The inspiration for the above painting titled “1959 Revisited” came from these wonderful toys recently rediscovered in my husband’s childhood home. Stored in the attic for nearly 50 years these colorful plastic and metal playthings have been resurrected and now enjoy a new friendship with our four year old grandson, Otto. Without the benefit of preconceived notions, Otto’s cowboys give native american indians a ride to work in the old battered metal truck. The Civil War soldiers are employed as doctors who care for WWII soldiers after they have fallen off a cliff while hiking. Spacemen build houses and firepits for their neighbors so that they can share a meal of blue flying fish together. I watch him play and participate while allowing him to guide me through his plastic new world. Guns are drawn when Zombies begin to attack the village.
A piece of my husband’s past is now becoming a part of what will someday be Otto’s childhood memories. Those old family photos, grandmother’s finely tatted lace and great-grandmas comfort food are the things we display and hold dear. Most importantly, we pass them along and share the stories that go with them. One lifetime inevitably folds into another and hopefully, when a great grandchild is someday wondering where his icy blue eyes or dark red hair came from, he will have an answer and a story to accompany it.
I am working on a new painting that will include my maternal Grandmother’s depression-ware dishes. I never met her and have only seen one photo of her. She passed away when my Mother was young so there were no stories to share. Honoring her legacy in a painting is all that I can do and I like to believe that she would be pleased. It is not the first time that I have incorporated a meaningful family heirloom into my work and it won’t be the last. From the studio…..painting and passing it on.