Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mom and Art

This is my beautiful, fun-loving and creative Mom, Annie
Here is a Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead in Mexico which honours one's deceased loved ones with joy, light and celebration)Shrine I sent up at the Indianapolis Art Center to honour my Grandmothers Sally and Gingie and my Great Auntie Fagella complete with monotype portraits I did of each of them(of course they needed to be wearing super glamorous clothing and tiaras!) and photographs, their favourite makeup products, Russian Chocolates and Tea, and some Love Letters from me.
This is a painted portrait I did of my Mom and Dad on their Wedding Day for their 40th Wedding Anniversary which was a few years ago. To me, they still look just like this and they will always have these huge smiles! It made me so happy that this portrait brought tears to my Mom's eyes and surprised my Dad. It is because of them that I am trying my best to make art!

More Motherly things-Little Us in the Snow, Pretty Fleurs and My favourite Ladies all together~
So, it is almost too late for this. It is late in the day. But it is American Mother's Day today. My Mom is the real creative one. She doesn't call it creative though. She just calls it making what you need. You need a skirt? You better learn to sew. You are bored? Then pick up a pencil and some paper and draw in the woods all day. When I are a little older, she gave me some watercolour paints-the $3.00 kind you get at any store. In school, my 2 sisters and I were alwasy having to make some kind of project and she was always on board to help us. We could always count on her and that was huge.
My Mom is also a fabulous Model for me to take photos of!

My Mom turns 1 year old! And, my twin Jer and I were pushed in that same black pram!

My Mom, the pretty ballerina and hot College Girl at Daytona Beach!
My Mom with the 3 of us making "Natural Art" as in old fashioned Mud Pies. My twin Jer holds one out for our Dad to photograph while My Mom holds little sister Kimi and I play with her hair.

But, it wasn't just her. My Dad made things too. He took wonderful photographs and gave me my first little camera. He quickly saw how much I liked it so he moved me up to a 1969 Pentax 35 mm manual camera that I will always love.
My Dad as a tiny baby boy smelling his "blankey" with his cousin and as a tough Army guy.
My Mom and Dad at an Engagement Party and My Dad escorting me to one of My Art Show Openings
And, where would my mom be without her Mom? Laughing Water(aka Sally, we called her Nonnie) had gorgeous jet black hair and deep black eyes. She made everything too and not so much because it was always fun, but because she lived through the Great Depression and WWII and she had to. This idea of "Save Everything and make it yourself" definitely went on to my Mom and then to my sisters and me. It didn't always work and it wasn't always fun. My Mom's family wasn't rich and my Mom told me the story of trying to make her dream dress for a fancy dance. She couldn't get it right and got so frustrated that she flushed it down the toilet! Well, that just made everything worse-plumbing wise too. They also had fabulous vegetable gardens, fruit trees, flower gardens and my Grandfather even made a loom to weave rugs out of bread bags during the war(this Grandfather was too old for WWII being 50 when my mom was born). Everyone just painted and drew as well. My Grandfather(Pop) set up a dark room in the basement so he could print his own photographs as well. They all had it going on!
A friend of mine models Nonnie's Wedding Gown that she made for herself. It is made of dark blue silk velvet with burgundy silk velvet trim and a matching little cap. It is just gorgeous!

There are also stories of Nonnie trying her best to cook with nothing and it not working out and how the whole pie/cake/whatever going flying out the window while my funny Grandfather tried to catch it. My Mom always tells me that I come from a long line of "Throwers" Ha!
Jer and Me as little girls and Me and Jer dressed up for Halloween as well, bigger girls.

And, then there is my Dad's Mom-the lovely and hilarious Leila Virgina aka "Gingie aka "Mom". She had 4 sisters and they all looked alike-very tiny with very curly red hair, fair skin and freckles and big smiles. During WWII, they all moved into the big family house and took care of everyone's families together. They all sewed to make clothes, knitted to make sweaters, had gardens for flowers and vegetables, did needlepoint to decorate the house and on and on. I loved visiting that house-so full of magic and laughter. My Mom said that the first time she met her future Mother-In-Law she very worried as all the sisters looked so much alike!
Sassy Gingie in her High School Graduation photo and a photo of me which shows that I do like plaid and the curly red hair thing.
Little Us-Jer, Kimi, and me. My Mom made these dresses for us as she did so many. They would all start out as long dresses with long sleeves. Then, as we grew, they would become shorter dresses with short or cap sleeves. The next step was a little sundress and finally a mini skirt and vest! I also loved wearing my hair like this. The braid is still strong with me.

Well, now there is my twin sister. She has 2 little boys who are 3 and 6. She works a fulltime high stress job since this world is CRAZY! You would think she would never have time to do anything creative with her boys but wait. Just this morning my 6 year nephew called me screaming. It turns out that Mommy had drawn out an amazing treasure map that looked just like the one that Indiana Jones and Mutt used. She told Zach and his brother Sky to put on their Indiana Jones and Mutt clothes and to take the map to the sandbox. My twin had drawn all kind of "scary things" on the map like quick sand, poisonious darts and other dangers. As the boys went on their quest, Jer made like 20 costumes changes too to match these dangers. The boys made it through each trial and what did they find? A Crystal Skull that lights up! They were so excited that they didn't realize that Jer had taken a clear skull for trick or treating and stuck a light stick in it. So, creativity won again and made my nephews day(well week or month or more!). This is so much like something my Mom would have planned out and done for us.
This is what Zach looks like when he is super excited!
Some handsome boys and their Auntie and Me holding a little Sky.

So, now the cheesy bit. Thank you Moms, Grandmothers, Aunties, Great Aunties, Grandads, Dads, Uncles, Friends, and more for teaching me whatever you did about making things which is really what "ART" is and ART is what I love.
My painter teacher and one of my special folks Leo.
My Printmaking Professor and all around beloved dear friend Barbara Elam.
My Classy and Sassy Great Aunt Fagella in NYC circa 1920s and with me as I give her a doll I made for her which included pieces of her favourite vintage jewelry.

5 comments:

CatHerder said...

what a great post merle...LOVE the pics. Your mom is gorgeous, now i see where you get your good looks! :-) hope you had a great mothers day

Lena said...

What a beautiful family you have Merle.
I adore looking at the pictures you posted. You have a remarcable family and that's why you are so lovely and special!

RowanDeVoe said...

Thank you both! I am such a weird mix of these incredible ladies. They all were so beautiful, talented and confident and from all over that I am such a mutt! I hope you both had a wonder Mother's Day!
love, merle

Heather said...

Aw, I love all these beautiful photos and stories! I can see a lot of Gingie in you :)
You come from a long line of beauties!~

RowanDeVoe said...

Thanks Heather! I think I am a crazy mix! I have no idea how my mom turned out as a blue-eyed blonde! They are all beauties for sure as well as being so clever, talented and super funny! I just remember tons of laughing and my Nonnie did this great eye roll-I have that!