My mom was an artist. She could do it all. From refinishing furniture to designing her own quilts. From wallpapering to flower arrangements. From interior decorator to tole painter.
I possess what I believe to be the first tole painting that she painted, other than the practice ones. Most of her paintings she signed and dated. This one has no date, so it had to be one of the originals from the very early 70's when she first started her painting. It's always been my favorite picture. If you look carefully, you can see where she took a sharpie pen and created wallpaper for the background of the picture. It was those type of details that she added to her work that made them unique and special.
My mom didn't limit herself to painting on wooden boards. That would be way too boring. If it could be painted on, it was painted on. She painted on furniture, on walls, on slate, on lids of baby food jars, on window shades...Even on floors!!! In her home, she painted a butterfly and a saltine cracker on her kitchen floor. It looked so real that children would try to pick it up to eat it.
My kitchen shelf.
An old card table made with a 3/4" wood top. It was my first kitchen table. I kept it covered with a clear plastic table cloth to protect the painting. Now I have it leaning against the wall in my bedroom as a decoration. It's way too heavy to hang on a wall. I watched her paint it and was so surprised when she gave it to me.
The bird house is painted on all sides, not just the front. Her attention to detail was superb. The black lidded jar is a baby food jar. The other jar is one of my canisters that I use for my dried goods in my kitchen. At her home, she has many gallon size jars with the lids painted for her dried goods. I can't see large jars like those without thinking of her and wishing she could paint some lids for me.
The slate is from the roof of the Mt. Vernon depot that was torn down in the early 80's. She scavenged through the demolition site to get the slate. This is only one of many pieces of the depot's slate roof that she painted on. The painted design on the crock matches her favorite set of Pfaltzgraff dishes.
Even rocks weren't safe from my mom's paintbrush. After my mom's death, I received a sweet email from a highschool friend where she shared her memories of watching my mom paint. She said:
"Countless hours of my youth were spent in your home, many of them in the kitchen watching her paint her newest project or form a new clay piece. Your family room was one of my favorite places, looking at all of the different pictures and plaques that she had done. She is so talented. In my mother's home is one of my favorite of her pieces, a door knob piece that has stores from Mt. Vernon on it. Your mother is a very dear piece of my own memories."
I haven't been to my mom's home since she died. The thought of walking in her home and not finding her there is difficult to contemplate. After finding the few things in my home that my mom touched and painted, I think it would be good for me, healing for me, to go to her home to touch the things she touched and take pictures of her things that have special meaning to me. Maybe this Spring would be a good time for me to go.