“I am going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.” – Elsie De Wolfe
I have my mother to thank for everything beautiful in my life. She was a single Mom, worked 5 days a week, but always had a beautiful home and flowers on the table. She gave me the nicest room in our various apartments, taught me to fold my clothes, make my bed and clean my room. Sunday dinners were often served on a linen table cloth with her best china and, of course, flowers on the table. She ironed her night gowns and had a linen closet Martha Stewart would die for.
Growing up with so much order and beauty around me, it was natural to have it affect my outlook on life and my art. Although I didn’t verbalize it until later, I realized, in the various stages of my career, I wanted my art to be as beautiful as possible. At the beginning, I painted folk art on furniture, and, believe me, it was very primitive. However, I thought it was beautiful because I taught myself to paint and I created it. As I honed my craft, my painting became more precise and I found I loved sharing and teaching my techniques with others as much as I loved painting. Although I was the teacher, soon my students became my teachers as we ventured into this exciting world of creating art together.
Food presentation should be beautiful, too. It isn’t always possible, but I do try to have a pretty plate of food, even if it’s just oatmeal covered with fresh peaches and cinnamon or a sandwich served with little bowls of snap peas, tomatoes of chips. Food just tastes better when it’s on a pretty plate or tray or in little bowls. I have a whole drawer full of “little bowls”. A slice of cake looks more inviting when it’s served with a dallop of whipped crea, or ice cream, and a flower tucked beside it. But, of course, just-baked chocolate chip cookies are best warm out of the oven, no plate needed.
Today I am returning to painting folk art flowers. After all these years, it feels like I’ve come full circle. These colorful folk art flowers still fill me with joy. I now bring years of experience to my painting so my art is more precise, the strokes more practiced and graceful. It’s very relaxing, no deadlines or pressure, just quiet moments of painting on flower pots, trays or a riot of flowers on canvas. It’s happy painting mixed with happy memories of how it all began as well as thankful blessings to a mother who instilled beauty into my life. I will always have a cake in the oven and flowers on the table.