Pauline was an avid gardener. She taught me to prune, root cuttings, arrange flowers, pull weeds, and to see my world as a garden.
Pauline encouraged me to paint, took watercolor classes with me when I was too young to drive myself.
She taught me to sew, to think about how the pattern pieces all fit together, to design it the way I envisioned.
In life she wished for wellness. In her memory, Joy’s Garden is the healing arts advocacy that she lived.
Pauline was an advocate for wellness. Cancer prevention was her mission. She took vitamins religiously and read everything she could get her hands on in the way of cutting edge cancer prevention.
When she was ill, she believed that somehow her mother was connected to her cancer. She couldn’t put her finger on it. And the family was powerless to help her. After she passed, she continued her advocacy by coming to her daughters in dreams ~ all three of whom have benefited from her mentoring.
Why is it that we look and look for that thing which illudes us? I don’t even remember what it was I thought I was looking for!
This week I found myself. Standing next to a boat named “Patience,” I painted this little oil painting of the work boat beside it. In the brilliant morning sun, I found the patience to quietly paint a story.
The Gift of a Mentor
Initially I thought the painting might be a gift for my painting mentor, Bob Mayo. I was standing on his dock. He loved the little painting, yet refused to allow me to give it to him. “You sell this painting!” he instructed me.
Instead we gleefully discussed the details of the painting. To add the piling in the foreground? Which direction would it lean? How tall might it be? The boat needs an anchor to stop the eye from wandering off the edge. And so do I. His eyes twinkled. I felt his appreciation.
This is the benefit of having a painting mentor. When we are too blind to see our creative gifts, others call it out and set us straight. Without Bob, I’d have stopped painting long ago. And without a lot of other people too!
If you’ve followed my recent paintings, you know I have been focused on painting reflections in water. With this painting, I created the story structure first ~ cottage and boat ~ then focused on painting the reflections.
I began by making several thumbnail sketches to choose my composition. Did I wish to have the cottage dominant? Or the boat? How would I be able to fit so much subject matter on such a small canvas?
Indeed. These are the questions of my life! How DO I balance work and home? And how do I fit it all in to a life that is so full already?
The cottage reminds me of my own cottage in the woods by the pond. Looking at it now, I see it as symbolic of myself as well. Half light, half shadow … Even the vantage point of looking back at the cottage and myself seems uncanny now.
Lost & Found
I had to move this cypress tree to place it at the correct spot in the painting to balance the composition. I didn’t think about it as a symbol. Yet now I wonder. I can think of many a painting I have painted with cypress trees. My husband Jim always referred to them as “the guardians.” Now there is just one, at the pivot point! The Creator is a remarkable spirit. It moves us to do the things that show us who we are!
I feel overjoyed to see this painting! The pleasure of painting it feels reassuring and complete. Last night I dreamed of a painting series ~ painted in “my own backyard.”
Today a friend messaged me to paint tomorrow at his home on the other side of the Piankatank River. Stay tuned!
Hidden Meaning in a Boat Painting
Do you remember my saying I wished my retreat in Tuscany would retrain the workaholic? While I was painting this, Bob walked out on his dock to say hello. “Oh! You’re painting the little work boat!”