Thursday, June 22, 2006

Studio Friday- Family

"Family history, things that have been passed down from one family member to the next, family values, all influence me as an artist, whether I'm consciously aware of it or not. I wonder how others are influenced or inspired by their families---either past or present. What family treasures might be found in others' studios?"

This pastel portrait of my paternal grandmother hangs on the wall across from my work table. My father and uncle called my grandmother "the Duchess" behind her back. She thought that "the Duchess" was a close friend of her sons- she never suspected. When my grandparents passed away her portrait came to reside with me.

I love it. She looks so glamorous in it. And my friend Harold has identified from whence my "look" has come from. The "look," unfortunately not being her smashing sense of style, but the "I cannot believe you just said/did something soooo stupid look." I have never seen the look myself, but apparently Harold has... heh heh heh...many times.

I also inherited the Duchess's Canton china collection. The basic blue and white china is so classic, but I have been told quite toxic. Does anyone know if orchids can get lead poisoning? Can I blame its refusal to bloom on that, and not my dismal gardening skills?

My life was blessed with three grandmothers, with two of them I had very loving affectionate relationships. But the Duchess didn't do warm and fuzzy well. I always knew that she loved and was proud of me, but personal displays happened rarely. It was made clear to me how much, when in her final days I went to sit with her in the hospital. My grandfather had brought to the hospital some of her favorite things, a needlepoint pillow I had made for her as a child and a picture of me.

Does the Duchess influence my art? Not sure about that, but I often think she is looking down from the wall with a look of approval at my latest creation, if not my gardening skills.





9 comments:

Nancy said...

Intriguing! The portrait is fabulous!

Stacia said...

My Grandmother is a bit like yours...I call her Queen Bee. She sits on her throne VERY well! It was great that you were able to see The Duchess' favorite things and know that even though she didn't show warm and fuzzy well, but felt it!

Ellen said...

What a fantastic portrait--she looks so glamorous! My grandma was not a warm and fuzzy type, but there was a powerful influence, nonetheless. She was always sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidering or quilting, rarely keeping any of her creations for herself but giving them to her grandchildren.

Going For Greatness said...

The Duchess is definitely one heck of a lady! The portrait makes me think of an upper class glamour girl of the 1940's. She's definitely beautiful and she's in charge, obvously, you can tell by looking at her in the portrait! I think it's amazing the history we all have and how this topic has made us all sit and think, even if briefly, about our herilooms and of those from whom they came!!

Ellen said...

Lisa, I just read your comment on the SF submission page! Family seems to bring out the need for therapy in so many ways and for so many different reasons!

I felt the need for a power-therapy session myself as I processed my entry....and this way MY topic! Yikes.......

Sherry W said...

Wow, love her! What a great heirloom!

AnastasiaC said...

that is a great portrait!! u are lucky to have it!

wilsonian said...

That portrait is fabulous! What a amazing gift to have.

Marissa said...

Hi Lisa. I am now stalking you as well as Jen from knitting circle. That portrait is very cool. I wanted to tell you that it was great to see you yesterday before I left, even if I was a bit spastic because of the yarn sale and lack of time. Next time I see you, hopefully you'll have knit your socks. (And not abandoned them for the sparkly, new yarn!)