I found copies of two of the volumes in an antique store. I hold them as reminders of Mom's first gentle push toward my artistic journey.

On this Mother's Day thoughts of nurturing turn toward artists. Making artwork is risky. It's very personal and we generally aspire to something greater than we feel capable of achieving. Not to mention the fact that it's usually/eventually done in a somewhat public manner. We make personal images and say, "Look!" Scary stuff.

So it's heartwarming when artists mother one another and I'm pleased to say it happens often. Sure, there are those who anxiously guard their inside info and "tricks of the trade," but more often I'm finding artists who recognize that we are all swimming in the same water and we have the ability to help one another stay afloat with encouragement and shared experiences. We can mother each other without loosing a piece of ourselves. In fact, if you love art it's an honor to help another artist make this world a more beautiful and meaningful place. We all win.

Happy Mother's Day to all you nurturing souls!

stuffed penguin toy, penguin, stuffed puppy, dog, yellow lab, mutsy
Pup & Penguin - who nurtured Tessa & Hamo... & Clara

Thank you for joining me on my art journey.

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