One of my very earliest memories as a child is of an afternoon with my mother. We were in the basement sitting at a child’s picnic table my parents must have brought in for the winter. We were painting with water colors. My recollection is that the paints were those simple child paints you could buy at the dime store. I don’t know where my brothers were. I just remember my mother sitting with me and painting together.
My mother was an artist. She majored in Art at college and taught briefly but didn’t like it. When I came along, however, she took it upon herself to teach me a little about art. We painted and drew with pencil a lot. She taught me about the proportions for drawing the human form, let me try my hand at drawing still life, and she showed me how to use fun tools like tracing paper and pastels and oil paints. I remember she drew some paper dolls for me in late childhood. I was crazy about Betty and Veronica in the Archie comic books, so she drew me a paper doll Betty and a paper doll Veronica, only they looked far better than the comic book versions. Then she showed me how to design and decorate my own paper doll clothes for those dolls. I wish I still had those paper dolls! They were special.
I learned to see things from my mother. I learned to see how color comes work, and I learned to see how patterns fit together. It was quite a gift she gave me. I find beauty in surprising places because my mother taught me to see with the eyes of an artist – at least a little bit.
I find myself thinking about my mom this weekend. She will be 93 next month and although she doesn’t see as well as she once did, she is still sharp, and I value my time with her. I hope you are thinking about your mom and giving thanks for the unique ways she contributed to your life.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend,
Hear, my child, your father’s instruction,
and do not reject your mother’s teaching;
for they are a fair garland for your head,
and pendants for your neck. Proverbs 1: 8-9
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