Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Family Whining

The topic of art and artists came up, and the amazing things that they do. My husband, Tom, spoke of how incredible it was when he was a younger man, starting out at Marvel and being able to actually watch his favorite artists working with pencils and ink on paper, drawing the line, laying out the panels... It was a wonderful thing to see, a fan's dream! There is nothing more fascinating and inspiring than watching an artist make something out of essentially nothing, pull things together, and have a piece of art where before there was just a blank spot or jumble of components.

My dad was an accomplished artist. He was a painter and teacher, and very good at what he did. His paintings, even the relatively early, tobacco-covered ones that I recovered from my mom's filthy dark hole of a house, are full of rich colors and images. Tom asked me what it was like to see him working, and I realized that I had NEVER seen him work, ever, ever. I never watched him set up a palette, mix colors, lay out a composition, put a brush to board or canvas. NEVER. I was not welcome to do so. For whatever reason, I'd never even given that a thought before. It was just my life, I guess. Realizing this was like a broken cinder block smacking me in the face. I think I once watched him doodle out a sketch in No. 2 pencil on the back of an envelope somewhere. That's it. I never got the chance to see my dad actually being an artist. I only saw things in progress not being worked on, or finished paintings occasionally. Maybe he didn't like being watched, maybe it was just me, maybe it was something I'm not considering. But wow, I dearly wish I could have watched him make those paintings...

Ehh... The fact that my family sucked is really no surprise. It just hit me weird today, I guess.

6 comments:

Roberta said...

In those two paragraphs you give up a lot about yourself. I admire that. I think I am a person like your dad. I raised two kids all the while painting in my studio. I don't think they ever watched me paint either. I painted while they were in school. I stopped as soon as they came home to make dinner and do chores.
I wonder if they feel the way you do? it is food for thought. We never seem to know what damage we do to our children until it is too late.

Carol said...

Roberta is right, you never know. Sometimes when they are 30 they let you know point blank.

My daughter always saw my sewing and needlework but was never interested to learn.

My 13 year old grandson watched closely as I crocheted when he was young and asked me to teach him. He learned and that was cool. O, he's 13 now and doesn't crochet, but he was interested enough to want to spend the time with me and I relish that.

Lois, we were raised in the children are meant to be seen and not heard generation. How sad for us and for our parents. We had a lot to offer, but they never saw it.

Lois2037 said...

Roberta, I was really interested in what my dad was doing, but I was always either shooed away or told, "Don't bother your father." When I was older, it was still the same, even though I definitely expressed my interest in watching and learning.
Carol, I wasn't raised in a "children are meant to be seen and not heard" kind of house, but my folks were not particularly involved parents. In many ways, that suited me pretty well, but I did lose out on some stuff.

Robin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

My grandfather, who raised me for two years after my dad died, was like your father. Once in a while I was allowed to watch him, from a reasonable distance, but I was not allowed to talk. He was not an artist, but he was an avid collector of many things and loved to arrange, label and organize his collections. I always wanted to touch his things and ask questions. Why didn't he allow me the slightest entry? I don't know. I think of him as a person with a warm, generous heart covered with a thick, cool shell. I feel sad for the loss you and I have exerienced.

Lois2037 said...

Robin, I don't like people to handle some of my collectibles, either. And maybe he thought a child might make a mess or damage his things. Knowing you, I'm sure you would have been very careful. I'm sorry he didn't realize that and give you a chance.