Friday, November 14, 2014

a gift you must give your loved ones

Hey it's Friday and time for my newsletter..

I would like to share an update regarding Jackie whose story was featured in last week’s newsletter. Jackie took my advice and did some domestic art this week. She decided to have some fun with the theme and she dashed off a quick sketch of a toilet bowl brush as a warm up. J  After that she settled in to some serious drawing choosing a favourite tea pot as her subject, one which had belonged to her grandmother. Yeah Jackie!!! You go girl!

I like tea pots and having one that was from my grandmother’s kitchen would make it even more special.

This brings me to the topic of this week’s newsletter...what the dead leave behind...

Have you ever inherited something?

Perhaps after an estate was settled you found yourself having to deal with your mother’s old sofa or your aunt’s huge chest of drawers that was so heavy no one could move the darn thing. Sometimes inheriting someone’s stuff isn’t what we want or need.

BUT what if you discovered something in that chest of drawers – like a hand written book of poems your aunt had laboured over, or perhaps a never before read play that your uncle had dreamed of seeing performed on stage.

Wouldn’t you pounce on that thing like it was a treasure and wouldn’t you sit and savour it?

What if you came upon a sketchbook that belonged to your grandmother or you discovered a little oil painting that your great grandfather did – and no one knew he had ever tried to paint!

Our passions and hobbies reveal something special and unique about ourselves. That is why it is so wonderful to discover something that is left behind by someone we loved or perhaps someone we never got the chance to know.

The thing is, you probably think that not many people care or even notice your passion for art.

Perhaps your spouse seems indifferent. Perhaps your children don’t pay much attention when you tell them about an art course you just took or they don’t really listen when you talk about something new that you are working on.

But that would all change if something happened to you. And something is going to happen to all of us some day.

So here is what I want you to consider...someday someone will care about those sketchbooks of yours, those sheets of unframed drawings or the paintings you have stashed under the bed or in a closet. They will care and you can leave them a greater gift by the actions you take now.

Leave behind notes. Document your efforts. Scribble your thoughts in the margins or the borders of a piece. At least record the year in the front of your sketchbook.  Sign your work. If your signature on your art is difficult to read, print your name on the back.

I have inherited a painting which depicts my grandfather, done when he was a toddler. Unfortunately the work is unsigned. The portrait is very good and was obviously done by an experienced painter. It must have been a gift as I doubt my great grandparents would have paid someone to paint their young son. They wouldn’t have had the extra income. This would have taken place in the late 1800s and the story around this piece of art is no longer known. It all remains a mystery which I feel is a loss for the generations that have followed.

So again, sign your work. And why not leave a paper trail of some kind?

Need more convincing?

Well, have you ever gone through a stack of old photos and wished someone had taken the time to write down on the back who exactly is in the picture or where this holiday trip took place and when? This sort of knowledge is the gift you can consciously choose to give your future grand children or great nieces and nephews.

Write down what inspired you to draw that flower or what it was about that view that you simply had to turn into your next landscape painting. Consider keeping a creativity diary to help those that will read it someday to understand who you were and why you attempted to capture what you did with your pencils or brushes.

Our art is permanent and it lives on after us. It can and probably will be handed down through generations. It also tells a bit of our story. I write this today to encourage you to be part of telling a better, fuller story. Help those that come after you. They will be so grateful.

There is no time like the present. If you put this off you will probably forget. Why not spend a couple of hours this weekend going through your sketchbooks and your art. Make sure you have things signed and dated. Start writing some notes.

Another idea would be to invite family members to join you. Plan a date when you can get together to have a fun time going through your stash of stuff. Bake some cookies, brew some tea and then go through your art memorabilia together – and don’t forget to make those notes. Don’t expect the people you show your art to, to remember all of the stories you share.

And once you have documented all of your art perhaps you should move on to those old family photos...might have to brew more tea and bake more cookies first!


Here is a painting by one of my favourite painters:

Paul Cezanne, Still Life with Tea Pot (copyright public domain) painted between 1902 and 1905.

A simple tea pot, some fruit and a lovely cloth make great subject matter.


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