Monday, February 11, 2008

How Did I Get Here? Where Am I Going? Part II



I recently realized that I never called my grandparents by those names that grandchildren normally call their grandparents. There was Maw and Paul (Paul being my step-grandfather. We called my father’s father "Daddy’s Daddy" and pretty much left it at that. We didn’t talk about him too often. Any art inspired by him would be fairly grim). Then there was Teddy (short for Theresa) and Guy.

A trip to Teddy and Guy’s house was a bit more subdued than a trip to Maw and Paul’s house (as described in last Monday’s post). However, there was plenty there to interest a young child. I was pretty much allowed to play anywhere, except my Grandfather’s room.

In the attic was an old coal-burning stove, recently out of commission and replaced. It featured in my nightmares for years to come. It was a large, black, multi-armed (a couple of pipes sticking out) monster. I loved it and feared it at the same time. My sister and I used to dare each other to go in the little slanted room and touch it.

My Grandmother’s closet was filled with water-colored 1960’s grandmotherly dresses. I loved to trace the patterns on them. My Grandmother thought I was a bit odd, as she often caught me fondling her dresses. Her top dresser drawer was filled with dozens of bars of guest soaps from all kinds of exotic sounding hotels from far-flung lands such as Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. Needless to say, I spent hours arranging these soaps into different patterns.

I loved to visit the bathroom. My Grandfather thought I was a bit odd, as I was caught a couple of times arranging his bottles of shaving cream and aftershave. Once again, busted for experimenting with color. I loved those shades of amber and aqua.

My Grandfather’s TV chair was covered with an old striped beach towel. It was probably my favorite textile as a child. Yes, I had limited exposure to finer textiles. I’m sure the towel was there to prevent the chair from being stained from my Grandfather’s hair cream (Fop? Dapper Dan?). I always saw it as a design statement.

Then there was the kitchen with its vivid red Formica table. That thing would be worth a fortune today! I loved to arrange the (pretty much unused) bottles of orange, ochre, rust, and brown spices against the red table.

The property was a graphic delight for me. Hidden stepping stones. Pink Sweet Peas. The yellow house viewed against the huge green barn or the mysterious orange shed.

The photo above is an acrylic painting called "Mysterious Orange Shed." When I decided to experiment with paint last spring, I painted memories of my Grandmother’s yard. I think I was only allowed into the mysterious orange shed once. Filled with jars, broken chairs & Heaven knows what). The crows represent all of my strange relatives. My Grandmother’s sister and her children. They would gather at my Grandparent’s house each Christmas. Once they all got to talking, they sounded like a yard full of crows.

All of this just to let you know that inspiration is truly everywhere.

Tune in next Monday to learn how I was scarred from not having my artwork on the fridge.

1 comment:

self taught artist said...

enjoyable post kim...interesting and vivid. thanks for sharing some of what inspired you as a child. look fwd to the next exerpt.